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  • In pro bono, size should not matter
    20 August 2014 read more >
    DLA Piper's Nicolas Patrick told guests at the Lawyers Weekly Law Awards that Aboriginal people still face discriminatory laws and mid-tier firms need to be more involved in pro bono. "I was described by one of the trainees in the London office this week as the woofy, poofy, hippy lefty pro bono partner, and consistent with that, I am going to start off by acknowledging the traditional owners of this land, the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation."
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  • Passion for human rights pays off
    19 August 2014 read more >
    A passion for pro bono work and human rights bore fruit for King & Wood Mallesons' Liam Burgess, who walked away with this year's Pro Bono Award, proudly sponsored by Negocio Resolutions. Burgess thanked his firm and his colleagues when he accepted the award at this year's Lawyers Weekly Law Awards... "I would like to thank King & Wood Mallesons for their generosity in providing the resources and sometimes the courage to make this kind of work possible, and to all the other firms here that do these same sorts of things," he said.
    2 of 24
  • Leap of faith pays off
    15 August 2014 read more >
    Salvos Legal has been lauded for its innovative firm model that engenders a spirit of collaboration and a sense of social justice among its lawyers. The four-year-old firm won the coveted Law Firm of the Year Award, proudly sponsored by CTPartners, in the face of tough competition from global firms Herbert Smith Freehills and Squire Patton Boggs, and national firms Gilbert + Tobin, Hall & Wilcox and Maurice Blackburn.
    3 of 24
  • US: Lawyers urged to rise above US politics
    15 August 2014 read more >
    The US Chief Justice John Roberts has asked the USA's lawyers to 'rise above particular partisan debates' and help the population maintain faith in the legal system... 'Lawyers fulfill their professional calling to its fullest extent when they rise above particular partisan debates and participate as problem solvers, whether through the ABA's committees, through pro bono work, through public service or simply by helping the public understand the nature of the role that courts play in civil life, a role distinct from that of the political branches.'
    4 of 24
  • Legal stars shine light on what is possible
    11 August 2014 read more >
    Two pro bono pioneers [Salvos Legal and Nicolas Patrick] and one of the most important figures in Australia's international arbitration movement were among those honoured at this year's Lawyers Weekly Australian Law Awards... King & Wood Mallesons also won two awards: The Senior Associate Award and The Pro Bono Award, proudly sponsored by Negocio Resolutions.
    5 of 24
  • Legal advocates help make community policing fair
    11 August 2014 read more >
    A group of young legal professionals has seen how strategic litigation together with public interest advocacy and law reform work can improve the lives of local communities, through participation in a project with the Flemington & Kensington Community Legal Centre. The Police Accountability Project is an innovative public interest initiative which has an educational web portal, the first resource in Victoria that deals with police accountability law.
    6 of 24
  • NIGERIA: Legal Aid Council to enforce pro bono service as basis for appointment of SAN
    10 August 2014 read more >
    It will no longer be possible for any lawyer who has not successfully prosecuted cases for poor and indigent citizens on pro bono (or free of charge) to be confirmed as Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN). This is the new position the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria (LACON) is planning to insert as part of a major reform of the Nigerian justice and judicial sector in a planned amendment of the Legal Aid Act of 2011.
    7 of 24
  • George Brandis under pressure as report points to inadequate funding for legal services [paywall]
    8 August 2014 read more >
    Attorney-General George Brandis is under pressure to inject more money into legal aid and community legal centres and index future funding to ensure it keeps pace with demand, following the release of a major report on the sector. The report, by Allen Consulting, finds that funding for legal assistance services is inadequate to meet the government's own objectives and any efficiencies to be found would not be enough to cover the funding shortfall.
    8 of 24
  • Salvos Legal goes corporate
    7 August 2014 read more >
    Salvos Legal has poached a senior in-house lawyer to head its first commercially-focused office. Salvos Legal opened an office in Newcastle on Monday. Former CBRE senior lawyer Jeranne Kosviner will head the office and, initially, she will be the only permanent lawyer on the ground."I am not at all daunted," Kosviner told Lawyers Weekly. "I am really looking forward to starting the practice up there and really building something."
