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Guest blog from Michelle Witton: Personal Pro bono - Sharing our skills

Posted by: Laurence Simons 03/08/16
As lawyers we’ve not only expertise in law but many complimentary skills which, because we have them in common with our peers, can be under-valued personally and by the profession. When we work along many colleagues who are great at drafting, drafting doesn’t seem such a big deal. However, to a small charity, drafting a grant application well can make a huge difference to their funding. Other valuable skills developed through our education and work as lawyers include critical thinking, organisation, prioritising, chairing meetings and negotiation.

We all know time is precious, especially in hectic London! I work in-house in industry. As my team doesn’t have a probono scheme, I decided to seek probono work myself – and have found it greatly rewarding. For the past 3 years I’ve provided occasional informal legal and commercial advice to The Actors Centre, a charity based in Covent Garden which provides training to actors. I love theatre - so it’s a great fit.

Small charities mayn’t have in-house expertise on contracts and saving on fees – for general quasi-legal and commercial questions that don’t require a solicitor – can make a huge difference to their budget. It’s of course also important to advise when they do need to seek formal legal advice and to observe Law Society Regulations.

Whether it’s advising a small charity, a shelter, the board of your local sports club or being a school governor there are many ways to contribute our skills and to be rewarded by seeing causes we care about grow and achieve.

Michelle Witton

Michelle is an Australian and UK-qualified lawyer and Founder of the network Australian and New Zealand Lawyers in London (ANZLL). To find out more about ANZLL visit the LinkedIn group here.
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