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Legal teams advise IP applicants on labour rights
Lawyers from ALG and corporate in-house legal teams from the In-House Pro Bono Network

30 Apr 2024 / justice Print

Lawyers advise IP applicants on labour rights

The In-House Pro Bono Network (PBN) and A&L Goodbody have hosted two in-person events at the Mayson Hotel in Dublin to mark In-House Pro Bono Day.

Established in Ireland last November, the PBN is a community of lawyers employed in-house by large organisations who collectively believe that the provision of pro-bono work is a professional responsibility for all lawyers.

Legal teams from PBN members AIB, Bank of America, BNP Paribas, BNY Mellon, DCC, PTSB, Stripe, Western Union, and Visa shared their insights and expertise at the sessions (24 April).

Equipping IP applicants

The morning event, presented with the Irish Refugee Council (IRC), was designed to equip recently arrived international-protection applicants to enter the Irish labour market.

Lawyers presented on the topics of employment-law rights and setting up a business, followed by group discussions.

“The people we work with arrive with little or no knowledge of the labour market. They often ask us questions about if and when they can work, or what they need to do to start a business,” said the Irish Refugee Council’s Nick Henderson.

“Helping them to understand their labour rights significantly eases the difficulties they face navigating the international-protection system. Pro-bono support from law firms and corporates has a big impact on the quality and reach of our work,” he said.

Reputational risks

Now in its 20th year, Social Entrepreneurs Ireland (SEI) has supported around 600 social entrepreneurs across the country, providing over €14 million in funding and pro-bono supports during that time.

At the PBN afternoon event with awardees of SEI’s Impact Programme, the participating lawyers covered potential human-resources challenges and managing reputational risks.

“Social entrepreneurs require the support and expertise of sector leaders and business experts. This event is a wonderful example of utilising the cumulative power of people to create lasting social change,” said SEI chief executive Tim Griffiths, who has described the PBN as “a groundbreaking initiative”.


This is the first time In-House Pro Bono Day has been celebrated in Ireland.

Similar events took place on the day in London, Birmingham, and Frankfurt.

In-house lawyers who wish to provide services to third parties – including pro bono legal work – must provide such services through a law firm or independent law centre. The PBN, facilitated by A&L Goodbody, is a conduit through which in-house lawyers can collaborate to provide pro-bono legal services.

“Since it was established last year, we have seen significant growth in the number of members joining the PBN. We anticipate continuing growth in pro-bono activity by in-house legal teams in the future,” said Catherine May (general counsel, Bank of America Europe).

Sorcha Corcoran
Sorcha Corcoran is a freelance journalist for the Law Society.