The second annual TrustLaw Pro Bono Index came up with a number of positive findings from Africa and the Middle East. This year, 24 law firms from 18 countries across the region submitted data for the Index. Though representing only a slight increase from the 23 law firms that took part in 2014, submissions last year were received from only 15 regional jurisdictions. Lawyers in the region reported significantly higher levels of pro bono work and partner engagement appears to be on the rise.
The average pro bono hours per lawyer carried out across the region in the previous 12 months increased by nearly 50 percent to 30.4 hours in the 2015 Index from 20.5 hours in 2014. This jump may be due to high levels of pro bono reported by first-time Index participants in previously unrepresented countries such as Lebanon and Uganda. In addition, firms in a number of other countries, including Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Mauritius, reported significant increases in pro bono engagement.
The average percentage of fee-earners undertaking 10 or more hours of pro bono per year increased to 42.7 percent from 33.6 percent. Partner engagement also rose with the average percentage of partners performing pro bono work increasing to 61 percent from 37 percent. In addition, the average hours of pro bono carried out on an individual basis almost doubled to 18.5 hours per partner from 9.6 hours.
These findings suggest a positive trend towards expanding pro bono across the region and growing interest among legal communities in countries without historical traditions of pro bono.
For a practitioner's view of pro bono in South Africa, please see here. For further insight into the pro bono sector in Ghana, please see here.
Please note, the regional tables have been ordered alphabetically.