There are many ways that lawyers can use their skills to raise awareness of issues within their local communities or even on a larger scale
Your commitment to any given cause may depend not only on your strength of feeling but, at a practical level, on your availability. A full scale national campaign is very time consuming and can involve navigating some unfamiliar regulation (which of course would be a breeze for any well trained lawyer..!) However if you don’t have time to take on the establishment, there are other ways that you can raise awareness within your community.
Here are some suggestions of how to lead the way:
Step 1 – Be involved
The first step is to be involved within your community so that you are aware of local issues. This could include being a school governor, joining the Lions or perhaps another community group.
Step 2 – Support an existing campaign
If a campaign already exists, it makes no sense to duplicate effort. Support the campaign and use your network to promote it. If legal-related campaigns are your priority, check out the Law Society’s current campaigns which often provide resources such as posters and links to enable easy promotion. There are many alternatives, for example:
Step 3 – Support a Charity
If you want to take a more active involvement, find and support a charity relevant to your cause. You could:
- Raise money and awareness with a sponsored event;
- Join a Campaigning Network to help raise awareness of an issue that you feel strongly about;
- Arrange for your employer to become a sponsor or corporate partner of a charity;
- Set up a community group;
- Become a trustee – if you are interested in using your skills in this way check out our tips on How and why to become a trustee
Step 4 – Write to your local councillor or MP
Another easy way of raising awareness of an issue is to raise it with either local or central government and press for it to be considered at a council or committee meeting. Check out our tips on How to … Write to your MP. Alternatively you could consider starting a petition. Petitions submitted to an MP with more than 100,000 signatures must be debated in Parliament. There is more information on how petitions work on the Parliament website.
Step 5 – Start a Campaign
If you are looking to take a more pro-active approach to raising awareness, why not start a campaign? Plenty of organisations offer advice and support on running campaigns:
- Resources to help manage a campaign from NCVO’s advice and support website Knowhow Nonprofit
- Current campaigning issues from Bond, the UK network for organisations working in international development.
- Guidance on campaigning and lobbying from NCVO, the National Council for Voluntary Organisations
- “How to… Start a Campaign” (pdf) with tips and guidance from Take Part
Step 6 – Become a local Councillor or MP
The ultimate platform for raising awareness! Many lawyers decide to use their skills in public office, and with good reason. Lawyers are intelligent and articulate. They are logical thinkers and organized professionals. We all know of MPs who are solicitors or barristers; in 2018 David Gauke MP was the first solicitor to be appointed Lord Chancellor. But there are many more solicitors up and down the country who stand for local election. If either is of interest, you can find more information here: