Articles of interest to the pro bono community from September - October 2010. Click through to read any news article in full.
Pro bono helps alleviate poverty
17 October 2010 - Lawyers Weekly
The National Pro Bono Resource Centre has released a report detailing instances where pro bono legal work has in some cases stopped clients from being homeless. The Stories of Pro Bono Lawyers Alleviating Poverty report was launched by the director of the Resource Centre, John Corker, to coincide with Anti Poverty Week 2010 from 17 to 23 October.
Disabled woman sues bus company
15 October 2010 - Sydney Morning Herald
A wheelchair-bound woman suing a bus company for discrimination says her action is a fight for justice. Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) lawyer Chris Ronalds SC, representing Ms Haraksin pro bono, said her client was not seeking any compensation in the case. "She is pursuing the matter entirely as a public interest matter," Ms Ronalds told the court.
UK: First National Pro Bono Centre to launch
13 October 2010 - Family Law News
The first ever National Pro Bono Centre (NPBC) is set to open formally on Tuesday 19 October at its new premises at 48 Chancery Lane, in the heart of the legal community. The centre draws together the main legal profession's charities, the Bar Pro Bono Unit, LawWorks and the ILEX Pro Bono Forum.
Run-down legal centre inaccessible to those most in need
13 October 2010 - Northcote Leader
Darebin Community Legal Centre is desperately searching for funds to move from its unsafe headquarters in Preston, but pleas to all levels of government have attracted little support. Centre administrator Maria Georgiou said it urgently needed to move to another Preston site because its High St premises were unsafe, overcrowded and “thoroughly inadequate” for clients, volunteers and staff.
UK: Clifford Chance places value on pro bono efforts of £17m a year
13 October 2010 - Legal Week
Clifford Chance (CC) has estimated the value of its pro bono activities last year at £17m - breaking convention among City firms by defining the value of its non-profit efforts. The figure is contained in CC's 2010 Corporate Responsibility Report, which estimates the value based on 57,071 hours invested by its lawyers and 2,274 invested by its non-legal staff in community and pro bono efforts.
Justice sought in Bowraville murders
6 October 2010 - The Coffs Coast Advocate
A FORMER Bowraville resident may become the first person to be re-charged under changes to double jeopardy law which came into force in 2006. The new legal push by the three victims' families is being assisted by The Public Interest Law Clearing House, a senior counsel and international law firm Allens Arthur Robinson, working on a pro bono basis.
Many don't know rights says Footscray legal centre
2 October 2010 - Maribyrnong Leader
REFUGEES, unaware of their rights and assistance services, are increasingly bearing the burden of debt and poor housing conditions, Footscray Community Legal Centre has said. The centre last week established two new free services to help asylum seekers and refugees living or working in the West with general issues such as fines, debt, insurance, divorce, family violence, Centrelink and housing.
UK: Legal Aid scheme ruled unlawful
30 September 2010 - BBC News
The tendering process for the Legal Aid scheme for family law cases is unlawful and must be changed, the High Court has ruled. The Legal Services Commission, which runs the 2.2bn scheme in England and Wales, has cut the number of firms able to offer legal aid from 2,400 to 1,300. The Law Society argued the scheme used was so flawed it threatened to create "legal aid deserts" around the country.
Wauchope solicitor in line for top gong
30 September 2010 - Wauchope Gazette
Local solicitor David Lakin, from J.M. Glass and Son, has been nominated for a Pro Bono Partnership Award as part of this year's 2010 Justice Awards. In July 2003 Mr Lakin saw a need for pro bono legal advice in Wauchope, and approached the Wauchope Information and Neighbourhood Centre. He has been delivering free legal advice through the WINC office every fortnight for the past seven years.
UK: CC litigation partner made chairman at pro bono organisation A4ID
29 September 2010 - Legal Week
Clifford Chance (CC) litigation partner Roger Leese has been named chairman of pro bono organisation Advocates for International Development (A4ID). A4ID acts as a broker between law firms and developing countries that require legal assistance, to aid their international development, trade programmes and debt situation.
Legal Aid client base grows in Brimbank
28 September 2010 - Keilor, Taylors Lakes & Sydenham Star
More than 4000 Brimbank residents are flocking to Legal Aid each year, the highest rate in metropolitan Melbourne. Between 2009-2010, Legal Aid lawyers in Brimbank reported a 7.3 per cent surge in Civil Law clients seeking advice, while 2.5 per cent less people approached lawyers on criminal matters.
I was framed for murder, says Mallard
27 September 2010 - ABC News
The man wrongfully convicted of murdering WA woman Pamela Lawrence says he still suffers abuse from members of the public who think he is "some sort of psycho". In 1995, Andrew Mallard was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in jail. He served 12 years in prison until the combined efforts of a journalist, politician and a team of high-profile, pro bono lawyers finally saw him exonerated.
Animal law out of the cage
24 September 2010 - The New Lawyer
It's official. After many years floundering in the back of the classroom and the hallways of numerous top tier law firms across Australia, animal law has arrived. Several years ago, Professor David Weisbrot AM, then-President of the Australian Law Reform Commission, foreshadowed this event by announcing that "animal protection may potentially be the next great social justice movement."
USA: Forced Pro Bono: But is it Legal?
21 September 2010 - The Wall Street Journal
The Mississippi Supreme Court is considering a proposed rule to require lawyers to provide at least 20 hours of pro bono work. The rule has been proposed to try to help the thousands of low-income residents who can not afford a lawyer in civil matters. If Mississippi does adopt mandatory pro bono, could it be legally challenged? We checked in with a few wise legal elders who see no problem.
USA: Mississippi lawyers may have to provide free aid to poor
19 September 2010 - The Clarion-Ledger
The Mississippi Supreme Court is reviewing a proposal that would require lawyers to provide at least 20 hours of free service each year. The suggestion has raised the ire of some lawyers. Jackson County Bar Association President Jessica Dupont said members do what they can to help the poor and resolve to do more. "However, a mandatory pro bono rule would be unfair and demeaning to the legal profession."
Free legal service for women victims in the Hunter
16 September 2010 - Lakes Mail
The NSW Attorney General was in Toronto court to announce that women in Toronto and districts will have access to free legal advice and legal representation to obtain Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders. Newcastle, Belmont, Maitland and Cessnock have similarly been added to the 17 courts in NSW now offering the service under the NSW Government's Stop The Violence End The Silence initiative.
Council wants legal centre in Canterbury
14 September 2010 - Canterbury-Bankstown Express
Canterbury Council is aiming to start a partnership with Sydney law schools in a bid to secure a legal centre for residents after it elected to suspend talks with Marrickville Legal Centre (MLC). Canterbury needs provision of free legal services as much as Marrickville, Cr Furolo, Mayor of Canterbury said. We should be working with agents such as law schools to establish a legal centre.
Mick Young Scholarship trust torn apart by factions
14 September 2010 - Sydney Morning Herald
Factional fighting among trustees has raised questions about the Trust's viability. At the heart of the row are legal expenses for proposed changes to its constitution, believed to total over $30,000 already. This has angered some trustees due to the size of the bill and the decision to use commercial lawyers, who are charging several hundred dollars an hour for work that could potentially be available pro bono.
Canada: Cycling lawyers to pedal free advice
9 September 2010 - The Province
About 50 lawyers recently cycled from the Vancouver Courthouse to Victory Square, where they offered a day's worth of pro-bono legal advice to the needy. The ride was in memory of Dugald Christie, the founder of the Western Canada Society to Access Justice, who was struck and killed by a minivan in 2006 while on a cross-country bike ride to raise awareness about cuts to legal-aid funding.