Australian Pro Bono Centre

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Current News

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  • Law firms up ante in feel good factor [paywall]
    2 October 2015 read more >
    The nation's mid-sized law firms, long criticised for punching under their weight in pro bono efforts, have boosted the number of free hours worked by lawyers for underprivileged or poorly resourced clients by 20 per cent in the past year, despite a tough legal market hitting bottom lines. The Australian Pro Bono Centre revealed that lawyers worked almost 375,000 hours for free in the 2015 fiscal year, but said firms could do more to ply their expertise for the public good.
    1 of 20
  • CANADA: Defence lawyers end free legal service for low-income Albertans, saying it's time for government to step up
    1 October 2015 read more >
    Defence lawyers in Calgary and Edmonton announced Thursday they will no longer offer a free service helping low-income Albertans who have been denied legal aid coverage, saying it's time for the government to increase funding to the program. In a joint news release, the Criminal Defence Lawyers' Association in Calgary and its Edmonton counterpart said volunteer lawyers have provided free representations to nearly 900 people denied legal aid coverage on how to apply for a court order forcing the government to pay for their legal representation - a process known as a Rowbotham application.
    2 of 20
  • US: Doctors Prescribing Pro Bono for Patients in Need
    1 October 2015 read more >
    At first it may sound counter-intuitive, but people often need legal assistance in order to be healthy. In many cases, low-income individuals with medical challenges also face legal difficulties, which can negatively impact their health and delay their recovery. That's where medical-legal partnerships step in. Medical-legal partnerships integrate legal services into the delivery of healthcare in order to address health-harming legal needs that disproportionately affect people living in poverty.
    3 of 20
  • Three anti-war protesters sue Defence Force over alleged assault during protest
    30 September 2015 read more >
    THREE anti-war activists have launched legal action against the Australian Defence Force claiming they were "hooded, stripped naked and dragged along the ground" during a protest in Victoria last year... The trio have engaged law firm Maurice Blackburn, which lodged proceedings in the Victorian Supreme Court today. Their lawyer, Jacob Varghese, who is acting for them pro bono, said once the names of the individuals involved were provided, the protesters intended to sue the officers for assault and battery.
    4 of 20
  • US: The Uphill Challenge of In-House Pro Bono
    28 September 2015 read more >
    Here's the good news: Great things are happening today in pro bono. That's especially true when it comes to corporate pro bono. In-house participation, in the form of unpaid legal services to meet unmet legal needs, is surging. Alas, so is demand. That's the bad news. More and more corporate law departments are heading down the trail blazed, some 35 years ago, by Aetna under the leadership of retired executive vice president and general counsel Stephen B. Middlebrook, the visionary behind the oldest corporate pro bono program in America.
    5 of 20
  • US: PBI Offers Guidance on Pro Bono for Social Enterprises
    29 September 2015 read more >
    While we are usually delighted to see coverage of pro bono in the media, we were troubled by inaccuracies about our work in a Sept. 9 article, "The Case for Pro Bono Support of Social Enterprises." The article asserts that Pro Bono Institute provides "little guidance" regarding the eligibility of for-profit businesses including social enterprises for pro bono services. A quick check with us would confirm that we regularly provide intensive fact-specific guidance regarding these complicated matters.
    6 of 20
  • US: AILA Prez Calls For More Pro Bono Attys For Immigrants [paywall]
    29 September 2015 read more >
    Victor Nieblas Pradis, the first Mexican-American president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, emphasized the need for more pro bono attorneys for vulnerable immigrants in a recent Law360 interview while calling for more EB-5 visas and greater diversity outreach at AILA.
    7 of 20
  • Canberra lawyer to trek Ethiopia's Simien Mountains in support of UNICEF child protection
    28 September 2015 read more >
    Canberra solicitor Brodie Williams has personally raised more than $8000 for UNICEF's child justice programs to trek the incredibly challenging Simien Mountains, alongside armed protection and medical assistance... DLA Piper, a global partner with UNICEF, has pledged to raise $1.5 million in cash over five years and support them with $5 million of Pro Bono assistance.
    8 of 20
  • Luke Batty inquest verdict due to be handed down in Victoria
    27 September 2015 read more >
    Nine months after witnesses concluded giving evidence, the inquest into the death of 11-year-old Luke Batty will be brought to a close on Monday... Batty has been supported throughout the inquest pro bono by a team from Shine lawyers. Without them she would have needed tens of thousands of dollars or to have represented herself throughout the gruelling evidence that lasted 13 days.
    9 of 20
  • Firms that go above and beyond recognised
    25 September 2015 read more >
    Standout firms have been recognised for their pro bono work, employee programs, innovation and more, in a range of corporate categories at the Australian Law Awards... Salvos Legal & Salvos Legal Humanitarian was awarded the Pro Bono Program of the Year award - not for a certain program they run, but for their entirely pro bono-based operation. "The whole firm is based around the concept of pro bono and has developed not only an absolute philosophy around pro bono, but looks at the whole person [client] and links to other services [the non-legal issues]," one judge said.
