Accessing free legal advice
Supporting the free legal advice sector to provide access to justice for disadvantaged people has long been a central part of A&O’s pro bono and community work.
Starting with our involvement in Battersea Law Centre in London nearly 30 years ago, we now work with legal advice clinics in Hong Kong, Belfast, New York, Amsterdam and Paris – as well as London – either by providing in-person advice, end-to-end casework or organisational development assistance.
First ever Children's Pro Bono Legal Service
In 2015, A&O, DLA Piper and Coram Children’s Legal Centre launched the first Children's Pro Bono Legal Service in the UK. This uses volunteer lawyers to provide end-to-end representation (rather than just one-off initial advice) for some of the most marginalised children in the country.
Tens of thousands of children in the UK have a right in law to citizenship but, without legal help, don’t have the means to achieve it. These children face barriers throughout their lives. Citizenship allows them to obtain a passport and gain full access to healthcare, higher education and the right to vote.
So far, 60 lawyers from A&O and DLA Piper have taken on 57 cases and assisted ten children to gain British Citizenship, with further applications under way. Achieving citizenship is life-changing for these children and something they, and their children after them, will benefit from their entire lives.
In 2016, the clinic won the Legal Week Innovation Award for CSR Innovation.
Each year in London, we send over 100 volunteers to free legal advice clinics and provide nearly 3,000 hours of free advice.