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Current News

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  • US: The Global Lawyer: Pro Bono Law in an Anti Bono Land
    19 November 2014 read more >
    I went to the European Pro Bono Forum this month expecting to be welcomed with open arms as an emissary of America's expansive pro bono culture. I found London's pro bono leaders suspicious of efforts to boost pro bono, and hostile to the American model. With good reason. America gives the poor generous pro bono relief in the bombed-out ruins of the state's retreat from legal services.
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  • UK: Pro bono is great education for law students, but they shouldn't fill gap left by legal aid cuts
    19 November 2014 read more >
    Law students are doing more pro bono work than ever before. In 2014, 70% of all UK law schools now provide free legal services to individuals, groups and organisations. According to the latest LawWorks Law School Pro Bono and Clinic report, this was up from 46% of law schools in 2006 and 61% in 2010.
    2 of 20
  • "Lawyer in a Bus" launches [media release]
    18 November 2014 read more >
    Today, Justice Connect's seniors law team launch an exciting new project - Lawyer in a Bus. Older Australians face a number of legal issues, and Justice Connect's Seniors Law team have developed a new way to offer help. Lawyer in a Bus is a program designed to bring legal support directly to older Australians experiencing legal difficulty. The kinds of challenges facing these people include elder abuse, relatives spending their money or selling their property without permission, being pressured to sign important documents without understanding them, and even physical threats and abuse.
    3 of 20
  • UK: UK and US firms launch pro bono commitment
    12 November 2014 read more >
    A group of 20 UK and US firms with a presence in London have launched a collective pro bono commitment, with an estimated 10,000 UK fee-earners signed up to a 25-hour annual target. The group launched its plan during last week's annual pro bono season.
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  • US: Law School shuts down pro bono legal clinic
    12 November 2014 read more >
    Closure attributed to budget constraints due to declining attendance. The downtown Lewis & Clark Legal Clinic, a source of pro bono legal services for low-income Portlanders since 1971, will close on Jan. 1, 2015. The Clinic was run by legal clinicians and law students enrolled in externships through the law school. It created a mutually beneficial relationship between LC and the community: students received practical law experience; low-income Portlanders received help with legal issues including child support modifications, domestic violence cases and tax controversies.
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  • Pressure mounts on Brandis to release justice report
    12 November 2014 read more >
    A showdown is looming between the Abbott government and members of the legal profession over the findings of a new report on community access to justice. A peak law body has called on Attorney-General George Brandis to release the findings of a Productivity Commission inquiry which recommends the government reverse funding cuts to community legal centres. The commission's report was completed in September but may not be released until next year, despite intense interest in its recommendations from the legal profession and consumer advocates.
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  • UK: Monthly pop-up family probono clinic launched at 1MCB
    10 November 2014 read more >
    A monthly pop-up pro bono family law clinic was launched at 1 Mitre Court Buildings (1MCB) last week. Dubbed Pop-Up@1MCB, the clinic was set up in response to the all-time high demand for pro bono advice following the government's cuts to legal aid, which have excluded thousands of the country's poorest and most vulnerable people from accessing justice, particularly in the areas of housing, immigration, welfare rights and criminal law, which most effect family cases
    7 of 20
  • Brandis rewrites funding for community lawyers
    10 November 2014 read more >
    Community legal centres around Australia may soon receive less funding from the Abbott government. Few people would realise that some of Australia’s most important legal protections for borrowers and investors have flowed from policy research and advocacy done by community legal centres. Dispute resolution schemes in the mortgage broking sector and the ban on home loan exit fees are just two such reforms. However, the work of many community legal centres across Australia might soon change, with the Abbott government now demanding that taxpayer funds not be used for policy and advocacy activities.
    8 of 20
  • UK: Golden age of pro bono: retired lawyers make a difference [paywall]
    6 November 2014 read more >
    Keeping senior lawyers brings benefits for pro bono clients and the firm retains a wealth of knowledge and expertise. After years of timesheets and billing, many lawyers cannot wait to sail into the sunset of retirement and enjoy a well-earned break. In reality though, lawyers enjoy being busy and can find it difficult to make the transition directly from busy-corporate-partner to the imagined bliss of full retirement.
    9 of 20
  • UK: As demand for pro bono assistance soars the Bar is answering the call for the most vulnerable: The Bar Pro Bono Unit reports on the past 18 months
    5 November 2014 read more >
    The Bar Pro Bono Unit is a national charity that match-makes members of the public who cannot afford a barrister and cannot obtain legal aid with barristers happy to volunteer their services free of charge. The Unit makes it possible for barristers to balance a dedicated practice with making a significant contribution to the community.
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  • US: TrustLaw Generates $54 Million Worth Of Free Legal Support For Global Nonprofits
    4 November 2014 read more >
    The Thomson Reuters Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the world's biggest news and information provider, announced today that TrustLaw has generated $54 million worth of free legal support globally for nonprofit organizations and social enterprises in its first four years. The announcement, made by CEO Monique Villa at the annual TrustLaw Awards Ceremony, confirms the rapid growth and expansion of the program
    11 of 20
  • Tasmania: New Legal Aid chair, review announced
    4 November 2014 read more >
    Tasmania's Legal Aid Commission has a new chairman. Justice Minister Vanessa Goodwin announced this morning that Hobart-based Lawyer Patrick Lunn had been appointed to the position which was vacated by previous chair Peter Worrall. The government also announced an independent review of the commission, to be headed up by former Tasmanian Supreme Court Judge, the Honorable Peter Evans.
    12 of 20
  • UK: Can't afford to do pro bono work? We can't afford not to
    4 November 2014 read more >
    This week marks the 13th annual National Pro Bono Week. It is 18 months since the legal aid cuts arising from the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 were implemented. Everything the legal profession predicted has come to fruition: parents prevented from spending time with their children are unable to get legal advice, victims of domestic violence are cross-examined by their abusers, and courts are grinding to a halt due to a disturbing rise in litigants in person.
    13 of 20
  • Head of free online law encyclopaedia wins prestigious award
    3 November 2014 read more >
    The 2014 Justice Medal has been awarded to the architect of the Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII). Andrew Mowbray, professor of law and information technology at the University of Technology Sydney, was recognised for his 25-year commitment to making legal information freely available online... The Pro Bono Partnership Award was presented jointly to the parties responsible for the Lawyers in Schools program and to a partnership between Youth Off The Streets and Baker & McKenzie, which aims to deliver legal advice to young people with large debts.
    14 of 20
  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
    18 of 20
  • Law Foundation release new report: Reshaping legal assistance services
    28 October 2014 read more >
    This report draws on more than a decade of empirical research evidence - together with current experience of service providers - to inform the design and delivery of efficient and effective legal assistance services. Written as a tool for policy makers, practitioners, service managers and researchers, the report highlights the key directions for reform suggested by research evidence, and identifies the benefits and challenges of different service options. Acknowledging current arrangements and resources, the report provides a basis for considering how to move from the theory to the practice of client-centred service delivery.
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  • 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.
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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.

read more >


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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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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hot topics
National Pro Bono News: Issue 93 (November 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
Law Firm Directory

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