Pro Bono Week profile: Max Lansman

07 November 2023

Max Lansman focuses on employment, family and housing law. To celebrate Pro Bono Week, he discusses one of his pro bono cases from the past year.

Please tell us about the pro bono work you did

Through a Pro Bono Connect referral, I acted pro bono for G, a former nanny/housekeeper to a TV producer and his wife in her successful claim against them for wrongful dismissal and unlawful deductions of pay.

I worked with a team from Stephenson Harwood LLP who volunteered through LawWorks. Together we helped her achieve an award of nearly £5000 from the employment tribunal.

What impact did the pro bono work have on the people and communities you worked with?

Without pro bono legal advice and representation, I’m unsure that G would have managed to get the money repaid.

Her first language is not English and her financial position, compared to that of her former employers, was markedly weak.

G’s friend who supported her throughout the proceedings told us:

“We simply can’t thank you enough - absolutely buzzing, and [G] is so so pleased. We appreciate all the hard work and the time that went into this. You’re all simply amazing. Couldn’t be happier with the result.”

Did your pro bono work have an impact on your professional career? If so, in what ways?

Taking on pro bono cases introduces me to solicitors I might not normally work with. So far, one has gone on to instruct me for paid work.

Also in the past few months:

  • I advised pro bono on employment status and complex losses—including future pensions losses—for a tradesperson who was treated as an external contractor when arguably he was an employee.
  • Through the Work Rights Centre, I acted for a former hotel employee who has autism and learning difficulties who alleged he had suffered disability discrimination.
 Any final comments

The pro bono employment claims I’ve taken on this year are a stark reminder (if I needed one) that legal representation is not accessible to everyone.

Facing the legal justice system without support, perhaps not having English as your first language and being unaware of legal procedure must be incredibly stressful. Pro bono representation can make a huge difference.

And for time poor barristers, it's worth remembering you don’t have to take on a pro bono case for the duration of the proceedings, you can take on discrete aspects.