Australian Pro Bono Centre

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Current News

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  • NZ: Pro bono 'part and parcel' of being a lawyer
    30 July 2015 read more >
    For Simpson Grierson partner Michael Wood, pro bono work isn't optional - it's imperative. "I see pro bono work as being part and parcel of being a lawyer, not just a 'nice to have'," he told Australasian Lawyer. "Volunteering one's time and skills is part of the glue that binds civil society together. Lawyers have a vital role to play in providing access to all aspects of law for those who aren't able to afford it."
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  • Billable hours to combat sex-trafficking
    29 July 2015 read more >
    The International Justice Mission is urging lawyers to give up an hour of their time to combat sex-trafficking in the Philippines. Under the Time for Justice campaign, fee-earning professionals donate one billable hour's charge-out rate to IJM's anti-trafficking work ... IJM Australia chief executive Jeff Nagle said IJM was proud to be working with the Australian legal profession to support lawyers working on the ground.
    2 of 20
  • US: Immigrants' attorneys say they were 'locked out' of detention centers after raising concerns
    27 July 2015 read more >
    Pro bono attorneys working at the country's two largest immigrant family detention centers in Texas said Monday that they have been "locked out" after they raised concerns last week that officials were forcing the immigrant mothers they represent to sign legal papers without consulting them... On Monday, four national immigration lawyers groups working at the two newer, larger detention centers south of San Antonio in Dilley and Karnes City, Texas, sent a letter to U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement demanding it "account for the cascade of due process violations and detrimental practices."
    3 of 20
  • Splendour in the Grass sets up free legal tent for punters seeking advice
    25 July 2015 read more >
    Punters greeted, or caught out by sniffer dogs on their arrival at [the music festival] this weekend can take solace in professional and pro bono advice, as Lismore's Randall Legal have set up shop with a free legal tent onsite ... Naomi Carter, a solicitor at Randall Legal ... said helping young festival-goers early on is imperative, as they generally become "quite distressed with the fact they've been charged." Carter told us that a criminal conviction for personal use can be a particularly strong blight on punters' futures.
    4 of 20
  • UK: Pro bono case study from Excellence in Pro Bono winners, DLA Piper
    23 July 2015 read more >
    DLA Piper UK LLP won the 2014 Excellence in Pro Bono award. Here the firm describes some of its pro bono work. In 2014, the firm donated over 202,500 hours globally of pro bono advice ... which makes their contribution to pro bono ... one of the largest in the world. DLA Piper has also been recognised as having a leading pro bono programme in the UK ... [where] the firm works collaboratively with community partners and charities to address unmet legal need and enhance access to justice for all.
    5 of 20
  • Courting the Commonwealth
    21 July 2015 read more >
    Firms have always sought the attention of government agencies to gain lucrative work from the sector, but federal reform has given smaller players a way in ... [the Legal Services Multi-Use List (LSMUL)] opened the door to smaller firms wanting to take on the big names in town... a robust pro bono program is a criterion for inclusion on the LSMUL, while equal employment opportunities and workplace culture are often taken into consideration.
    6 of 20
  • It's a wrap! ... Making pro bono a career
    21 July 2015 read more >
    A winner of the 30 Under 30 Pro Bono category turned a passion for volunteering into a full-time job. At just 29, Kara Cook is the principal solicitor of the Women's Legal Service, a Brisbane organisation that provides free legal advice to women ... Lawyers at major firms can also have a significant impact on the pro bono sector, as proved by the other category winners, Philippa Macaskill from King & Wood Mallesons and James Johnston from Ashurst.
    7 of 20
  • Injustice to Indonesia on the radar for ALA
    21 July 2015 read more >
    The Australian Lawyers Alliance will broaden its scope to address federal government violations against Indonesian communities, its new president has announced ... In an exclusive interview, Mr Phelps (recently elected by the lobby group) told Lawyers Weekly the ALA will continue to push improving personal injury statutes around Australia, but also intends to embrace international human rights causes.
    8 of 20
  • The Man Behind The Morcombes
    20 July 2015 read more >
    Peter Boyce is a family man with a strong sense of community, an interest in pro bono work and a fascination with David and Goliath court cases. When he joined forces with Bruce and Denise Morcombe to investigate their son Daniel's disappearance, his cross-examinations during the coronial inquest played a crucial role in finally bringing the case to a close.
    9 of 20
  • US: Signal International Workers Get Pro Bono Help
    20 July 2015 read more >
    It's not often that bankruptcy lawyers who specialize in advising on big-ticket restructurings can apply their expertise in pro bono matters. But when Signal International Inc. filed a [...] petition July 12, several firms negotiated a $20 million settlement on behalf of the more-than 200 Indian workers who said the company lured them to work in Mississippi with false promises of U.S. residency and then exploited them after Hurricane Katrina.
    10 of 20
