First-ever full-time pro bono associate calls on other firms to follow A&L Goodbody

First-ever full-time pro bono associate calls on other firms to follow A&L Goodbody

Eithne Lynch

Ireland’s first full-time pro bono associate has said she hopes other firms follow in the footsteps of A&L Goodbody by creating similar roles.

Eithne Lynch joined A&L Goodbody from the Public Interest Law Alliance (PILA) in early October and now oversees the firm’s pro bono programmes and initiatives.

In an interview with the Irish Examiner, Ms Lynch said pro bono is “truly part of the culture” at A&L Goodbody.

She said: “We as lawyers have a professional responsibility to use our skills to benefit those who cannot easily access the justice system, and it is important that law firms incorporate this duty into their legal practice.”

A&L Goodbody has grown its pro bono practice by 25 per cent since 2013, and has delivered over 4,500 pro bono hours on 160 legal cases in 2018 so far.

Ms Lynch said: “Our pro bono practice is unique in that we look to engage with all our lawyers across each of the firm’s offices. I am supported by Eamonn Conlon, partner for responsible business, and Sinead Smith, corporate responsibility manager, and together as a team we drive engagement across the firm and ensure that our lawyers are aware of opportunities to get involved.

“Research has shown for a pro bono practice to become fully integrated into the fabric of a law firm, it needs to be structured, diverse, meaningful, and impactful. This requires resources and my appointment illustrates the commitment of the firm to achieve this.”

She added: “it is my hope that other legal practices will follow our lead and put in place structures to support the growth and development of pro bono as a practice area. For the justice system to work effectively people need and have a right to access legal advice and representation.”

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