Lawyers seek to ditch 'fat cat' tag

The legal industry is seeking to dispel its money-grabbing image and promote the fact that many barristers, solicitors and legal executives do voluntary work.

Three industry bodies – The Law Society, The Bar Council and The Institute of Legal Executives – have joined forces to hire Shout! Communications after a competitive pitch. Shout! will raise awareness of the fifth National Pro Bono Week, from 5-9 June.

A survey undertaken in 2004 revealed that members of the legal profession do an average 40 hours' pro bono work a year. This is usually spent advising those who are not eligible for government-funded legal aid, which might include individuals fighting immigration cases, charities and community centres.

The Law Society senior press officer Michael Thompson said: 'Despite the headlines about fat-cat lawyers, there are countless stories of lawyers doing voluntary work. We want to dispel the myth
that lawyers are only interested in making money.'

The campaign will also encourage more law professionals to join in pro bono work, citing personal satisfaction, gained skills and the positive effect on the image of the industry.

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