Australian Pro Bono Centre

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Current News

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  • New Panel To Strengthen Pro Bono Contributions And Support Gender Equality (press release)
    1 July 2015 read more >
    Attorney-General Martin Pakula today announced the new Victorian Government Legal Services Panel will include a minimum pro bono contribution from participating private law firms of 10 per cent (up from 5 per cent). The new Panel will strengthen pro bono legal services, support gender equality in the legal profession, and provide new opportunities for small and medium law firms across Victoria.
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  • UK: Top firms wary of Gove's 'richest pay' plan
    29 June 2015 read more >
    Suggestions from the lord chancellor that the 'richest' in the legal system should plug the gap in provision created by cuts to legal aid have met with a cool reception among City lawyers... The Gazette understands that Gove is considering both mandatory pro bono work and a financial levy on City lawyers. 'All options are open', a close source said. But City lawyers pointed out that many firms already undertake much pro bono work and that few City lawyers have the skills to replace publicly funded legal aid.
    2 of 20
  • Firm pays for pro bono lawyer to tackle family violence
    29 June 2015 read more >
    Gadens and Colin Biggers & Paisley are financially backing a part-time policy lawyer at Women's Legal Service Victoria (WLSV) to contribute to the Royal Commission into Family Violence. The lawyer ... will work three days a week on legal policies needed to tackle violence against women and children across Victoria."[This position] will increase WLSV's capacity to undertake policy work by more than 60 per cent at a critical time for achieving change in relation to family violence," said WLSV chief executive Joanna Fletcher.
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  • Make visible what is invisible: ABA president
    26 June 2015 read more >
    Disruptive lawyers can expose injustice by 'shining a light into dark places', but legal battles are becoming increasingly difficult to win in the present political climate. That is the story that emerged from a panel discussion at the National Access to Justice and Pro Bono Conference hosted in Sydney last week. During the event, prominent solicitors and barristers were invited to speak on the topic 'Disruptive and dynamic lawyers: the gatekeepers of justice'.
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  • US: First Pro Bono Scholars Admitted to the Bar
    25 June 2015 read more >
    The first class of Pro Bono Scholars, a program that allows 3L students to spend their final semesters of law school working in the field, was sworn in this week to each of the state's four appellate division departments. The program has 106 participants statewide ... Law students who qualify are allowed to take the bar examination ... and then work for 500 hours over 12 weeks for groups providing legal services to the indigent. Provided they pass the bar exam and complete the program's requirements, the participants can be sworn in just after graduation - up to one year earlier than classmates.
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  • UK: Justice secretary told pro bono 'no substitute' for legal aid
    23 June 2015 read more >
    The Law Society has urged justice secretary Michael Gove not to rely on pro bono to plug gaps in the justice system created by legal aid cuts. Gove said the government planned to ask the 'very richest in the justice system to do a little bit more' to fund the court system. The Gazette understands the lord chancellor is open to the idea of both pro bono work and financial contributions from City lawyers.
    6 of 20
  • UK: Lawyers respond to Lord Chancellor's 'One Nation' justice policy
    23 June 2015 read more >
    Plugging the legal aid gap with pro bono is unsustainable as a long-term solution. An attention-catching speech by the new Lord Chancellor has failed to elicit celebratory cheers from the legal profession. Michael Gove's first public speech outlined his proposals for reform of the justice system, including a review of the court estate, the introduction of new technology solutions, and a call for more pro bono services from lawyers.
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  • Arts depend on pro bono lawyers
    23 June 2015 read more >
    Without the pro bono assistance from individual lawyers, law students and many law firms Arts Law would not be able to deliver the services and vital guidance it provides to artists and arts organisations. Established as an independent national legal centre for the arts, the not-for-profit company specialises in legal advice across all art forms, together with targeted services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists through its Artists in the Black program.
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  • New data puts spotlight on legal aid underfunding
    23 June 2015 read more >
    National Legal Aid (NLA) has found that the nation's governments spend just six cents per person, per day on legal aid commissions. The figure was revealed by NLA chair Gabrielle Canny at the National Access to Justice and Pro Bono Conference held in Sydney last week. She said the figure highlights the chronic underfunding of legal aid and the federal government's failure to heed warnings of a crisis in the sector.
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  • CANADA: Adverse Costs in Pro Bono Litigation: the SCC Weighs In
    22 June 2015 read more >
