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Law Society, SG Cares team up to boost legal assistance for those in need

Law Society, SG Cares team up to boost legal assistance for those in need

Source: Straits Times
Article Date: 16 Apr 2021
Author: Dominic Low

Under the MOU, Law Society Pro Bono Services will be a national-level intermediary for national volunteerism movement SG Cares to grow skills-based volunteerism within the legal sector.

Volunteers at Singapore's various SG Cares Volunteer Centres could have their ranks bolstered by legal professionals under a new partnership with the Law Society Pro Bono Services (LSPBS).

This is part of what the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth's SG Cares Office and the Law Society's pro bono arm aim to do, under a memorandum of understanding they inked yesterday.

"What we hope to do is to build up a corpus of skilled specialist lawyers who can then integrate better with the community as touch points through the volunteer centres," said LSPBS chairman Gregory Vijayendran.

Mr Vijayendran, who is also the Law Society's president, said the LSPBS will work with the SG Cares Office to identify the needs of those seeking help at the volunteer centres and look at how volunteer specialist lawyers can be deployed to serve such needs.

A charity, the LSPBS provides legal assistance to people in need and to community organisations that serve the needy and disadvantaged.

Under the MOU, LSPBS will be a national-level intermediary for national volunteerism movement SG Cares to grow skills-based volunteerism within the legal sector. Skills-based volunteerism refers to utilising one's professional skills and expertise when serving the community.

The LSPBS will also inculcate the values of care, consideration and contribution in working and young adults, including law undergraduates.

There are currently 14 volunteer centres in operation here.

This will grow to 24 by March next year, said Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong, who witnessed the MOU signing. "The volunteer centres will be responsible for growing and coordinating volunteer supply, building volunteer management capabilities, and brokering partnerships between demand and supply at the town level," he added.

Mr Tong, who is also Second Minister for Law, noted that legal assistance is often in demand in the community, particularly in the areas of family and criminal law.

In his opening address at the MOU signing ceremony, Mr Vijayendran said the LSPBS plans to offer volunteering opportunities that will tap a variety of skill sets, including legal ones.

"This is a paradigm shift as the support required by the beneficiaries of our cause needs to be diagnosed and solved through an integrated problem-solving lens," he said.

Source: Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Permission required for reproduction.

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