Are you a qualified solicitor or barrister in England or Wales? Do you want to support access to justice for those that need it most?
This page provides further information on what volunteering for The Jeanie Project as a pro bono legal adviser entails. If you can’t find an answer to your question, please contact us. If you’re not ready to volunteer yet but would like to be kept up to date with the progress of The Jeanie Project, you can register your interest here.
What is The Jeanie Project?
The Jeanie Project is a charity which uses technology to support access to free legal advice. It does this by providing community groups with free access to a software platform called KIM which collects information from clients with legal problems in a structured way and sends it to a legal adviser. The adviser works remotely analysing the client’s problem and contacts them directly with the advice. The pro bono service offers one off advice, it does not provide case work or representation. Longer term, we will also be working directly with legal aid providers.
How does the KIM platform work?
A trained operator at a participating community group will use KIM to take the client through a series of questions, collecting information about their legal issue(s) in a structured format. Once the case is logged, it will either be signposted locally or a notification will go out to our pool of pro bono legal advisers who specialise in that particular area of law. Advisers, who will also have access to KIM, can accept the case through the platform. They have a specific timeframe in which to do so. The adviser contacts the client directly to provide the advice. There is no need for the adviser to travel to a physical location to provide advice face-to-face.
Who is behind The Jeanie Project?
The Jeanie Project was founded by Lucy Scott-Moncrieff CBE, a practising solicitor and former President of the Law Society of England and Wales, with support from Richard Miller, Head of Justice at the Law Society of England and Wales and Martin Barnes, Chief Executive of the charity LawWorks, both of whom act as trustees for the charity. For more information see the About us page.
Who can provide legal advice?
The Jeanie Project requires that all pro bono advisers are registered solicitors or barristers (or in some cases supervised trainees) in England and Wales. The adviser will have no less than the minimum level of legal experience as would be required if the work in question was paid work.
Upon application, we will validate adviser credentials (typically through SRA number [or Bar Council membership number] and work email address). Once approved, the adviser’s details will be added to The Jeanie Project pro bono adviser database along with their specialism(s). This information will be used in the allocation of cases, it is not shared with the client.
Advisers are required to adhere to LawWorks’ Pro Bono Protocol.
What areas of law does The Jeanie Project provide advice on?
The Jeanie Project currently offers advice on employment and housing law. This will be extended in future to debt and immigration. The content of KIM is verified by experienced legal experts to ensure it is up to date and accurate.
Do I need insurance?
Yes. Pro bono legal work must not be undertaken without appropriate insurance. Professional indemnity insurance generally extends to pro bono work so long as it is undertaken in connection with the practice of the adviser’s firm, however, this should be confirmed with the firm and their insurance provider. In-house solicitors undertaking pro bono work may be restricted from acting on certain pro bono matters and may need to arrange their insurance via a third party.
Solicitors in England and Wales undertaking pro bono work should contact the SRA and their professional indemnity insurer for advice and information. Barristers are expected to have their own individual insurance.
The Jeanie Project does not insure your pro bono activity.
How much time do I have to commit?
As a volunteer you will only be contacted with cases that fit your expertise and you experience. It is up to you to decide whether you are able to assist and how many cases you can assist with. We would expect volunteers to take on a mime of 2 – 3 cases per year, depending on their complexity.
What training do I receive?
Upon successful application, The Jeanie Project will issue you with log in details for the KIM platform along with a user manual, video tutorials and training on how to use KIM. The Jeanie Project also has a helpdesk which you can contact to address any issues which crop up when using KIM.
What IT equipment do I need?
Registered users can access KIM through any web browser on an internet enabled device such as a computer, lap top or tablet. The Jeanie Project is unable to supply IT equipment.
Who are the participating community groups?
The Jeanie Project is currently developing and piloting the project with Toynbee Hall Free Legal Advice Centre and a variety of other community groups including MP surgeries and food banks.
How does The Jeanie Project platform differ to other technology-based tools?
The KIM platform does not in itself provide advice, rather it facilitates the collection of accurate information in front line agencies. Better information improves the quality of advice and the speed at which it can be delivered. The client is not required to be IT literate, there are no restrictions as to how many enquiries each client can make and it is not means tested. It is also possible for the client to receive advice from several legal advisers where their case touches on more than one area of the law.