Lawyers from around the world discuss how to break down barriers between young people and the law
Over 300 lawyers from law firms, in-house counsel and bar associations from around the world gathered in Berlin last week for the European Pro Bono Forum. We sent Fiona Whittenbury to talk with them about engaging young people with the law.
Fiona, of our Lawyers in Schools programme, led a session called 'Know your rights: legal knowledge and skills for young people'.
'What I hope you will gain from the session today,' she told attenders, 'is to think about how you can use your skills as a lawyer to go beyond the traditional scope of probono and use your skills to impact young people.
'To turn negative behaviours of the law into positive ones, to break down barriers for the profession and give young people the chance to not only know their rights but understand their responsibilities.'
Also on the panel was Tudor Botea, a junior lawyer with CMS Cameron McKenna (a law firm that is championing the Lawyers in Schools programme in Romania). Tudor reflected on taking part in a school session:
'it is a great programme and the first session on Learning about the Law gave the students the opportunity to talk about the differences between civil law and criminal law. I cannot wait for the next session'.
The conference is organised by PILnet, the global network for public interest law. This year it attracted many more non-profit organisations than in previous years. Issues under discussion ranged from probono and the environment to overcoming pro bono obstacles in Europe.
The forum closed with a speech from the Citizenship Foundation's founder, Lord Phillips of Sudbury.