    10 of 20
  • US: CPBO Honors Best Buy and Volunteer Lawyers Network for Their Decade-Long, Sustainable Collaboration [media release]
    24 September 2015 read more >
    Corporate Pro Bono announced today that it has selected Best Buy, a signatory to the CPBO Challenge initiative, and Volunteer Lawyers Network to receive the 2015 CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award - Small Law category for their more than decade-long collaboration with VLN.
    11 of 20
  • US: CPBO Honors BNY Mellon, White & Case, and The National LGBT Bar For High-Impact Collaboration [media release]
    24 September 2015 read more >
    Corporate Pro Bono announced today that it has selected BNY Mellon, a signatory to the CPBO Challenge initiative, White & Case, and the National LGBT Bar Association to receive the 2015 CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award in the Large Law category. The awardees were selected for their collaborative development of the Online LGBT Tax Resource, an innovative tool that leverages technology to provide pro bono legal assistance to same-sex married couples in the United States.
    12 of 20
  • ASIC lawyers win award for pro-bono volunteering with young people [media release]
    22 September 2015 read more >
    ASIC lawyers this week won an award for their pro-bono volunteering work in helping young people. The award, from National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, recognised the work of 38 ASIC lawyers. These ASIC staff volunteer with the National Children's and Youth Law Centre Cyber Project, which is supported by ASIC, Telstra and law firm King & Wood Mallesons. The award was shared with lawyers from other supporting organisations.
    13 of 20
  • US: Papal Visit Opens Arms at Pro Bono Clinic
    21 September 2015 read more >
    This week, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington expects business as usual in its pro bono law intake center before and after Pope Francis drops by on Thursday. Still, the attention of the coming papal visit has boosted the legal services group in recent weeks. Catholic Charities Legal Network, the legal-services leg of the local nonprofit, has seen a 10 percent to 15 percent uptick in the lawyers wanting to help in the past month, James Bishop, the network's director, said.
    14 of 20
  • Australian Law Awards winners revealed
    18 September 2015 read more >
    The Australian Law Awards, which recognise the best and brightest in the legal profession, were presented on 17 September this year. Winners include Pro Bono Program of the Year: Salvos Legal & Salvos Legal Humanitarian.
    15 of 20
  • UK: Pro bono providers need to adapt to survive
    14 September 2015 read more >
    Only 10 years ago, the pro bono landscape looked very different. Legal aid and public funds supported a web of pro bono organisations like ... leaving the profession needing only to provide limited top-up resources in the form of adviser hours and support for particular cases ... Now things are different in two ways. The obvious one is that there is no money ... Less obviously, the types of pro bono help needed have also changed. Giving social welfare law advice to a client is no longer easily picked up by a corporate associate from a City firm; there is a serious skills mismatch.
    16 of 20
  • UK: Demand for free help almost doubles since cuts to legal aid
    13 September 2015 read more >
    The number of applications for legal assistance received by the Bar Pro Bono Unit has almost doubled over the past three years since widespread cuts to civil legal aid were introduced. The increased demand ... has led to serious strains on the resources of charities and the goodwill of hard-pressed barristers and solicitors, as lawyers warn that pro bono work is not there to plug any legal aid gap.
    17 of 20
  • US: Seattle lawyers up for gun tax lawsuit
    11 September 2015 read more >
    With the city facing a triple threat challenge from some of strongest Second Amendment groups in the nation, Seattle is adding to its legal team. Last month Seattle Mayor Ed Murray ... signed a contentious measure to put a $25 tax on each firearm and up to 5 cents on each round of ammo sold in the city. This in turn triggered a promised lawsuit ... Now city officials have tapped in four lawyers from the prominent international firm, Steptoe & Johnson, to work with City attorneys pro bono who weighed in Wednesday at King County Superior Court.
    18 of 20
  • US: Nevada Attorney General Laxalt unveils First in the Nation Program
    11 September 2015 read more >
    Capt. Nic Danna ... was recently named the director of the Office of Military Legal Assistance for the Nevada Attorney General's Office ... This new office will offer free legal civil services to active duty, Army Reserve and National Guard service members, as well as veterans in the state of Nevada. The program will be the nation's first attorney general led public-private partnership to give our military communities better access to pro bono civil legal services.
    19 of 20
  • UK: Linklaters trains its lawyers in welfare law in access to justice push
    9 September 2015 read more >
    ... Linklaters has commissioned a legal education charity to provide a bespoke training programme in housing law for its lawyers. Pro Bono Community (PBC) delivered the first of three programmes this summer to a cohort of volunteer solicitors at the firm, who were taught how to provide legal advice within legal clinics, given an overview of social security law focussed on housing benefits, and advised of common issues...
    20 of 20

