European Pro Bono Week is an exciting initiative organized collaboratively by PILnet, law firms members of the European Pro Bono Initiative, and pro bono clearinghouses and organizations. The inaugural European Pro Bono Week was held in November 2019 with events in more than 10 cities across the week, including Paris, Madrid, Milan, Frankfurt, and Brussels. Events focused on the delivery of pro bono to civil society organizations, discussion panels on pro bono opportunities and challenges, and celebrations of pro bono development locally.
From November 23-27, 2020, PILnet and its partners will hold the second annual European Pro Bono Week. European Pro Week celebrates the role played by volunteer lawyers, all across Europe, in supporting civil society and human rights organisations and promoting access to justice for those in need. Events will take place every day during the week across the Continent, from Moscow to Dublin and Rome to Amsterdam, to highlight and promote pro bono culture. A central objective of Pro Bono Week is to bring to together various stakeholders in the pro bono ecosystem – lawyers, law students, non-profits, human rights activists, academics, and businesses – for an engaging conversation about important social and legal issues within Europe and the role for pro bono in tackling these issues.
During European Pro Bono Week, each local event has a unique agenda, focusing on the most pressing legal needs and social issues in that city, region or country. However, this year, the overarching theme for the week is the role that pro bono can play in responding to global crises.
The worldwide outbreak of the Covid-19 and the social and economic consequences flowing from that resulted in a range of legal challenges for vulnerable individuals, civil society organizations, and social enterprises. Separately, the rapid acceleration of climate change and its impacts on society and the natural environment present multiple legal and policy dilemmas.
What role can pro bono lawyers, collaborating with civil society, academia, and business, play in addressing these challenges? This underlying question will guide many of the conversations taking place across the Continent throughout the week.