Funding for Student Pro Bono

Securing funding is a major issue for many pro bono projects. Below are a number of possible avenues which may be useful for your personal internship goals or a project whether it is run by students or a law school.

Your Law School

Aside from your own department, many universities and law schools will have alumni funds or other pots of money that can be applied to community projects, etc.  Look into this as a priority over any other source of funding.

Local Law Firms/Recruiters

Don't be shy!  If a law firm is interested in recruiting your students, then consider approaching them for some financial assistance.  They should see the additional benefit in helping you get involved in pro bono activities as opposed to, say, sponsoring the law society ball.

Approach them with a clear plan of what you intend to do - make sure it's realistic and that you can reasonably justify the amount that you request.

If the firm is local they may be able to commit people time as well as or instead of money.  This can be crucial to many projects even getting off the ground and is a great way to get to know the lawyers and build a strong local relationship.

Third Party Funding Options

1 - OUP Alistair MacQueen Memorial Grant

Oxford University Press has a £1,000 grant on offer to UK law schools involved with charitable and pro bono activities; the Alistair MacQueen Memorial Grant. Lecturers involved with pro bono projects pitch for the grant which is awarded in January.

For further details of the award and how to apply, along with last year's winning application from De Montfort University please see the website.

2 - Allen & Overy Foundation

The Allen & Overy Foundation will make donations to law-related charities – very often universities are registered as charities so this may be worth an enquiry on a case by case basis. 

Click here for further information.

3 - City Solicitors’ Educational Trust

Every year the City Solicitors Education Trust offers grants to law faculties that offer a qualifying law degree.  Grant applications historically have been due for submission by 31 October.

Each law school should receive the information from the trust directly.  The grants may have a particular relevance for universities that are looking to set up a new clinical legal education module.

Click here for further details.

4 - Clifford Chance Foundation

The firm’s foundation is not open to unsolicited applications for funds so contact should be made with them directly first to see if you might be elligible.

Click here for further information.

5 - The SNR Denton Charitable Trust

The firm’s charitable trust makes contributions to less well-known and low-cost charities, as well as to ones that have a connection to the firm's local communities or practice areas. 

Click here for more information.

6 - Human Rights Lawyers Association

The HRLA offers bursaries for students in order that they can undertake certain unpaid interships/voluntary work, etc.  Click here to find out more.  There is an annual round of funding, generally involving applying in the Spring for a decision in June.

7 - Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC)

This organisation distributes funding for projects relating to ‘e-learning’.  It sounds like a fairly broad ambit, which some clinical legal education modules may fall within.

Click on the link for further information.

8 - Junction49

Fifteen universities currently offer students the chance to access up to £500 to turn their ideas into realities. You’ll get training in project planning plus ongoing support from Junction49 staff based at your university.

Click on the link for further information on which universities take part.

9 - The People's Millions

This programme is run by the Big Lottery Fund and ITV.  It's open to any groups planning projects that have a local impact.  Applications can be made for any amount up to £50,000.

Click here for further information.

10 - VCashpoint

This funding initiative offers young people (16-25 years old) up to £500 to initiate or expand an existing volunteering project in their local community. 

Click on the link for further information.

11 - Vodafone Foundation

The Vodafone Foundation focuses on helping 16-25 year-olds facing exclusion from society - this might include particular series of Streetlaw presentations, for example.

Click here to go to the relevant section of their website.

Other useful websites:

Volunteering England


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LawWorks is the registered operating name of the Solicitors Pro Bono Group
Registered Charity number: 1064274
Company Limited by Guarantee number: 03410932
Correspondence address: National Pro Bono Centre, 48 Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1JF
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