The UK legal profession sees pro bono assistance as an ethical duty and an integral part of being a member of the legal profession. Just as the UK legal services sector has undergone a profound transformation in the past 25 years so has the delivery of pro bono services. From ad hoc, individualised services, dispensed informally, pro bono services have become increasingly coordinated, structured and professionalised. At the same time, in parallel with the globalisation of legal practice, there has been an increased internationalisation of pro bono work.
The UK legal pro bono community – from multinational law firms, bar associations, and legal NGOs to the judiciary - plays a significant role in delivering international assistance on human rights and rule of law issues.
Monitoring and evaluating activities has taken on growing importance in order to ensure that those providing their time and skills free of charge, deliver the impact they seek. M&E provides a better way to listen more closely to what recipients and partners have to say, to plan more sustainably and to minimise the risk of failing and/or unintended consequences.
This note illustrates why M&E is important for those delivering international pro bono legal assistance. Along with a step by step introduction to M&E, LASER provides some useful tools to organisations wishing to improve both the impact of the work they do and their understanding of how change comes about.