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Current News

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  • Firm to reach half a million pro bono hours
    1 April 2015 read more >
    Clayton Utz will be the first in Australia to log half a million pro bono hours this year after being the first to develop an in-house pro bono practice in 1997. David Hillard, the firm's pro bono partner, said Clayton Utz's success is largely due to treating pro bono as a practice group like any other. He said the involvement of all lawyers is taken extremely seriously.
    1 of 20
  • Court orders $186,000 in unpaid wages to a man held in "conditions akin to slavery" for 16 months [media release]
    27 March 2015 read more >
    The Federal Circuit Court has today ordered a restaurant and its owner to pay $186,000 in wages withheld from a man who was trafficked from India under a sham 457 visa arrangement and held in forced labour, working 12 hours a day, seven days a week, for 16 months... This successful case follows 3 years of pro bono representation of Mr Ram by Clayton Utz, and pro bono representation by barristers Yaseen Shariff and Jocelyn Williams.
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  • UK: Student pro bono stars shine at annual LawWorks & AG awards
    26 March 2015 read more >
    Students from across the United Kingdom gathered on 25 March for the annual LawWorks & Attorney General Student Pro Bono Awards 2015. Held in the House of Commons, and endorsed and presented by Attorney General Jeremy Wright QC MP, the awards recognise the hard work, innovation and dedication of law students around the country. The recent LawWorks Law School Pro Bono and Clinic Report revealed that around 70% of all UK law schools are involved in pro bono projects.
    3 of 20
  • Former refugee wins industry award
    24 March 2015 read more >
    A supervising solicitor and migration agent who fled Croatia and Bosnia in the mid-1990s has been named Young Migration Lawyer of the Year. Last week Marina Brizar was recognised for promoting the rights of refugees and asylum seekers with the Law Council of Australia's 2015 John Gibson AM Young Australian Migration Lawyer of the Year Award.
    4 of 20
  • US: Hundreds of attorneys petition top Texas court over law prof's 1-year suspension from pro bono work
    23 March 2015 read more >
    Some 250 fellow attorneys are backing a Texas law professor in his unusual effort to overturn a one-year suspension that, supporters say, will have the effect of depriving pro bono clients of skilled appellate work in death-penalty cases. David Dow, who teaches at the University of Houston, was held in contempt by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals for making a late filing in a death-penalty case.
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  • US: Pro Bono Partnership looks after nonprofits
    20 March 2015 read more >
    Rule 6.1 of the American Bar Association's Model Rules of Professional Conduct handbook says: "Every lawyer has a professional responsibility to provide legal services to those unable to pay." The rule does not elaborate on why lawyers should participate in pro bono services, but for Susan M. Corcoran, an attorney in the White Plains office of law firm Jackson Lewis PC and a volunteer for Pro Bono Partnership, "You just sort of do it because you want to do it, and you continue to do it."
    6 of 20
  • Survey open: Thomson Reuters TrustLaw Index of Pro Bono
    19 March 2015 read more >
    We want your data! Submission period for the 2015 TrustLaw Index of Pro Bono is now open. The TrustLaw Index of Pro Bono is an initiative of TrustLaw, the Thomson Reuters Foundation's global pro bono service. The TrustLaw Index of Pro Bono looks at how much pro bono work law firms are undertaking on a country-by-country basis around the world and identifies global trends in the pro bono market place.
    7 of 20
  • Elderly Mr Fluffy victims want reprieve from five-year limit on staying in their homes
    16 March 2015 read more >
    About 30 frail and elderly Mr Fluffy residents are seeking Government flexibility around a five-year time-limit on them remaining in their homes... Local law firm, Boettcher Law, is representing aged Mr Fluffy residents pro bono in the hope it can achieve a more flexible settlement package from the government which is forging ahead with its buyback and demolition scheme.
    8 of 20
  • UK: Unlocking the Funds for Justice - Pro Bono Costs
    16 March 2015 read more >
    The infection suffered by the family justice system, created by the lack of legal aid and the growth in the number of litigants in person, has spread up to the Court of Appeal which has an increasing burden of appeals lodged by litigants in person. For example, Lindner v Rawlins [2015] EWCA Civ 61 involved two litigants in person, although the respondent to the appeal did not attend. The appellant had approached the case on an erroneous legal basis.
    9 of 20
  • IRELAND: Working pro bono: good idea or an excuse for State inaction?
    16 March 2015 read more >
    "It's definitely a new movement, but it's one that is growing," said Pila coordinator Rachel Power of pro bono work in the legal profession. Pila (Public Interest Law Alliance) has released findings from the first survey of pro bono practices in Ireland, and the results were largely positive - almost three quarters of the lawyers surveyed provided free legal services at some point in their careers to those who could not afford it.
    10 of 20
  • US: State bar considers requiring all law students to do free legal work
    12 March 2015 read more >
    The State Bar of California is hoping to get more help ... by requiring that law students complete 50 hours of legal work for free or substantially reduced rates within one year of obtaining their license to practice law. The proposal is designed to create an army of thousands of young lawyers to assist the growing number of California residents who need legal advice but cannot afford an attorney.
    11 of 20
  • US: New rule rewards Louisiana lawyers for doing pro bono work
    12 March 2015 read more >
