The Bar Pro Bono Unit has announced that it will change its name to Advocate in October.

Pronounced as the verb, Advocate will carry the strapline ‘Finding free legal help from barristers’.

Over the past three years the Unit has worked to improve the volunteering experience for barristers and service it provides to those needing free legal help.

The 22-year-old charity, which through the work of thousands of barristers has provided free expert legal help to over 9,000 people, will soon launch an online application form for applicants and an online portal for volunteers.

Developing the changes, it told Counsel that it had become aware that many applicants struggled to understand or remember its name.

The new name followed research and brand analysis funded by a wider grant from the Legal Education Foundation.

Feedback showed that applicants thought the new name made them feel that ‘someone will speak up for them’ and barristers said it made it clear that it was a free service from the profession.

As the Bar’s pro bono charity, the Unit said it was essential that it should be accessible to the public while sharing the stories widely of the many barristers that volunteer their time to help.

Advocate Chief Executive, Jess Campbell said: ‘The rebrand is a platform for the charity to engage more effectively with the Bar, front line agencies and, most importantly, the people the Bar set us up to help.

‘I look forward to the new chapter Advocate heralds in facilitating the Bar to continue to demonstrate its long-standing commitment to helping some of the most vulnerable people in our society.’

See also the interview with Advocate’s Chair of Trustees, Sir Robin Knowles, in this month's issue of Counsel.