Mid-size firms lead pro bono growth

2 October 2015

Sixty percent of mid-size Australian law firms who are Target signatories reported more than 20% growth in the number of pro bono hours per lawyer for the 2014/2015 year, according to the Eighth Annual Performance Report on the National Pro Bono Aspirational Target, released today.

read more >


Law Reform Hub: Supporting the Voice of Community Advocates

10 September 2015

A new collaborative pro bono project, the Law Reform Hub, is supporting the voice of community organisations engaged in policy and law reform advocacy. Henry Davis York, who have already been joined by CBP Lawyers and Lander & Rogers, is looking for new partners among law firms and community legal organisations.


For this story and more see the September edition of Australian Pro Bono News.

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Pro bono provisions strengthened by Victorian Government

10 August 2015

On 1 July 2015 Attorney-General Martin Pakula announced changes to the pro bono conditions in the new Victorian Government Legal Services Panel arrangements.


For this story and more see the August edition of Australian Pro Bono News.

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Centre launches new identity at National Access to Justice and Pro Bono Conference

1 July 2015

Australian Pro Bono Centre

As announced below, the National Pro Bono Resource Centre has now officially changed its name to the Australian Pro Bono Centre. The Centre’s new name and visual identity were launched by the Centre’s Chair, Phillip Cornwell, at the Welcome Drinks to the 2015 National Access to Justice and Pro Bono Conference.


For more information on the change and the Conference click here. You can also follow us on Twitter @AusPBC.

read more >


We are now the Australian Pro Bono Centre

17 June 2015

The National Pro Bono Resource Centre announced today that it has changed its name to the Australian Pro Bono Centre.

A new website will be launched in September at Until then, please continue to visit this page ( to access information on:


  • providing pro bono assistance;
  • finding legal help; and
  • pro bono in general, including the Centre’s many publications.


read more >


Join the NPBRC team: The Centre is recruiting a new Policy Officer

3 June 2015

The Centre is seeking a Policy Officer (0.8 FTE, 4 days a week). Applications close 22 June 2015.

read more >


Registrations for the National Access to Justice and Pro Bono Conference close Friday

3 June 2015

It is your last chance to register for the National Access to Justice and Pro Bono Conference, to be held in Sydney on 18 - 19 June 2015.

read more >


New relationship with Australian Legal Sector Alliance

4 May 2015

The Centre is pleased to announce its new relationship with the Australian Legal Sector Alliance (AusLSA). From FY2016 AusLSA plans to incorporate pro bono into its reporting framework with reference to the Centre’s National Pro Bono Aspirational Target.

read more >


The Walk for Justice is only weeks away

23 April 2015

On Tuesday 12 May - National Pro Bono Day - lawyers, law students, the judiciary and everyone else have a chance to show their support for social justice and pro bono by participating in the Walk for Justice (or Queensland Legal Walk in Queensland) and helping to provide much needed funds to their local pro bono clearing house.

read more >


Registrations now open for the National Access to Justice and Pro Bono Conference 2015

25 March 2015

Registrations are now open for the National Access to Justice and Pro Bono Conference 2015, to be held in Sydney on 18 & 19 June 2015. A list of speakers, including Rosie Batty, Australian of the Year, has also been announced.

read more >


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Australian Pro Bono News: Issue 102
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