Law Centres Network

Law Centres Network

The Law Centres Network (LCN) is the umbrella body for Law Centres in this country; helping provide the most vulnerable with free legal advice at the time they need it most urgently. In recent years they have been at the forefront of aiding the Windrush generation and those living in Grenfell Tower, among many others. But LCN and their member charities face a crisis. They operate at the core of British civic life but have faced decades of withering funding cuts, which has left them surviving on a knife-edge. Despite protecting people’s rights and taking on challenging cases, thereby setting policy agendas and establishing vital precedents, they found themselves at risk of also becoming a victim of a financial crisis. That is when they turned to us for help to turn the situation around.

2020 was the 50 th anniversary of the Law Centres movement in the UK. This provided an opportunity for Law Centres to reconsider who they talk to and how they talk to them. They needed to widen the pool of people aware of Law Centres and then convert awareness into income.

We worked closely and patiently with LCN to reframe Law Centres as providing an essential public good; shifting perceptions amongst their primary supporter audience – lawyers – about the importance of voluntary funding in enhancing Law Centres’ long-term viability. We activated this strategy by using our networks to secure pro bono and heavily discounted brand and communications support through which we developed a new ‘campaign brand’ that spoke with a different voice to solicit donations. We established individual giving products, a corporate partnerships programme and a bespoke events programme to complement their existing and highly effective grant fundraising activity.

This activation shifted focus from ‘the Law’ – often viewed as arcane, elite and unobtainable – to ‘Justice’, an assumed right we didn’t realise could be at risk of being lost. Our case for support centred on a report we produced highlighting a new concept: the Justice Gap. The Justice Gap was a simple idea that demonstrated how people would struggle to afford private legal representation if they needed it. This was to shift the discussion from whether poor people can secure adequate representation to whether ‘Middle England’ would be able to secure representation.

Since its launch in mid-2020, an emergency appeal based around this messaging united many law firms in financially supporting Law Centres with six figure support; managed a media campaign to maximise impact; developed new relationships with relevant media, which led to coverage in powerful legal trade press, the Financial Times and relevant online media; and launched the Law For All campaign, website and socials presence.

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