Pro Bono Story

Law firm’s 70-year pro bono commitment conserves art, culture and history

Conserving art, culture and history

Many pro bono cases involve a lawyer coming to the urgent aid of an individual who is suffering because they cannot access justice. Sometimes, however, lawyers commit help to an organisation on a longer-term basis. This is an exceptional illustration of the latter.

In response to the cultural destruction caused by the Second World War, The International Institute for the Conservation of Historical and Artistic Works (IIC) was formed with the help of City law firm Slaughter and May.

Since 1950, the firm has advised on structural changes, contracts, intellectual property, employment and governance matters, as well as supporting international conferences – all in a pro bono capacity.

Helen Griffiths, one of the IIC’s trustees said: “Slaughter and May’s continuing pro bono assistance has enabled IIC to respond flexibly to the changing world in which it has operated for over 70 years. Organisational changes and new relationships and initiatives have been implemented and more effective international reach has been achieved without the need to divert significant resources from IIC’s core purpose.”

This pro bono support has made a cultural contribution and facilitated the conservation of art, culture and history as Slaughter and May continue to work with IIC internationally to build capacity in the sector, to ensure best practice and to advocate for conservation.

This is just one example of the huge value of pro bono to non-profits that occurs when law firms and barristers’ chambers give charities free legal help with their own governance and organisational issues, enabling them to focus their resources on important day-to-day delivery.

Opportunities to help NGOs, charities and not-for-profit organisations can be found through LawWorks and TrustLaw.