About Fifth Day

Why I started Fifth Day

In 2018 I applied for a Non-Executive role with a leading cancer charity. I was thrilled to make the shortlist. Then, two weeks before the interview, I was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

It’s a cliche, but illness makes you reflect on your life and your choices. I wish I’d found a way to combine a career I loved with a role that enabled me to give back more to people less fortunate. I wish I’d had the confidence to realise that my skills and experience could be valuable to others.

The legal profession is really good at this. There’s a recognition that pro bono work is good for your skills, your network and your soul.

However, that culture of pro bono does not permeate the sector. There are around 30,000 business operations professionals working in the top 100 UK law firms, with experience in everything from HR to finance, marketing, IT, facilities and more. Yet how many firms prioritise and promote pro bono work by those allied professionals in the same way as they do for their legal experts?

Fifth Day hopes to change that. Our mission is to create a movement that makes pro bono as valued and accepted among allied business professionals within law firms as it is for lawyers. We are a non-profit organisation.

Working in partnership with Reach Volunteering, we connect skilled personnel in law firms with opportunities for rewarding trustee and pro bono work.

Further, we partner with law firms to promote and recognise the many benefits that skills-based volunteering brings.

Join our community today. There are no obligations, and no hard sell. Just opportunities and know how direct to your inbox, making it easier for you to take the next step.

Fred Banning,
Founder, Fifth Day

Reach Volunteering is the leading skills-based volunteering charity and the UK’s single biggest source of trustees for the voluntary sector.

Its vision is to create a world where people come together to create a thriving, fair and sustainable society.

Reach inspires, supports and connects civil society organisations and volunteers to work together, sharing skills and expertise to create a better society.

From HR to digital, to finance and marketing, opportunities include a range of different areas, short-term projects and ongoing operational roles.

Find out more about Reach Volunteering.

Advisory Board

Fred Banning


Fred is the founder of Fifth Day and has spent over 15 years working in marketing and communications roles in the professional services sector. He spent ten years at Pinsent Masons during which time the firm was named the most innovative law firm in Europe by the Financial Times and celebrated as ‘Law Firm of the Year’ by The Lawyer, Legal Week and Legal Business. Fred stepped down as Head of Communications following a diagnosis of terminal cancer in 2020. In 2021 he was listed in The Lawyer ‘Hot 100’ for his work in relation to vaccinations for the terminally unwell.

Nicola Sawford

Nicola is a portfolio non-executive director with over 30 years of business experience. She is a qualified chartered accountant and her senior executive experience covers all operational areas and a wide variety of organisations and sectors including professional services, technology, retail, media, financial services, regulation, property, housing and charities.

Nicola’s current board positions include Chair of Milton Keynes Development Partnership, Chair of Chelmer Housing Partnership, trustee of the charity The Access to Justice Foundation and a member of the Managing Partners Forum advisory board.

Moira Slape

Travers Smith

Moira is a senior HR professional in the legal sector and currently the Chief People Officer for Travers Smith.  Having worked in the legal sector for other international firms since 1999, Moira brings extensive HR and learning & development experience, alongside a deep interest in employee engagement, health & wellbeing, talent management and reward to her work.  Moira’s principal responsibility is to support the partnership in delivering the core objectives of the firm’s people strategy.

Moira is an accredited coach having completed the Meyler Campbell Mastered Programme, and a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

Moira is a trustee of the Mindful Business Charter which has been developed to remove unnecessary sources of stress and promote better mental health & wellbeing in the workplace.  She is also a fellow of the Society of Leadership Fellows, St George’s House, Windsor Castle, which brings together leaders across diverse organisations to explore exceptional standards of leadership.

Jeremy Ford


Jeremy Ford is a Senior Business Development & Marketing Leader with over twenty years’ experience in client relationship management, sector and legal practice strategy, marketing & communications and cross-border team leadership. He has lived and worked in several countries across Europe and the US.

Outside of work, he is a UK Trustee & Director of the Qhubeka charity which uses bicycles to change the lives of women and children across South Africa, and beyond. They are a charity partner with the Tour de France, Team Qhubeka Assos, Cycling Weekly, CyclingUK, Breitling and many more.

In addition, he delivers voluntary marketing pro bono support to Africa Rising Cycling – a non-profit organisation working to develop and promote the rise of professional cycling across Africa.

David Halliwell

Pinsent Masons

David is a lawyer who started asking “surely there’s a better way of doing this?” 20 years ago, and hasn’t stopped trying to answer that question ever since. He qualified and practised as a litigation lawyer with Slaughter and May in Paris and London, before moving into law firm knowledge management, learning and development and risk management at a number of international law firms.

