All firms and IP sole practitioners must be prepared to provide services using fully qualified and regulated staff to supervise the work provided to the assisted party. Firms will be expected to provide a normal client care letter to the assisted party. IP Pro Bono has a precedent letter, if required.
If you are prepared to help, please let us know what areas of expertise in contentious matters you could support. You may be contacted by a case officer asking for assistance for a party seeking help. If it doesn’t sound right for your firm, you are allowed to refuse and the case officer will look for another firm. If things are not going well, you can approach IP Pro Bono or, if they are willing, the case officer who originally handled the matter at any time to try and negotiate a transition or bring in further assistance. We need this to work for the member firms, the assisted parties and the case officers, so it is important issues are raised as soon as possible.
There is no obligation for IP firms in England to undertake pro bono work. Many firms prefer to deliver their corporate social responsibility obligations by providing services unrelated to their core business. However, if you have a particular expertise which could be of great value to someone who could not otherwise afford to be a client of your firm, there is some satisfaction in being able to use your skill to resolve a problem that might grow into a nightmare for a person or business if he, she or it is unable to afford proper professional advice at the right time.