    9 of 24
  • US: White House implores allies to provide pro bono legal services to illegal immigrant children
    7 August 2014 read more >
    The White House pressured its allies to provide pro bono legal aid to unaccompanied minors today. With Congress out of session and legislation to provide emergency funding to immigration agencies stalled, the White House is leaning on immigration advocates to help provide legal services to immigrant children going through deportation proceedings.
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  • US: Biden makes plea to U.S. lawyers for pro bono help on migrant crisis
    6 August 2014 read more >
    U.S. Vice President Joe Biden made an impassioned plea to U.S. law firms on Wednesday to free up attorneys to help deal with the surge of Central American children who have entered the country illegally by providing more pro bono representation. At the end of a meeting with about 60 people - some from white-collar law firms, others from nonprofit organizations who work with immigrants - Biden urged lawyers to step up and help deal with a backlog of court cases for tens of thousands of children from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.
    11 of 24
  • Ashurst on the hunt for pro bono chief as Anne Cregan quits [paywall]
    1 August 2014 read more >
    Ashurst has begun a worldwide search for a new global pro bono head after respected Australian partner Anne Cregan quit her post less than a year after she was appointed to the role. Ms Cregan was seen as one of the biggest winners of the merger between Ashurst Australia and its British counterpart, taking over responsibility for the firm's international pro bono activities.
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  • Ashurst loses global pro bono head to Gilbert + Tobin [paywall]
    1 August 2014 read more >
    Ashurst has begun the hunt for a new global pro bono head following the departure of Anne Cregan for Gilbert + Tobin. Cregan, considered a pro bono heavyweight, has joined the Australian firm as a special counsel. She took on the global role at Ashurst last year following the merger of the UK-headquartered firm and Blake Dawson. Ashurst has appointed Sydney-based Australia banking and finance chief Ray Mainsbridge as Cregan's replacement on an interim basis.
    13 of 24
  • ACT legal services struggling to cope with funding cuts
    1 August 2014 read more >
    Community legal services in the ACT have warned they are facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in shortfalls due to federal funding cuts... Canberra law firm Farrar Gesini Dunn contributes volunteer solicitors to the Women's Legal Centre... There is a push for law firms to increase their pro bono work, but it is not considered a long term solution. "It cannot be a substitute to government funding," Ms Bolton said.
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  • US: Immigrant Children Get Pro Bono Assist
    1 August 2014 read more >
    Lawyers from the biggest U.S. firms are stepping up to help the tens of thousands of unaccompanied immigrant children fleeing violence of Central America. Their work has ranged from assisting individual children in navigating the immigration system to lobbying state and federal governments. Some of the attorneys come from firms with little or no immigration expertise, and their efforts have transcended geographical and political divides.
    15 of 24
  • US: Nonprofits Understaffed to Train Law Firms Representing Immigrant Children: Attorney
    1 August 2014 read more >
    As the border crisis continues to spark debate, Los Angeles-area law firms and nonprofits looking to increase free legal services to immigrant children are finding themselves in need of more resources. California Attorney General Kamala Harris hosted a meeting in LA last week to ask major private law firms to donate hundreds of hours of pro bono legal assistance to represent unaccompanied children in immigration court.
    16 of 24
  • CHINA: Chinese Journalist, Environmental Lawyer Win Ramon Magsaysay Award
    1 August 2014 read more >
    ... Public interest lawyer and environmental law expert Wang Canfa is being given the [Ramon Magsaysay Award] for "his discerning and forceful leadership - through scholarly work, disciplined advocacy, and pro bono public interest litigation," the awarding body said. Wang has ensured "that the enlightened and competent practice of environmental law in China effectively protects the rights and lives of victims of environmental abuse, especially the poor and the powerless," it said.
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  • UGANDA: Lawyers should embrace pro bono service
    31 July 2014 read more >
