Reflecting on Pro Bono Week 2023 and PBS' event with Patron Dame Elizabeth Gardiner

11 December 2023

We were delighted to host our Pro Bono Week in Akin’s London office last month where Dame Elizabeth Gardiner DCB KC (Hon), Patron of PBS, spoke on the value of pro bono and how it helps to shape the legal profession.

One of Dame Elizabeth’s most important messages was that “you don’t measure your successes in wins and losses, but in the access to justice you are providing for your clients”. That sentiment tied right in with one of Pro Bono Week’s key themes for the year – the idea that pro bono can and does change lives – and highlighted how much students volunteering pro bono do for their communities in all four corners of the UK.

The event was attended by volunteers from across the country and was a great opportunity to collaborate and share ideas. Looking back one month later, it is great to see how much those in the audience took away. We have shared some of the feedback below.

Thanks again to Dame Elizabeth and Akin for making the event possible – we are very excited to bring you all our next in person event early next year!

Jack Mapplebeck, Student Adviser at University of Leicester Legal Advice Clinic, said: “The event was a brilliant opportunity to meet like-minded students and professionals and to discover the brilliant pro bono work that’s being done up and down the country. It highlighted just how much can be achieved through this work. It was inspiring to hear Dame Elizabeth Gardiner’s personal story and all she has achieved within her career. The event left me feeling inspired and motivated, and with a sense of purpose that the work I am doing has a real impact on my community.”

Claudia Dolgetta, Pro Bono Caseworker and Junior Coordinator at The Law Corner, said: “Attending PBS’s event was a great opportunity to see how valuable the organisation’s work is and to hear from Scottish students about how they use the platform on a day-to-day basis in their casework. Looking forward for the launch of the England & Wales platform!”

Emma Jamieson, Student Director at the Aberdeen Law Project, said: “To hear from such an esteemed member of the legal community about the importance of pro bono and access to justice was inspirational. Dame Elizabeth’s reference to pro bono providing ‘a voice to the voiceless’ was extremely encouraging and resonated with the ethos of pro bono organisations and clinics working to make a difference in their local communities and beyond.”

Caitlin Jenkins, University of Swansea, said: “Connecting with the team and hearing Dame Elizabeth Speak was incredibly inspiring, making me excited for the positive impact PBS is making and its future. Meeting people from around the world at various stages of their legal careers underscored the importance of pro bono work and its ability to bring diverse voices together. Overall, I’m immensely grateful to have been part of this experience.”