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Why you should do Pro Bono at BPP – a student’s perspective.

Kahill Sarronwala is a BPP Part Time LPC student, who has taken part in ELTAL both on campus and remotely throughout the pandemic. 

 

Upon commencing the Legal Practice Course at BPP University, I was determined to become involved with as much pro-bono work as possible. Little did I realise at the time, the pro-bono projects I would work with would be far more rewarding and valuable than I had anticipated. The first pro-bono project I took part in was the Employment Law Telephone Advice Line (‘ELTAL’), I continued to work with this project for over a year. Not only was ELTAL my first real taste of pro-bono work, but it was also the project I stayed involved with the longest.

 

What captivated me with regards to ELTAL was the reality of the inequalities in our societies. It is one thing to study about systematic inequalities and injustices, and a very different thing to speak to people who had been disadvantaged by an inequitable system. When I spoke to my first client, I understood they were not just another case, as I had been taught throughout my legal education. On the other side of the phone was a human being with real issues, which I could scarcely imagine dealing with given my relatively comfortable and privileged upbringing. This fresh dose of reality endowed me with a real drive to contribute as much as I could to ELTAL, as well as to continue to engage with pro-bono work throughout my future career.

 

The opportunities offered by initiatives such as ELTAL are truly invaluable. To be trusted to discuss a client’s matter independently provided me with an exposure that had been so difficult to find throughout my other internships. The one-on-one client contact didn’t only enhance my professionalism and my communication skills, it developed my emotional intelligence and empathy as well. I strived to connect with clients on both a personal and professional level, and knowing that a client felt more confident and comfortable after a phone call was a rewarding feeling that I had not experienced before.

 

In addition to the client contact, working with the ELTAL team was a pleasure. It was highly motivating to have been surrounded by a truly kind team that was dedicated to promoting equality, access to justice, and value for those who may otherwise struggle to afford it. It has been a pleasure to have been a very small part of that.

 

To all who aspire to become involved in pro-bono work, or even if you are on the hedge about it. My advice is this: Go for it! To be involved in pro-bono work is one of the most useful ways to develop transferable skills which will undoubtedly benefit your future career, whether that is in law or otherwise. Additionally, at our young age, it is often difficult to find any role or position where you have the power to act as an agent of change – pro-bono work not only provides that platform, but pro-bono initiatives rely on proactiveness and our desire to effect meaningful change for the benefit of society as a whole.

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