In a new initiative, starting on the 21st of August, lawyers from Arthur Cox are to provide pro bono assistance on the FLAC information line. As demand for FLAC Information and Referral Line increased, and the need for legal services increased in light of COVID-19, the Public Interest Law Alliance (PILA) assisted FLAC in identifying a partner to support their work. PILA is a project of FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centres) which develops public interest law in Ireland by bringing pro bono legal support to social justice non-governmental organisations (NGOs). In doing so, PILA not only works with NGOs to increase their capacity to use the law but also with the legal profession to develop a culture of structured pro bono practice. This has led to a greater willingness to take on pro bono legal work, particularly amongst large commercial law firms who are increasingly open to considering areas of law outside their expertise.
The FLAC Information and Referral Line is always inundated, but it has been even more so since the onset of COVID. Initially, during the pandemic, FLAC's records show many callers were looking for legal information relating to employment law, but that has changed and the highest number of queries the phoneline receives now relate to family law. According to Erin Brogan, FLAC Information line Coordinator, 'we are still hearing about the devastating effect of the pandemic and the Covid restrictions on the lives of individuals. Despite our best efforts here at FLAC, there is a great unmet need for legal information. We are delighted to welcome the Arthur Cox Lawyers and are most grateful for the support.'
Speaking following a training workshop for the new volunteers hosted by FLAC, Carolann Minnock, Pro Bono Associate with Arthur Cox said, ', 'Partnering with FLAC, a charity which delivers frontline legal services to the most vulnerable people in the community helps us achieve the greatest impact with our pro bono work. Providing high-quality legal services to those without the means to pay has long been a part of the Arthur Cox culture, we view pro bono as an important component of a lawyer’s professional responsibility. Collaborating with FLAC to support the Information Line helps us to put these values into action.'