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  • “The SBA confirms my professional standing as a lawyer

  • “No one should feel their life is in such a state that they can’t ask for help”

  • “You know that there are people there to support you and that you are not alone”

  • “I was not yet suicidal but I was close to breaking point

Volunteer Q&A – Richard Fisher

What attracted you to volunteering for SBA The Solicitors’ Charity?

I consider that it’s important to take care of fellow legal professionals who have fallen on hard times.

 

Do you find that solicitors can be reluctant to ask for help?

Yes, especially older colleagues. Retirees can be quite embarrassed by thoughts that they haven’t made great provisions for retirement or savings.

 

Have you experienced this from younger legal professionals?

Not so much with the younger ones. By the time I’m in contact with them, they’re usually over any reluctance to approach the charity.

 

What would you say to solicitors who are hesitant to reach out?

I would tell them the exact purpose of what SBA is there for. The charity supports people with adverse circumstances. They shouldn’t feel embarrassed to ask for assistance.

 

Could you describe a typical scenario as an Area Representative volunteer?

It varies enormously. I started 25 years ago and I often supported widows who were left with little or no provision by their husbands who were lawyers. In the last few years I’ve assisted individuals in their 30s and 40s.

People shouldn’t feel embarrassed to ask for assistance

I’ve been there for people who were partners for big national firms but were sadly made redundant. Also I assisted a young single mother, whom we helped to find employment. We gave her temporary assistance with living costs.

 

Which locations do you cover?

I’m based in Cardiff, so it’s mainly South East Wales. My support extends to beneficiaries out towards the Vale of Glamorgan and Monmouthshire and Newport.

 

Are you surprised that fellow lawyers experience this kind of hardship?

It doesn’t surprise me anymore. I was a little surprised when speaking to applicants in their 30s. They didn’t have many savings, but in fairness they may have been out of work for a while. It goes to show how quickly money can dissipate when you’re still trying to meet a mortgage and living expenses.

Apply to be a volunteer

SBA The Solicitors’ Charity is recruiting Area Representatives across England and Wales. We need your help in assisting potential beneficiaries in the application process. This involves meeting them on a one-to-one basis and providing feedback to the charity.

This is an excellent opportunity for you to be there for colleagues in times of personal financial need. By giving your time, you can do much to make positive changes to those experiencing financial hardship.

Visit the link below to view full details and how to apply:

To discuss opportunities, please contact Sue Ellis via the details below. We’d be delighted to hear from you.

E: sue@sba.org.uk T: 020 8675 6440

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