    Pro Bono service is quite often considered a selfless act of providing uncompensated legal services for the public good. In Uganda, the term Pro Bono is used to describe professional legal aid work undertaken voluntarily and without payment or at a low cost to vulnerable or underprivileged persons. Historically, a certain segment of the legal profession felt responsible to ensure equal access to the legal system in the hope that justice would not become a concept that was simply bought and sold.
    18 of 24
  • Exclusive: G+T poaches Ashurst pro bono partner
    30 July 2014 read more >
    Ashurst's Australian pro bono head Anne Cregan has quit the global firm to join Gilbert + Tobin. Cregan has been a partner at Ashurst since 2007. She is joining G+T as a special counsel, and is due to start with the firm in November. Cregan will join a team of five dedicated pro bono lawyers at G+T. The firm's pro bono group is led by partner Michelle Hannon.
    19 of 24
  • Aussies beaten by Kiwis in major law index
    30 July 2014 read more >
    Australia has come out in the top ten in a far-reaching survey that measures the justice systems of 99 countries - but it failed to beat its Kiwi counterparts. The World Justice Project Rule of Law Index 2014 is a 200-plus page research paper that aims to portray the rule of law as seen through the eyes of those who use the justice system around the world.
    20 of 24
  • US: Texas lawyers line up to help flood of young migrants
    27 July 2014 read more >
    Law firms, corporate legal departments and bar associations across Texas have started pro bono projects to represent Central American children flooding across the border. But Nathan Hecht, chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court, said last week that many more in the legal profession need to step up. Hecht said it will take hundreds or even thousands of volunteer lawyers to guarantee that cases involving the unaccompanied children are handled quickly and fairly under the law.
    21 of 24
  • CU and The Hunger Project Australia celebrate court win giving greater tax certainty to fundraising charities [media release]
    23 July 2014 read more >
    Leading independent Australian law firm Clayton Utz has secured a significant win for our client The Hunger Project Australia before the Full Federal Court, paving the way for not-for-profit organisations that are engaged in fundraising activities to seek endorsement as public benevolent institutions.
    22 of 24
  • UK: A call to alms: international firms are uniquely placed to lead major pro bono projects
    23 July 2014 read more >
    DLA Piper's Tony Angel on why international law firms have huge responsibilities when it comes to pro bono work. Earlier this month I returned from Bangladesh, where I visited the UNICEF-funded child justice projects DLA Piper is supporting to help protect some of the country's most vulnerable children.
    23 of 24
  • Lending a free hand
    18 July 2014 read more >
    Launching multiple pro bono initiatives at the Australian Government Solicitor (AGS) helped a senior lawyer and pro bono manager notch up a nomination for The Pro Bono Award. Geetha Nair is one of six people who have been nominated in the category for this year's Lawyers Weekly 2014 Australian Law Awards. Geetha has worked with AGS for 20 years, and has been working as a pro bono manager for two years.
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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.

read more >

 

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.

read more >

 

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.

read more >

 

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.

read more >

 

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.

read more >

 

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).

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Sixth Annual National Pro Bono Aspirational Target Report released

9 October 2013

According to the Sixth Annual National Pro Bono Aspirational Target Performance Report, an average of 33.7 hours of pro bono legal work per lawyer was done in the last financial year by signatories to the Target compared to the 34.2 hours per lawyer reported in 2011/2012. Collectively, the reporting signatories provided 294,329 hours of pro bono legal work in 2012/2013 which is over 70,000 more hours than it was two years ago.

 

The Report found that the pro bono performance of signatories improved the longer they had been signatories. Law firms that had been signatories for at least three years averaged 42.7 pro bono hours per lawyer, compared with those firms that had been signatories for at least one year that averaged 35.9 hours per lawyer and the average of all reporting signatory firms (33.6 hours per lawyer).

read more >

 

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National Pro Bono News: Issue 91 (August 2014)
The Use of Video Conferencing Technology to Provide Pro Bono Assistance to Self-Represented Litigants in RRR Australia
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
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