01 October 2020
We are delighted to announce ProBonoSkills.com (“PBS”), an online platform that will provide free on-demand video training to law students involved in pro bono work across Scotland.
PBS, the first platform of its kind, will give pro bono students access to bespoke training materials that are designed to make them better able to advise and represent those in the justice gap. All of Scotland’s law clinics have signed up to join PBS and a host of individuals, firms and consultancies have agreed to support the organisation by providing training materials, including members of the Faculty of Advocates and lawyers from Willkie Farr, Dentons, DLA Piper, Burness Paull, Leading Minds, Turcan Connell, TC Young, Core-Solutions, CMS, Addleshaw Goddard, Harper MacLeod, MBM Solicitors, Lexis Nexis and the universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Strathclyde.
The platform was established by Gibson Dunn’s Ryan Whelan, the Aberdeen Law Project’s Jonathan Goodyear, and the University of Edinburgh’s Aideen Byrne. It has since brought together a Steering Committee comprising Emma Boffey of CMS, Ruth Douglas of the Charity Commission, Leigh Gapinski of Thought Machine, Amy Walsh of Harper Macleod, Finlay Fraser of White & Case, Kirstie Webb of Latta & Co, Victorie-Anne Gomez-Llorens and Helena Siebenrock of the Aberdeen Law Project, Jamie Perriam of the Edinburgh Pro Bono Society, James Anderson of the Strathclyde Law Clinic, and Eilidh McDermott of Edinburgh’s Free Legal Advice Clinic.
PBS will launch on Monday 12 October with a library of videos covering everything from common legal issues that students advise on to cross-examination, mediation and wellness. Events in partnership with the Scottish University Law Clinic Network are planned for later in the year.
Roddy Dunlop QC, Dean of the Faculty of Advocates and PBS’ first patron, said: “The law clinics provide an invaluable service to society, often filling in the gap left by limitations in legal aid. This new platform, which will further enhance the already commendable work of the law clinics, is most welcome and comes with my full support.”
Rebecca Samaras, Director of Pro Bono and Clinical Legal Education, University of Edinburgh said: “When Ryan contacted me about an initiative he was planning, I knew immediately that this would be something special, and I have not been disappointed.
PBS has launched at a time when access to legal advice and assistance is needed more than ever. The continuing impact of economic crises, cuts in legal aid and a global pandemic on our local, national and international communities, deprives so many of their basic rights.
It is tremendous to see the dedication and enterprise of our former and current Scottish law students in collaborating and developing Probonoskills.com. I urge all students involved in Scottish university law clinics to register and benefit from the invaluable materials provided.”
On behalf of the Steering Committee, Jonathan Goodyear said: “We are very pleased to be launching. It has taken us a great deal of hard work, thousands of lines of code and a fantastic team effort to get here. The platform solves the logistical problems that come with trying to arrange training for hundreds of volunteers, ensures that everybody has access to top-quality material, and allows clinics to provide their volunteers with rich learning experiences that are tailored to them. I am absolutely certain this will improve pro bono services across Scotland. We are very grateful to all of the individuals and organisations supporting us, PBS will make a real difference!”
Sebastian FitzGerald, Partner, Willkie Farr, said: “PBS is a fantastic idea and the quality of material will improve access to justice across Scotland.”