News Item: 8 November, 2012

In National Pro Bono Week, we say thank you to the 1,800 lawyers that support us

Every year, more than 1,800 legal professionals give their time to support our work.

The Grand Hall at the Old BaileyThat's enough to fill the Old Bailey's Grand Hall six times over*.

460 are involved in Lawyers in Schools, which puts them into classrooms to help young people understand the law.

960 support the Magistrates' Court Mock Trial Competition, helping schools prepare, judging the trials and making sure the events run smoothly. The competition runs in magistrates' courts across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Likewise, 400 support the Bar National Mock Trial Competition, which takes place in UK crown courts.

Together, these programmes reach 7,500 young people every year: enough to fill twenty Jumbo Jets and the Grand Hall.

Last year, 92 per cent of young people in the Bar National Mock Trial Competition showed interest in pursuing a legal career.

35 per cent of teachers in the Magistrates' Court Mock Trial Competition said their students showed the same interest. 61 per cent of those teachers said they would like to become a magistrate themselves.

National Pro Bono Week is an annual campaign to promote the contribution that lawyers make through pro bono work.

One of its four sponsors, the Bar Pro Bono Unit, helps find volunteers for the Bar National Mock Trial Competition.

The Law Society - another Pro Bono Week sponsor - has funded our legal education work since we started over 25 years ago.

Law Society President Lucy Scott-Moncrief said our work is:

'a practical way that the legal profession can help support the development of public legal education'.

She echoes Robert Heslett, a predecessor, who said our work is:

'absolutely vital if we are to enjoy a healthy and cohesive society bound by the rule of law'.

So, thank you to all our lawyer volunteers, to the Law Society and to the Bar Pro Bono Unit. And thank you to everyone that helps us help young people get to grips with the law.

*The Grand Hall's capacity is about 300, according to an Old Bailey receptionist.

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