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Charles Russell Speechlys run remote webcam clinics

15 May 2020

Charles Russell Speechlys run remote webcam pro bono clinics

Charles Russell Speechlys lawyers are staffing pro bono clinics from their home-offices, spare rooms and kitchen tables so that people on low incomes can get the legal advice they need during the COVID-19 shutdown.

COVID-19 is a major challenge for community Legal Advice Centres and the people they support. The only way that many people on low incomes can get any legal advice at all is through pro bono clinics and keeping this support going as Advice Centres temporarily shut their doors and our lawyers work at home is critically important.

We were one of the first commercial firms in the UK to launch a remote pro bono clinic.Since November 2019 our Family team has been working alongside our long-time partner - Legal Advice Centre (LAC) in Bethnal Green - to provide expert help via webcam to users of Plymouth Citizens Advice who cannot get legal aid or afford to pay for legal advice and for whom pro bono services are not available locally.

       

Our Family webcam clinic continues to run each week during the COVID-19 shutdown and, using the same webcam platform, we have now converted our Wednesday evening pro bono clinic with the LAC team in Bethnal Green Centre to a remote service.



David Tully - Project Lead at Citizens Advice Plymouth said:

“The impact this project has had on clients’ lives cannot be overstated. PCAB can provide some very basic and general information on legal issues but, with family law, nothing can beat having the opportunity to sit down and discuss your issues with a specialist solicitor. Many people who come through Citizens Advice cannot afford representation and fall outside the legal aid scope. This webcam clinic gives them somewhere to turn. The relief I see on the faces of clients who have accessed the service is incredible and nobody has yet given the clinic a rating lower than 9 out of 10.”

Andrew Clarke - Pro Bono Partner and webcam clinic volunteer said:

“It was clear before the COVID-19 crisis unfolded that webcam technology would be key to helping people living in ‘legal advice deserts’ outside London get access to high-quality, specialist legal help and we were proud to be an early adopter. The same technology is now helping us work with our partner Advice Centres during this period of shutdown so that people on low incomes continue to get the advice they need.”

 

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