Bristol Pro bono heroes

Bristol legal executives to be national legal ‘heroes’

Bristol legal executives Alison Scammell and Kelly Gitsom have been selected as two of the 50 ‘National Pro Bono Heroes’ from the legal profession to attend a reception in the House of Commons in London to mark National Pro Bono Week.

National Pro Bono Week celebrates the range and impact of free services (pro bono) provided by lawyers, often in collaboration with other professionals also acting free.

Alison, a Legal Executive with Brain Sinnott & Co in Kingswood and Kelly, a Legal Executive with Foster & Partners, also in Kingswood, will be travelling to London on Tuesday 11 November to explain to MPs of all parties about the pro bono work they do as Trustees of the local charity Survive, that offers help and support to survivors of domestic violence in South Gloucestershire and Bristol.

This includes accommodation in refuges, outreach and resettlement support, a dedicated team for children and young people and support and education groups. Combined, these services provide safe housing, practical and emotional support, advocacy, information and onward referral through group and individual settings.

As well as acting as Trustees for the charity, Alison and Kelly provide legal advice and help to women who want to escape from domestic violence. They are also members of the local Domestic Violence Forum, which brings together a number of organisations in the area, including the police and social services to exchange ideas and to ensure a common approach to problem solving and planning in this sensitive area.

Their work with the charity was recognised nationally when they won the prestigious ILEX 2007 Pro Bono Award and locally when they were awarded the “Excellence in Practice Award” from the South Gloucestershire Domestic Violence Forum in recognition of their work in helping the lives of women and children who are survivors of domestic violence.

National Pro Bono Week runs from 10 November with over 70 events across England and Wales, including the Celebrate, Communicate Connect event at the Malcolm X Community Centre, 141 City Road, St Pauls, Bristol, 11 November from18:00 to 22:00.

Giving something back to the community through pro bono work (work or time that is given for free) has been a time honoured tradition and an important part of being a lawyer. The joint sponsorship of the week by the Institute of Legal Executives (ILEX), the Law Society, and Bar Council reflects the cross-profession collaboration of everyone in the legal profession for pro bono work.