  • UK: Pro bono: Taking advantage by John Bolch [blog]
    20 July 2015 read more >
    Amongst a number of recommendations, a report by think tank ResPublica, proposes the introduction of a mandatory "pro-bono obligation as part of the professional obligation of all lawyers"... Under the obligation, lawyers would have to dedicate ten per cent of their "output" to pro bono work, although lawyers on very low incomes, such as those doing legal aid work ... only have to give five per cent of their "output".
    11 of 20
  • US: Lawyer Who Fostered 29 Kids Has Helped Hundreds More Into Permanent Homes
    20 July 2015 read more >
    Fostering 29 children is no simple feat, but for a lawyer in Kansas, providing a home for more than two dozen kids over the years was the relatively easy part. He's also helped more than 1,000 kids find permanent homes by using his legal knowledge to help foster parents adopt - for free.
    12 of 20
  • Migrant worker lured to Australia, held captive in restaurant for 16 months
    19 July 2015 read more >
    A man trafficked from India under a sham 457 visa arrangement was held in conditions "akin to slavery" for 16 months, a Sydney court has heard ... David Hillard, Pro Bono Partner at Clayton Utz and the lawyer who took on the civil case for Mr Ram's unpaid wages, said the victim was controlled through intimidation and threats, forced to work and treated as property. Dulo Ram lived, ate and slept in the kitchen of Mand's Indian Restaurant in Eastwood, NSW, working 12 hours a day, seven days a week, enslaved by the restaurant's owner.
    13 of 20
  • Want legal advice? Don't ask Siri: upstart web service opens law access
    16 July 2015 read more >
    The ambitious aim of the tech start-up, LawAdvisor, is to develop a new mindset where people are attracted to lawyers to help with legal problems as soon as they arise ... Under the model, clients can ask a legal question free of charge. A lawyer in the relevant practice area will provide an answer. More than one might answer; others might simply "approve" the answer, giving it a boost in ranking. That answer will then be available to any other who has the same query.
    14 of 20
  • US: Pro Bono and Law Firm Mergers
    16 July 2015 read more >
    Law firm mergers are booming, with new combinations being announced at a record pace ... Mergers involve many complicated and moving pieces ... and can create anxiety and tension. It is important that pro bono does not get lost in the shuffle and that firms think carefully about how to sync different pro bono cultures, policies, staffing and governance structures, priorities, budgets, projects, and more.
    15 of 20
  • The American Lawyer Names 2015 Global Legal Award Winners
    15 July 2015 read more >
    The American Lawyer on Wednesday announced the results of its third annual Global Legal Awards contest ... After an Alabama shipbuilder defeated a human trafficking class action, an extraordinary team of 12 firms ... filed individual suits. Their first verdict, equating to about $750 million in deterrence on a classwide basis, earns our Global Pro Bono Dispute of the Year. The "lifetime" pro bono honoree is Shearman & Sterling for its support of the Rwanda criminal tribunal. For 15 years the firm has effectively operated an office in Arusha, with 136 lawyers contributing over 55,000 hours to build an edifice of international criminal law.
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  • UK: Oi lawyers - do more free work, demands think tank
    15 July 2015 read more >
    A leading political thinker-cum-Anglican theologian thinks the legal profession should spend up to 10% of its time on pro bono. A left-of-centre think tank has called on lawyers to do more work for free as the 'it's a business' approach to practice 'undermines the profession's vocation and can grievously harm its ethics'.
    17 of 20
  • Fifteen years on, Allens pro bono sticks to winning strategy
    15 July 2015 read more >
    After taking out the pro bono award at the first Lawyers Weekly Australian Law Awards, Allens has kept to a tried and true formula. At the first Australian Law Awards ceremony in 2001, Allens precursor Arthur Robinson Hedderwicks won the pro bono category for its partnership with the Fitzroy Legal Service in Melbourne. Today, as submissions are open for the 15th awards, head of pro bono Nicky Friedman said partnerships remain at the core of Allens' pro bono practice.
    18 of 20
  • UK: 'Force lawyers into pro bono' - think tank
    14 July 2015 read more >
    Lawyers should be obliged to work pro bono to help tackle the crisis in public confidence in the legal profession, a think tank report recommends. The Westminster-based independent group ResPublica says that the teaching, legal and medical professions have all suffered harm to their reputations in recent years. The solution, is for pro bono work to become mandatory for all lawyers as part of their professional obligation.
    19 of 20
  • HECS-style scheme for lawsuits would improve access to justice, says Professor Stephen Parker
    13 July 2015 read more >
    A HECS-style scheme to fund civil lawsuits could improve access to justice and instill confidence in democracy, a Canberra academic says. Professor Parker, the University of Canberra vice-chancellor, said debate around the access to and quality of justice had stagnated in modern Australia. In a bid to rekindle debate on the issue, Professor Parker, in an opinion piece, has proposed a HECS-style system to fund civil court matters.
    20 of 20

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 >


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.

read more >


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.

read more >


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