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Current News

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  • Vic Labor to promote briefing of female barristers and more pro bono work [paywall]
    31 October 2014 read more >
    The briefing and pro bono practices of individual Victorian panel law firms could again be subject to public scrutiny after opposition legal affairs spokesman Martin Pakula said he would publish the figures if Labor wins this month's state election.
    1 of 20
  • US: Legal Advice for a Nobel Laureate
    29 October 2014 read more >
    It's a good day when your client wins the Nobel Peace Prize. Last month Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft hailed its 17-year-old pro bono client, Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan, for winning this year's prize for her global advocacy of girls' education, making her the youngest-ever recipient. The firm has represented Yousafzai since 2012, when it helped her negotiate and establish The Malala Fund while she was still hospitalized in England after an assassination attempt.
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  • Mum knows best
    28 October 2014 read more >
    The Pro Bono Award winner at the Lawyers Weekly Women in Law Awards has certainly followed her mum's credo of 'living your values'. Wotton + Kearney partner Heidi Nash-Smith won what is one of the most prestigious awards on the Women in Law Awards agenda. In 2012, she was a key figure in the establishment of W+K's Pro Bono and Corporate Social Responsibility program, 'Community Footprint', and she has since devoted more than 1,100 hours to the program.
    3 of 20
  • UK: Who's Who Pro Bono Legal Survey Results 2014 [media release]
    28 October 2014 read more >
    Following on from the success of our first pro bono survey, Who's Who Legal once again invited law firms to participate in its annual review of global pro bono activity. Building on last year's findings, the survey seeks to track progress and explore how the practice of pro bono is evolving. This year, we received submissions from an even mix of international and national firms representing Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, South America and North America.
    4 of 20
  • UK: Who's Who Legal Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year: DLA Piper [media release]
    28 October 2014 read more >
    We are delighted to announce DLA Piper as our pro bono law firm of the year in recognition of the firm's commitment to maintaining a leading practice and the ground breaking work it has undertaken. The firm uses the size and scale of its global network to great effect, drawing on the skills of more than 4,200 lawyers globally. Last year it delivered 207,000 hours of pro bono advice to charities, individuals, social enterprises, UN agencies and NGOs - more than any other firm in our survey.
    5 of 20
  • US: CPBO Honors American International Group, Inc. and the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project for Innovative Collaboration [media release]
    27 October 2014 read more >
    Corporate Pro Bono announced today that it has selected American International Group, Inc.'s Global Legal, Compliance, Regulatory, and Government Affairs department, and the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project to receive the 2014 CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award for their pioneering, collaborative effort to serve the legal needs of refugees in the Middle East, whose lives are in imminent danger due to their work with the U.S. government.
    6 of 20
  • US: PBI Honors Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom for Outstanding Pro Bono Service [media release]
    27 October 2014 read more >
    Pro Bono Institute announced today that it will present Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP with the 2014 John H. Pickering Award in recognition of the firm's long-standing and remarkable commitment to pro bono. The award will be presented at the 2014 PBI Annual Dinner on November 6 in New York.
    7 of 20
  • Lawyers' helping hand to Baby Ferouz
    26 October 2014 read more >
    The Federal Circuit Court decision last week denying 11 month old Ferouz Myuddin (Baby Ferouz) a protection visa. The, and its forthcoming appeal, was run entirely on a pro bono basis. Ordinarily, running a case of this size and complexity would have cost well over $100,000 in time and expertise.
    8 of 20
  • Cut in legal aid strains the system
    25 October 2014 read more >
    Cuts in legal-aid funding were hurting courts, legal practices and clients in the North East, a leading lawyer said yesterday. Wangaratta lawyer Danny Frigerio said it slowed court work and hit the viability of some practices. "(The cuts) also affect the ability of people to obtain representation when they just turn up to court and seek a duty lawyer," he said.
    9 of 20
  • UK: Is it time to refuse pro bono work?
    24 October 2014 read more >
