Law Society's Pro Bono Services Office Opens
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
- Organization: Channel News Asia
This is demonstrated by the opening of the Law Society's Pro Bono Services Office at the Subordinate Courts.
Senior Minister of State for Law Associate Professor Ho Peng Kee said it is one of the concrete steps the Law Society has taken to encourage lawyers to each contribute 25 hours of pro bono work a year. Pro bono means doing work without asking for payment.
The office will administer the Law Society's voluntary programmes - Project Law Help and the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme.
It will also work closely with the Legal Aid Bureau on its civil legal aid scheme and with other partners to develop new pro bono schemes.
Professor Ho said this would provide more avenues for lawyers to volunteer their time to help needy Singaporeans.
Two pilot community legal clinics with the North-West and South-East Community Development Councils (CDCs) were also launched on Monday.
They will provide basic legal advice and information to needy Singaporeans and permanent residents, and complement existing avenues available to those in need of legal advice.
Professor Ho noted that some law firms have already committed to providing lawyers to man the clinics, a clear demonstration of the legal fraternity's support for the pro bono cause.
Professor Ho said, "Over many years now, many lawyers from both large and small firms have been rendering voluntary service quietly behind the scenes in various ways. Many are already volunteers at legal clinics run by groups such as the Singapore Association of Women Lawyers, Jamiyah, the Catholic Lawyers Guild and those offered by Family Service Centres.
"Some lawyers are involved in grassroots work; others as members in important committees and councils set up by the ministries; and yet others pursue their passions for sports by serving in National Sports Associations. In these and other ways, lawyers do their part in making Singapore a 'happening' place.
"The inculcating of a spirit of voluntarism as lawyers chip in to serve on the many platforms created by the Law Society will help foster a stronger esprit-de-corp in the profession.
"As an honourable profession, we should continue to strive to instil a sense of pride and purpose in our lawyers, especially the younger ones. Helping them channel their expressions of responsibility through platforms like these Community Legal Clinics will go some way to bolster this sense of pride and purpose." - CNA/ms