Manchester Law Society has received almost 200 offers to provide pro bono legal help for those affected by the Manchester Arena bomb on Monday.
The local law society put out a call this week for firms to join a pro bono advice and representation rota to help bereaved families to assist.
They want help in both the short and medium term to help with applications to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority and at inquests, as well as providing legal advice on a range of other matters that may be required, including estate administration, property, insurance, welfare benefits, pensions and other financial issues.
Chief executive of the Manchester Law Society Fran Eccles-Bech, who is coordinating offers of free legal advice for the victims of the Manchester attack and their families, said she has received 187 firm offers of help from law firms, chambers, individual lawyers and students from Manchester and around the country, from London to Sheffield, Yorkshire and Liverpool.
Offers of help have come from large City firms, like Hogan Lovells, Freshfileds Bruckhaus Deringer, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher and Berwin Leighton Paisner, large London firms such as Slater & Gordon, Leigh Day and Irwin Mitchell and other firms like Obelisk Law and Duncan Lewis.
Chambers offering to help include Garden Court North, Exchange Chambers, Kenworthy’s Chambers, Kings Chambers and St Johns Building. Manchester Football Club legal department has also offered assistance.
Firms with experience of dealing with matters of big media interest have offered free public relations advice to families who are contacted by the press.
Eccles-Bech said: ‘Like everyone else in the community, we just want to help in any way we can, and offering free legal advice to those affected by this week’s tragedy in Manchester is what we can do best.
‘Since we put out the call to the legal community on Tuesday the response has been overwhelming. Over a hundred local solicitor firms, law students, barristers and also bigger law firms from the North and farther afield are offering free legal advice to the victims and their families to help deal with the legal issues they may face in the years and months to come as a result of Sunday night’s events.’
She added: ‘I know ours is a small contribution in the face of the enormity of the impact of the attack on so many people’s lives, but I hope we can help even a little.’
The society is working with Manchester police and the national homicide team at Victim Support, to coordinate requests for help.
Eccles-Bech said that the Society had taken similar action following the IRA bomb that hit the City in 1996, but as no one was injured then, it was more low key.
Anyone willing to help should email FranEccles-Bech@manchesterlawsociety.org.uk.
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