    The government is relying on the generosity of lawyers - maybe now enough is enough. I've always been surprised by the amount of times I hear lawyers criticised for 'only' doing a certain amount of pro bono work. As a novice to this sector when I joined the Gazette in 2011, one of the first things that struck me was the outstanding effort of this profession to offer services for free.
    10 of 20
  • US: Celebrating Pro Bono Month
    24 October 2014 read more >
    Voluntary service to people in need is a deep tradition of the legal profession. Here in Massachusetts, it is clear that equal access to justice has come to depend on the pro bono services of attorneys. - Lonnie A. Powers, Executive Director, Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation
    11 of 20
  • Legal Aid adjusts to cuts
    16 October 2014 read more >
    The Legal Aid Commission (ACT) says the pressures of limited resourcing must affect the numbers of people who can be assisted, and this remains a "serious concern" for the Board of Commissioners.
    12 of 20
  • UK: Criminal lawyers asked to take 4% pay cut as legal aid reforms bite
    15 October 2014 read more >
    Evidence has begun to emerge of the impact of legal aid cuts on criminal law firms, with internal memos from one large business showing that lawyers are being asked to take a 4% pay cut or face losing their jobs.
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  • Plea for legal aid funds amid claims of a crisis in Tasmania's courts
    15 October 2014 read more >
    The Law Society has called on the Government to lift funding to the Legal Aid Commission amid what it described as a crisis in the state's courts.
    14 of 20
  • Does the right to a peaceful death extend to the young and depressed? [paywall]
    14 October 2014 read more >
    "HERE it is", says Michael Tinsley, jiggling a plastic bag with enough of the suicide drug Nembutal to kill both of us should we decide on a whim to mix the white powder with water and drink our death. ... Determined to retain registration, Nitschke is preparing a defence with his pro-bono legal team while masterminding a Voluntary Euthanasia Party campaign in Victoria's November election.
    15 of 20
  • Court case to decide fate of 100 children of asylum seekers
    13 October 2014 read more >
    The question of whether 100 children who were born in Australia to asylum seeker parents can be given permanent protection will be heard in the Federal Circuit Court on Tuesday. ... Lawyers from Maurice Blackburn, who are acting on a pro bono basis, are confident they will win the case, but say Immigration Minister Scott Morrison's recently proposed changes to the Migration Act could undermine the decision.
    16 of 20
  • Salvos' lecture series attracts bench chiefs
    7 October 2014 read more >
    Five prominent judges from across Australia will speak at the upcoming Salvos Legal Lecture Series. The event will be held in Sydney on 8 November. Chief Justice James Allsop of the Federal Court of Australia will discuss Case Management and the Profession's Responsibilities. All money raised will go to fund the work of Salvos Humanitarian, which provides free legal advice to disadvantaged individuals in NSW and Queensland.
    17 of 20
  • Taking good care of yourself includes getting legal help [media release]
    6 October 2014 read more >
    Justice Connect Seniors Law has urged Victorian seniors not to be afraid to seek legal advice, even for what might seem at first like a trivial matter, during the 2014 Victorian Seniors Festival. Seniors Law offers free legal help to older Victorians who can't get legal assistance any other way, through connecting pro bono lawyers drawn from the Victorian legal community to those who need them.
    18 of 20
  • Australian Law Firms Hit Pro Bono Targets
    6 October 2014 read more >
    Australian lawyers at the top firms either met or exceeded their pro bono quotas, according to the Australian National Pro Bono Resource Centre, which involved an annual target of 35 hours per lawyer per year. The target was reached by over half of the top 20 firms. Seventeen firms are signatories to the target. Among the recent additions to the group are Herbert Smith Freehills, King & Wood Mallesons, Holding Redlich and Gadens among the more recent additions.
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  • SINGAPORE: Token fees for pro bono work in criminal cases
    5 October 2014 read more >
    Lawyers who do pro bono work for the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme (CLAS) will be paid an honorarium for the first time. The token fees would amount to a few hundred dollars for each case and be scaled according to several factors, such as whether the case goes to trial, said Mr Tanguy Lim, director of Pro Bono Services at the Law Society, which administers the CLAS.
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Law Firm Survey Interim Report and Target Report released

