Pro bono week is taking place this 7th – 11th November 2022, aiming to recognise and support the voluntary contribution made by the legal profession across the UK in giving free legal help to those in need. One of the key focuses this year is remote volunteering. After the Covid 19 pandemic, everything switched online; there even are remote hearings now. Some pro bono law firms provide remote legal services to users, but can online legal advice deliver the same outcomes as a face-to-face meeting? As users seeking pro bono advice can be very fragile, one of the crucial points of face-to-face legal service is providing comfort to clients. How can a pro bono law firm strike the right balance between these two?
Remote legal services can save time and travelling costs for the user, which is particularly relevant given the current cost of living crisis. Secondly, remote legal advice can overcome the geographical distance for users, and support more people. Thirdly, remote legal advice is more efficient for law firms. As the demand for pro bono legal service is rapidly increasing, remote legal advice can be delivered and handed to clients more efficiently since it can save processing time for the solicitor. Apart from that, paperwork is reduced and therefore remote advice can help tackle climate change. Although there are many advantages of providing legal advice online, there are a few issues that may occur when offering online legal services, for example, the confidentiality issue and providing emotional support to the clients. It would be difficult for the law firm to make a creative and strategic blend of remote and in-person support, but it would be beneficial for them if they can do so.
SHU Law is a non-profit teaching law firm with experience of online teaching for more than two years, SHU Law offers both in person and virtual appointments.
By Wing Lip – a Sheffield Hallam University Law Student