Trainee Pro Bono Rotation
A&L Goodbody (ALG) introduced a new trainee rotation in our pro bono practice in April 2020 – the first of its kind in Ireland. Trainees completing a rotation in our pro bono practice will work closely with charities, not-for-profit organisations and pro bono partners in managing and providing this service. The rotation will help Trainees develop skills in client care, project management as well as legal research, drafting and advocacy.
Our pro bono practice is a fundamental part of ALG. ALG lawyers have completed 50,125 hours of pro bono work since 2012. Access to justice informs the strategic partnerships we have developed and the organisations ALG work with. We believe that we can make the most impact in our community by using our legal skills to respond to unmet legal need. The importance ALG places on providing these legal services is demonstrated by our goal of having all lawyers in the firm perform 25 hours of pro bono work each year.
I am a second year trainee at ALG and was delighted to be the first trainee (in Ireland!) to do a seat in a pro bono practice. ALG's pro bono practice focuses on addressing unmet legal need in the community by working with organisations with a social, humanitarian, environment or community focus and also with the people they serve. The pro bono seat has given me a truly unique insight into new areas of law that I might not otherwise have gotten the opportunity to experience, such as working on a number of social housing cases and applications for international protection and family reunification.
I work closely with lawyers in the firm to ensure we deliver top quality services to our pro bono clients across all our areas of expertise. During my time working on the pro bono team I've developed many of the core skills I'll use in other practice areas such as client care, project management, technical drafting along with legal research and advocacy. I've had the opportunity to take ownership of a file from inception through to conclusion of the matter - this has really helped me to see how a practice area is managed.
Working to ensure our lawyers are using their legal skills to address previously unmet legal need and increase access to justice for marganalised individuals has been truly inspiring and really enjoyable. I look forward to continuing to work on pro bono cases throughout my career with ALG.
We work with a number of organisations in a pro-bono capacity.
The Irish Refugee Council (IRC)
Through a collaborative project, the first of its kind, with the Irish Refugee's Independent Law Centre we provide a unique pro bono service for people claiming refugee status in Ireland. With no civil legal aid available at this stage of the process, and capacity constraints within the law centre, our lawyers assist with the drafting of the personal statement and legal submission and country of origin research on behalf of each client. The work is time intensive but in many instances is life changing.
Housing Rights and Homelessness – Focus Ireland and Mercy Law Resource Centre
Partnered with Mercy Law Resource Centre and Focus Ireland our lawyers attend an out-reach clinic every Wednesday afternoon to support individuals and families experiencing homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. The clinic is staffed by two solicitors (supported by a trainee) who each take up to four appointments of 30 minutes duration. In many instances the cases are complex and therefore the attendee becomes a client of the firm and end-to-end case work is provided.
Supporting Survivors of Torture – Spirasi
Our lawyers undertake legal reviews of medical legal reports which have been prepared by doctors working with Spirasi by way of assessment to identify the infliction of torture. The reports are submitted as part of a persons' application for international protection. Four medical legal reports are reviewed each week by members of the working group, with over 100 reports reviewed as part of this partnership to date.
Pro bono partnerships – Social Entrepreneurs Ireland and PILA (the Public Interest Law Alliance)
Our lawyers provide pro bono legal advice to the PILA network of NGOs, and support the wider work of PILA to promote pro bono culture in Ireland. We work with Social Entrepreneurs Ireland (SEI) to identify the next generation of social entrepreneurs and assist those bringing new ideas to market and growing in scale.
For more detailed information on our pro bono work and to watch videos with the people and organisations that we work with, visit our pro bono page.