2 October 2014

The Centre today released the Fourth National Law Firm Pro Bono Survey (Australian firms with 50+ lawyers) Interim Report and the Seventh Annual Performance Report on the National Pro Bono Aspirational Target. Forty of the 55 firms with 50+ lawyers, including 24 of the 25 largest, responded to the Survey. Of the 20 largest firms in Australia, 17 are now signatories to the Target.

read more >


Pro bono at National CLCs Conference and Legal Aid NSW Civil Law Conference

27 August 2014

John Corker, Director of the Centre, attended the National CLCs Conference and the Legal Aid NSW Civil Law Conference this month. He shares his experience in this month’s newsletter.

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National Partnership Agreement Review Final Report released

30 July 2014

The Final Report of the Review of the National Partnership Agreement on Legal Assistance Service, prepared by the Allen Consulting Group (now ACIL Allen Consulting) for the Australian Government Attorney-General’s Department, has been released.

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Herbert Smith Freehills and Holding Redlich become Target signatories

24 June 2014

This month sees these two firms, both with outstanding pro bono practices become signatories to the National Pro Bono Aspirational Target, taking the number of Australian lawyers now covered by the Target to nearly 12,000.

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The Centre is hiring: Policy Officer (0.8 FTE) & Office Administrator (0.4 FTE)

29 May 2014

The Centre invites suitable candidates to apply for its currently advertised positions of Policy Officer (0.8 FTE, 4 days a week) and Office Administrator (0.4 FTE, 4 mornings a week). PLEASE NOTE: Applications for these positions have now closed.

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7th Annual Walk for Justice on National Pro Bono Day is biggest yet

30 April 2014

On National Pro Bono Day (13 May) the 7th annual Walk for Justice will be held in a record nine locations - Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Newcastle, the Sunshine Coast, Mackay, Townsville and Cairns. Join in to support QPILCH, Justice Connect and JusticeNet SA!


Held every year on the Tuesday of Law Week, everyone from attorneys-general to judges, lawyers and law students will be taking part in Walks to celebrate pro bono and support their local pro bono referral organisation.

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Productivity Commission does not support compulsory pro bono

10 April 2014

The Centre welcomes comments made by the Productivity Commission earlier this week in its draft report on Access to Justice Arrangements indicating that it does not consider compulsion an appropriate means of bolstering pro bono legal services, and recognises that pro bono plays only a small but important role in assisting disadvantaged Australians to obtain legal services.

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Pro bono work under PI insurance scheme doubles

17 March 2014

The hours of pro bono work performed in the latest reporting period by in-house lawyers covered under the National Pro Bono PI Insurance Scheme almost doubled, from 545.6 hours in the six month period from 1 January to 30 June 2013 to 1086.2 hours in the six months to 31 December 2013.

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Nearly 10,000 lawyers now covered by Aspirational Target as King & Wood Mallesons and Gadens Sydney sign up

13 February 2014

The Centre welcomes both King & Wood Mallesons and Gadens Sydney, which joined the National Pro Bono Aspirational Target as signatories this month.  This brings the number of Australian lawyers covered by the Target to almost 10,000 lawyers.  The Scheme started in April 2007 and in its first reporting year covered about 3,000 lawyers.

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Centre develops new strategic plan for 2013-2017

28 November 2013

At its annual planning day the Centre developed a new strategic plan for the next four years. At the heart of the plan is the NPBRC as an independent centre of expertise whose principal objective is to grow the capacity of the Australian legal profession to provide pro bono legal services that are focused on increasing access to justice for socially disadvantaged and/or marginalised persons, and furthering the public interest. The full plan can be seen here (PDF).

read more >


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hot topics
National Pro Bono News: Issue 92 (October 2014)
Fourth National Law Firm Pro Bono Survey Interim Report
Seventh Annual Performance Report on the National Pro Bono Aspirational Target
Pro Bono Legal Services in Family Law and Family Violence: Understanding the Limitations and Opportunities
Pro Bono Partnerships and Models: A Practical Guide to What Works
National Pro Bono PI Insurance Scheme
Pro Bono Manual
Social Needs Directory
Social Justice Opportunities
Aspirational Target
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