    ... In 2011, the trial judge awarded him $5.8 million, including $440,000 for the value of the legal services provided by his pro bono lawyers. The trial judge relied on the Ontario Court of Appeal's decision in 1465778 Ontario Inc v 1122077 Ontario Ltd, in which the Court held there is no prohibition on an award of costs in favour of pro bono counsel, even in private actions (Bennett Jones' Jeffrey Leon was counsel to the Advocates' Society).
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  • US: Law Journal Seeks Nominations for Pro Bono, Public Service
    22 June 2015 read more >
    The New York Law Journal is soliciting nominations for Lawyers Who Lead by Example, public service-minded attorneys who have made an outstanding contribution to their community by working toward improving the courts, the laws or the profession, and/or by providing free legal services to low- and moderate-income New Yorkers.
    11 of 20
  • Go professional on pro bono, firms urged
    19 June 2015 read more >
    Effective pro bono programs require a strategic approach, including a dedicated pro bono team within the firm, says a DLA Piper partner. Nicolas Patrick, who heads DLA Piper's international pro bono practice, believes most lawyers are willing to do community work, but many firms rely on ad hoc programs lacking oversight or strategy
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  • The business of doing good
    18 June 2015 read more >
    The ethical foundations of pro bono work don't stop it being of enormous commercial value to law firms. Pro bono is the only practice area where having too many clients is a problem. Or is it? With the steady growth of pro bono practices across Australian and international law firms, it would be naive to think these benevolent enterprises do not serve the financial self-interest of the businesses.
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  • Pro bono becomes full-time vocation
    17 June 2015 read more >
    A winner of the 30 Under 30 pro bono category turned a passion for volunteering into her career. 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 on family law or domestic violence matters. Ms Cook joined the organisation as a full-time lawyer in 2012, being promoted to principal solicitor in 2013.
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  • US: Put Lawyers Where They're Needed
    17 June 2015 read more >
    Millions of Americans lack crucial legal services. Yet enormous numbers of lawyers are unemployed. Why can't the supply of lawyers match the demand?... We must help law students graduate without a ball and chain of debt. And we need to create jobs that let new graduates practice law either pro bono or "low bono" (cut-price) for clients who can't afford most attorneys' rates.
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  • LIBERIA: Liberia, the Magna Carta, and the Rule of Law
    17 June 2015 read more >
    On June 15, thousands of people from around the world descended on a field in Runnymede in the United Kingdom to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta... How can pro bono attorneys contribute to the vision being discussed and celebrated this week? One answer is rule of law themed pro bono projects, particularly in post-conflict countries. A noteworthy example is a recently completed project in Liberia, in which Thomson Reuters Corporation teamed up with Linklaters and the nonprofit organization Lawyers Without Borders (LWOB).
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  • Exclusive: Salvos launches new practice with senior hire
    17 June 2015 read more >
    A former group head and partner at a national firm has been recruited by Salvos Legal to help achieve its ambitious growth target. Guy Betar, a former Sparke Helmore partner who set up the firm's IP/IT legal services group in Sydney, has joined Salvos to drive a new IP and technology practice.
    17 of 20
  • Lawyer at all-gay firm resigned to long engagement
    16 June 2015 read more >
    'Out and proud' LGBTI firm Dowson Turco [...] recently threw their support behind a transgender woman who was physically assaulted in Newtown ... "[We] approached the victim ... to offer our services on a pro bono basis," ... The firm also volunteers lawyers to work pro bono with the Inner City Legal Centre, supports the New Theatre in Newtown, the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, Animals Australia and Amnesty International.
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  • US: For Kidnapping Survivors' Lawyers, A Pro Bono Case Like No Other
    11 June 2015 read more >
    The end of a decade of abuse and imprisonment for Amanda Berry and her fellow victims sparked joy, disgust, relief and endless questions. Among them: How could they ever put their lives back together after such an ordeal? ... Lawyers James "Jim" Wooley and Heather Kimmel joined in the nation's shock at [their] harrowing escape from a decade of crime and captivity inside what would become known as Cleveland's 'house of horrors.'
    19 of 20
  • US: DC Appeals Court Rejects Challenge to Convictions in 1984 Murder - Pro bono attorneys from some of D.C.'s biggest firms represented defendants.
    11 June 2015 read more >
    Thirty years after a jury in Washington found a group of young men guilty in the fatal beating of 48-year-old Catherine Fuller, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals on Thursday rejected efforts to toss out the convictions.
    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).

read more >


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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