After joining Pinsent Masons as Director of Knowledge, he expanded into legal innovation, to lead the development of the firm’s multi-award winning SmartDelivery approach, and is now a Partner in the firm’s Vario Group, looking at how innovative models can support client outcomes for better legal service delivery.

With three children now entering the world of work, he’s alive to the challenges the next generation face in forging their careers, and is an active mentor to both Pinsent Masons employees and those still in education.

Why do pro bono?

It’s good for the soul

Professional services firms are great places to work. Typically you work in pleasant surroundings with very intelligent and driven people, and are well looked after. Often, though. Many of us know that this is a different world to those who need our help, and feel the need to make a wider contribution that goes beyond helping to generate profits. There’s no shame in that. Lawyers often feel that way too, having gone into the law for that reason. In a business operations role, it can be hard to access projects and assignments that do that in a way that utilise your professional skills. Hence why we founded Fifth Day.

Rediscover your skills

It is a truism that, the further you go in your career, often the further away you become from the work that got you into it in the first place. So whether you’re a comms guru who wants to get back to working with the press, or an IT aficionado who wants to remember what its like to write code, pro bono can help you rediscover old skills - and build new ones.

Grow new skills

Another challenge working in large professional services firms is that it can be hard at junior and mid-level to gain access to the sort of multidisciplinary projects that help you to move your career to the next level. Pro bono work can expose you to areas such as finance, IT, knowledge, business development and marketing, HR and facilities in a way that may not be possible within the confines of your current role.

Develop your network and your creativity

Pro bono projects can help you build your professional network, introducing you to new people and fresh ideas. This in itself can lead to greater innovation and creativity; often the best ideas aren’t completely ‘new’ but come from cross-fertilising practices from other industries and introducing them to your own organisation.

Because you can

Often there is a sense that lawyers can do pro bono because their skills are ‘in demand’. Sometimes we might lack confidence that the same is true in our own area of expertise. That’s not the case! Many organisations require just as much help writing the winning bid for grant funding or scaling up their IT as they do legal advice. Don’t believe me? Check out these opportunities.

You have the time!

People can often be put off by concern that pro bono projects or roles are too time consuming. That need not be the case - you can really make it work for you. Many of the opportunities we see ask people to contribute as much time as they can spare. Further, most law firms recognise the value of volunteering work and allow employees a certain number of days for voluntary work.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any questions that aren’t listed, please click below to get in touch with us.

Fifth Day is a non-profit organisation established to: (1) promote pro bono work – or skills-based volunteering – by business operations professionals within legal and professional services firms, and (2) connect great talent with opportunities to do meaningful and fulfilling voluntary work.
There are many reasons to undertake pro bono work. Some people do it in order to grow their skills and professional networks. Others because they are in senior positions and want to get back to exercising the core skillset that helped them advance in the first place. What volunteers all have in common, however, is a desire to help third sector organisations and in so-doing benefit society.
No. Legal skills are highly-prized by third sector organisations but so too are skills and knowhow in areas such as finance, HR, marketing, business development, IT, facilities and much, much more.
That is totally up to you. Many opportunities simply require you to devote as much time as you can spare. So long as all parties’ expectations are aligned, there is no minimum or maximum.

We operate in collaboration with Reach Volunteering, a leading skills-based volunteering charity which helps third sector organisations find skilled personnel for voluntary assignments and trustee roles. Unlike other volunteering services, our focus is very-much on helping skilled professionals find opportunities which relate directly to their professional skillsets and experience.

Fifth Day aims to connect people with opportunities. We advertise opportunities which you are then free to sign-up to through the Reach Volunteering platform. This process only takes a few minutes and no CV is required – a LinkedIn profile will do.

New opportunities come up regularly. You can sign-up to receive opportunities which are directly relevant to your skillset by enail here.

Light-touch vetting of organisations is undertaken by our partners at Reach Volunteering. Organisations which seek to access support will be asked to supply evidence of their status, for instance, a charity number, social enterprise directory entry or articles of association – full criteria can be found here. However, we would very-much encourage volunteers to satisfy themselves of the status and objectives of any organisations they choose to apply to work with.

We welcome applications from third sector organisations to offer roles through the site. This process is administered through our partners at Reach Volunteering, and you can find out how to promote roles here.

We offer a corporate membership scheme for legal and professional services firms who want to promote pro bono opportunities among their business operations (ie. Finance, IT, Business Development and Marketing, HR, Facilities, Risk, Knowledge, etc) staff. No fees are involved, and you can find out more about membership here.