A modern pro bono movement is beginning to emerge in Europe. Although the tradition of pro bono practice stretches as far back as ancient and medieval Europe, modern pro bono practice has been developed anew, especially since the 1990s, by NGOs, foundations, and private lawyers. The emergence of modern pro bono practice in Europe was aided by the growth and internationalization of US and UK law firms committed to the institutionalization of pro bono in all of their offices, which has also coincided with a decline in legal aid in Europe. This report documents the long history of pro bono in Europe, with a special emphasis on developments in the past 10 years, which have witnessed significant activity toward building a culture of and the infrastructure for pro bono practice in Europe. Some of the field’s central debates and dilemmas, especially for its future, are captured here as a part of that review.
This summary is a general overview of the issues covered in PILnet’s 10-year report, put together by Lamin Khadar. The full report is available in a PDF printable version and is also available on the PILnet website.