Mediate, don't litigate: Kirby (The Australian, 30 July)
The National Pro Bono Resource Centre has suggested retired High Court judge Kirby could encourage retired judges to turn to provide pro bono mediation services.
Environmental law handbook updated (ABC, 30 July)
The Environmental Defender's Office, a community legal centre, has released 1,000 copies of the second edition of its ACT Environmental Law Handbook.
Lin family pleads for some answers (Sydney Morning Herald, 30 July)
Daniel Sheen is representing the relatives of the murdered Lin family pro bono.
Justice grants to boost legal services for vulnerable Queenslanders (Queensland Government website, 29 July)
Queensland Attorney-General Cameron Dick today announced almost $1.5 million in Bligh Government justice grants to support some of Queensland’s most vulnerable people, including three grants to QPILCH for its pro bono referral services, rural regional and remote project, and self-representation civil law service.
Do ‘not knock’ (The Star, 28 July)
Maribyrnong City Council will send ‘Do Not Knock’ stickers to local households after Footscray Community Legal Centre released a report that found many door-to-door salespeople, including energy companies, were getting African migrants and residents from other non-English speaking backgrounds to sign contracts they didn’t understand.
Lawyers see strong case for Medicare-style rebates (Brisbane Times, 28 July)
NSW lawyers want the Federal Government to subsidise legal services for working families under a Medicare-style scheme. People with legal problems who did not qualify for legal aid or pro bono services could visit a participating firm and get written advice for a fixed fee paid by the Government.
Funding debate heats up (Australian Financial Review, 24 July)
A Senate committee inquiry into access to justice has stirred up long-standing frustrations on the inadequacy of legal aid and community legal centre funding.
Supporting Access to Justice in Launceston (A-G’s website, 23 July)
Attorney-General Robert McClelland opened the new premises of the Launceston Community Legal Centre.
Minter Ellison wins second prize in National Pro Bono Short Film competition (In Business SA, 17 July)
A team of budding young moviemakers from Minter Ellison has won second prize in this year's National Pro Bono Resource Centre’s short film competition.
Homeless people being forced back out on the streets by Council closing Boarding House! (Seeking Media, 16 July)
Darren Yandle, who wants to provide crisis accommodation, says the Environmental Defenders Office had referred his case against Council to the Public Interest Legal Clearing House (PILCH) for pro-bono representation but they were unable at the last minute to find a firm to take on the case.
Lawyers flee legal aid 'in droves' (The Age, 16 July)
John Digby, QC, chairman of the Victorian Bar Council, said that expert criminal lawyers were abandoning legal aid work in droves as those working in the magistrates courts struggled to make a living on a $36,000 wage. Since 2005, the number of barristers working on criminal cases funded by legal aid had dropped by 26 per cent.
A law unto themselves (The Mercury, 15 July)
Devonport firm partner Cath Church said lawyer numbers were at crisis point and her firm did a lot of legal aid and pro bono work.
Pro Bono Case Produces First Substantial “Pro Bono Costs Order” (Bar Council website, 14 July)
UK lawyers who acted pro bono to save a family from eviction of their home of 20 years obtained the first large Section 194 “pro bono costs order”, requiring the losing party to pay £20,000 to the Access to Justice Foundation to support yet more pro bono.
Desmond Tutu's advice to lawyers (The Guardian, 14 July)
Desmond Tutu has urged lawyers to contribute to global development through pro bono work.
Maimed pensioner pursues excessive force rail authority (WA Today, 14 July)
A pensioner maimed when arrested by Perth train station railway guards is seeking a pro bono lawyer to help him sue the Public Transport Authority.
PIS backs Timbercorp fighting fund (Investor Daily, 13 July)
Clarendon Lawyers, which is acting for the Timbercorp Growers Group, estimated it would need around $300,000 to continue the case and it could no longer provide services pro bono.
Rural lawyer shortage 'to get worse' (Weekly times Now, 9 July)
A national Law Council survey shows that regional Australia faces a potential dearth of lawyers, with more than 40 per cent of country practitioners saying they do not intend to be in the profession in five years. The survey showed 71 per cent of practices took part in unpaid volunteer work, while 64 per cent regularly undertook pro-bono work.
Chat line addict asks court to lift guardian order (The Courier Mail, 9 July)
An elderly man who lost the right to handle his own financial affairs for making hundreds of calls to sex chat lines is taking his fight to regain control of his life to the Supreme Court and has been supported by advocates from Carers Queensland and pro bono lawyers appointed by the Queensland Public Interest Legal Clearing House.
Crusading NT lawyer dies with swine flu (Northern Territory News, 7 July)
Prominent Darwin lawyer and past President of the NT Law Society, Ian Morris, the first NT person to die with swine flu, is described as having done, “an awful lot of pro bono and free work for people who desperately needed a lawyer but couldn't afford one.”
Bushfire legal help handbook now available (Victorian Legal Aid website, 3 July)
The Bushfire legal help handbook – a guide to the law for people affected by the February 2009 Victorian bushfires is the result of collaboration between Bushfire Legal Help partners including staff from Victoria Legal Aid, Public Interest Law Clearing House, Law Institute of Victoria, members of the Federation of Community Legal Centres and the private profession.
A means to protect public interest (The Australian, 3 July)
The Public Interest Law Clearing House says average Australians routinely abandon their pursuit of justice because our user-pays system of litigation favours the rich.
Inmate wins DNA fight in Gold Coast murder of Michelle Cohn (Courier Mail, 3 July)
After seven years of lobbying by the Griffith University Innocence Project, which employs students to examine cases under the direction of pro bono lawyers and academics, the State Government has agreed to let DNA evidence used to convict Shane Davis for a 1990 murder be re-tested.
Establishment of a trial legal clinic for homeless people in the ACT (The Word, 2 July)
Senator Kate Lundy welcomes the A-G’s announcement of one-off funding for legal services including a trial clinic for homeless people in the ACT.
Push to tackle ‘slumlords’ (The Full Story, 2 July)
PILCH’s Homeless Persons Legal Clinic is supporting a coalition of peak welfare agencies challenging the Victorian Government to take on a growing number of ‘slumlords’ who are operating unsafe, overcrowded and often squalid private rooming houses and exploiting thousands of the state’s most vulnerable citizens.
Launch of the international pro bono advisory group (A-G’s website, 1 July)
The Attorney-General has launched the International Pro Bono Advisory Group to promote international pro bono work by Australia’s legal profession and identify links with the Government’s international development assistance programs.
Seismic shifts in big law (Lawfuel.com, 1 July)
AmLaw’s annual list of top US law firms uses four measure: revenue per lawyer, commitment to pro bono, diversity among lawyers, and associate training and satisfaction. The formula gives more weight to the first two factors, doubling a firm's scores for revenue per lawyer and pro bono.
The American Lawyer’s July Issue Profiles Continued Pro Bono Growth (euroinvestor, 30 June)
Annual survey results from The American Lawyer show that Am Law 200 firms logged a record 5.57 million pro bono hours in 2008 - a 15 percent increase from 2007. At a blended hourly rate of $300, The Am Law 200 provided roughly $1.67 billion in free legal services.