Legal Week update:
They have decided to use the questions the Collaborative Plan sent them to form a new survey based on different definitions and with an added focus on collaboration. What that means: (i) the new definition will likely not require you to do any re-analysis of your firm’s own internal reporting. (ii) for C Plan member firms – you will already have the necessary data by responding to the usual C Plan survey in July (iii) we believe they are going to let firms set their own choice of 12 month period in recognition of our point that setting a different, specific date range takes pro bono people away from doing their job as they re-calculate figures (iv) the data requested is likely to only relate to England & Wales.
Direct quote from the journalist: “Having taken everything that was discussed at the meeting last week into account, we are going to be running a set of stories based on our survey later this year, which will most likely include a nuanced ranking of firms’ average number of pro bono hours per lawyer. We plan to run editorial on notable pro bono work alongside these rankings and in separate pieces, discussing our findings with lawyers as we go along. I would reiterate that, in our view, this is just about transparency and not criticising any firm’s efforts. We believe this can be a positive story that highlights the good work being done in the industry by the firms that do a lot."
Legal Week will be re-sending the survey to firms (via Comms teams) – and are expanding their approach to include more US firms (we highlighted that some of the firms not approached had made valuable contributions to pro bono). They will likely include a peer review question (who do you think is doing good work in this area) as it reflects the collaborative environment we have focused on creating in London.
So perhaps let your Comms teams know they may get a new survey from Legal Week soon and to check in with you once it arrives. For those on the Collaborative Plan mailing list I’m sure you will see some initial reactions from firms; if the above is what we receive, it’s a much better outcome than the original and hopefully opens the door to positive UK media engagement with pro bono in the future.