Online lawyers network i-Probono wins Prime Minister's Big Society Award.
The initiative, founded by Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP lawyer Shireen Irani, has been recognised by Prime Minister David Cameron for its work connecting organisations in need of legal assistance with students and lawyers who want to offer their skills for the public good. The continuing work of i-Probono is supported by Field Fisher Waterhouse.
Announced during National Pro Bono Week, the award recognises the online network’s success in extending and transforming the provision of pro bono activity in the legal field. As a free service, i-Probono supported a more diverse group of legal professionals to get involved in pro bono activities in their communities, including students, sole practitioners, retired lawyers, those on sabbatical or maternity leave, and lawyers from smaller firms.
i-Probono works by connecting registered members who indicate their experience and the kind of social causes they would like to be involved in with the charities and organisations in need of help, who register and post projects. i-Probono generates a list of suitable matches from the network and sends targeted email alerts to volunteers.
i-Probono’s achievements since 2009 include:
- 486 projects posted by civil society organisations have been matched up, providing value of over £6.6 million to the social sector
- i-Probono’s network extends to over 40,000 volunteers; and over 1,000 charities can access the network
- i-Probono has been welcomed by the legal community: invited to join the Attorney General’s International Pro Bono Committee in 2011, recognised by the International Bar Association as one of the global brokers of pro bono services, and for its support of i-Probono, Field Fisher Waterhouse won the British Legal Award for CSR Initiative of the Year in 2011
Prime Minister, David Cameron said:
It’s fantastic to see so many legal professionals lending their time and expertise to help charities and social businesses flourish.
This Big Society Award recognises the passion and dedication of i-Probono founder Shireen Irani, as well as the support Field Fisher Waterhouse continues to give the initiative to succeed and grow.
The award also recognises the dedicated effort of the founder, a social entrepreneur and employee at Field Fisher Waterhouse, and the support from the firm continues to enable the network to flourish.
Founder, Shireen Irani said:
i-Probono’s impact is only made possible by the members of our network. We believe public service is an integral part of being a professional - beyond duty, people want to engage in their communities, they want to have a positive impact in the world. Harnessing the internet enables i-Probono to find these people and free them up to connect with the causes they care about. This award recognises the individual efforts of those people and also the civil society organisations on our network. They are some of the best in the sector - from small social enterprises, to international development organisations, we witness great stories of change and we are privileged to be able to support them.
i-Probono would not have taken off without the backing of Field Fisher Waterhouse whose people believed in the ethos of i-Probono, nurtured our growth and continue to support us today. Their commitment to innovation and service underpins our network.
Field Fisher Waterhouse Managing Partner, Michael Chissick said:
Our firm is very proud of how i-Probono has developed over the years and the contribution it has made in advising on social projects in India and the UK. Shireen was instrumental in setting this up and getting it off the ground. We are also very proud to have been part of this process and help nurture it through its infancy.
Find out more about the Big Society Awards