Legal firms give away £456m in pro bono work per year

The amount of charitable work done by the legal industry is enough to pay for 3679 lawyers at around £456 million per year, according to legal recruitment specialists Laurence Simons.

Charitable or “pro bono” work done by the top 20 UK legal firms amounted to £180.9 million, equivalent to 1.85% of their total revenue.

Each private practice lawyer is estimated to give away 29.6 hours in charitable work. If extrapolated across all firms, the legal sector would have given more than a million hours (1,075,528) pro bono.

Guy Adams, director of private practice at Laurence Simons said:

“Few profit making organisations can boast that the amount of charitable work they do is equivalent to 2% of their total revenue, but pro bono is a fine tradition among law firms of providing free expert advice for the public good. With cuts to legal aid affecting access to justice for those who can’t always afford it, it has never been more important. Sometimes lawyers and city professionals get criticised for their pay packets and bonuses, but pro bono work represents a sizeable chunk of what they do, proving it’s not all about the bottom line.”

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