Pro bono publico (English: for the public good; usually shortened to pro bono) is a Latin phrase for professional work undertaken voluntarily and without payment or at a reduced fee as a public service. Unlike traditional volunteerism, it is service that uses the specific skills of professionals to provide services to those who are unable to afford them.
Pro Bono Publico is also used in the United Kingdom to describe the central motivation of large organizations such as the National Health Service, and various NGOs, which exist "for the public good", rather than for shareholder profit.
The Law Society actively supports and facilitates our members' involvement in pro bono initiatives. We know that our members provide a huge amount of important free legal advice to individuals, charities and community groups throughout England and Wales, and we work with them to help celebrate and grow this work. Pro bono must never be viewed as a substitute for a properly funded legal aid system and nobody should be complacent about the solicitors who give up their time to carry out unpaid legal work.
The Law Society actively supports our members' pro bono initiatives and we are always looking for new and innovative ways to support and celebrate the pro bono work carried out by solicitors, while acknowledging that pro bono legal work is always only an adjunct to, and not a substitute for, a proper system of publicly funded legal services.
We are a member of the attorney general's domestic and international pro bono committees and a founding signatory of the Pro Bono Protocol, which provides a common pro bono definition for the sector.