    Louisiana Supreme Court announced this week it is implementing a rule some say provides lawyers with an incentive to do legal work for needy clients for free. The state's high court this week issued an order about the rule, which goes into effect May 1, that says every lawyer who performs pro bono work can earn up to three hours of Continuing Legal Education credit a year.
    12 of 20
  • SINGAPORE: Singapore improves legal infrastructure through Criminal Legal Aid
    10 March 2015 read more >
    The Criminal Legal Aid Scheme is administered through the Law Society - but, from 23 March, funds will be made available to increase the representation of people who cannot afford legal fees. As well as the existing cadre of lawyers who give their help for nothing, 13 law firms have now promised to take on some cases each year.
    13 of 20
  • GHANA: Lawyers call for review of new court fees
    9 March 2015 read more >
    Some private legal practitioners in Accra have described the new fees and allowances for civil proceedings as exorbitant and a disincentive to the pursuit of rule of law... the new legal fees would significantly cause lawyers to decline to handle pro bono cases for the poor, most of whom they said had to depend on their lawyers to raise money to pay their filing processes in court.
    14 of 20
  • THAILAND: 'We must try to rid society of its fear'
    5 March 2015 read more >
    Pro bono human rights lawyer Anon Nampa, who defended those who were affected by martial law and the coup, himself ended up getting arrested and charged with violating martial law because he joined the "Resistance Citizen" group to mark the failed elections of February 2014. Now out on bail, Anon speaks to The Nation's Pravit Rojanaphruk about the latest twist in his career.
    15 of 20
  • Bad business for govt to keep cutting legal aid funding
    3 March 2015 read more >
    Tightening the legal aid budget leads to greater costs downstream in the areas of unemployment, mental health and social services, according to the Law Council of Australia (LCA). "For every dollar that you don't spend on legal aid, it's going to cost you up to $2.25 elsewhere in the community" LCA president Duncan McConnel told Lawyers Weekly.
    16 of 20
  • US: PBI honors William J. Casazza and the Law & Regulatory Affairs Department of Aetna Inc.
    2 March 2015 read more >
    The Pro Bono Institute (PBI) has selected Executive Vice President and General Counsel William J. Casazza and the Law & Regulatory Affairs Department of Aetna Inc. as the recipient of the 2015 Laurie D. Zelon Pro Bono Award for their outstanding commitment to pro bono legal services. The award will be presented at PBI's Annual Conference Reception at the historic U.S. Chamber of Commerce building in Washington, D.C., on March 5.
    17 of 20
  • US: Clemency effort, slow to start, will rely on an army of pro bono lawyers
    28 February 2015 read more >
    A massive influx of applications from prisoners and a complicated review process have slowed the Obama administration's highly touted initiative to grant clemency to nonviolent offenders, shifting the burden to an army of pro bono lawyers and specialists willing to help.
    18 of 20
  • Free legal advice via Skype for Bega Valley women
    27 February 2015 read more >
    Disadvantaged women in the local area will now have access to free and confidential legal advice via Skype thanks to Shoalcoast Community Legal Centre and the Women's Resource Centre in Bega. The initiative will start on Monday, March 2, and appointments will be held every second Monday with the hopes it will expand to weekly appointments in the future.
    19 of 20
  • US: The non-traditional form of pro bono
    25 February 2015 read more >
    It is no secret that one of the best things about being a member of the Maryland Bar is the lack of mandatory CLEs and mandatory pro bono work. I'm not saying that Maryland's attorneys are not among the finest, well-educated, and most civic-minded, but I've never been a fan of forcing attorneys to do "free" work. Because each attorney's normal practice, skills, availability, and comfort level with pro bono varies, I very much support the practice of "aspirational" pro bono in Maryland.
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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.

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WA's Law Access pro bono clearing house gets underway at the University of WA

26 February 2015

In a watershed moment for pro bono development in the West, the pro bono clearing house “Law Access” has just opened its doors at new premises in the Law Faculty at the University of WA. Law Access has existed as a pro bono referral scheme within the Law Society of WA since 1992 but is now to be operated by Law Access Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Law Society.

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The Centre welcomes its new Chair and Board Members

18 December 2014

The Centre welcomes its new Chair, Phillip Cornwell (Allens), and new Board Members, Daniel Creasey (CBP Lawyers) and Jane Hutchison (Hobart Community Legal Centre).

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Report shows pro bono growth but reveals warning signs

12 December 2014

The Final Report on the Fourth Biennial National Law Firm Pro Bono Survey, released today, highlights the impressive pro bono contribution of large law firms which continues to grow. However, a number of concerning trends are also identified. Some of these trends were also recognised in the Productivity Commission’s Inquiry Report on Access to Justice Arrangements, released last week.

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Law firms agree to collaborate around a new UK pro bono aspirational target

13 November 2014

In what looks like being a significant moment in the development of legal pro bono culture in the UK, at least eighteen large law firms with offices in the UK agreed last week to participate in a new Collaborative Plan for Pro Bono in the UK.

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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.

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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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