Want to Get Involved?
Here are a few ways that you can get involved. For more information on how to get involved at the start of your career check out Social Justice Opportunities:
• Find out if your organisation has a pro bono program. If not, set one up.
Your organisation may have program through which lawyers can to do pro bono work. Your organisation may encourage lawyers to provide pro bono assistance at a Homeless Persons Legal Clinic or community legal centre.
If your firm does not have a pro bono program, go and talk to a senior lawyer or manager about unmet legal need in your community.
The types of assistance that may be provided include advice and representation for disadvantaged clients, outreach services, secondments, community legal education and law reform activities.
For help planning, developing or maintaining a pro bono program, see the Pro Bono Manual. The Manual provides advice, precedents and background information for organisations and individuals with who are seeking resources and ideas about pro bono.
• Volunteer at a community legal centre (CLC)
CLCs rely on pro bono volunteers to supplement and support the work of paid CLC staff. Volunteers are crucial to the survival of CLCs. See www.clcvolunteers.net.au for current opportunities.
• Volunteer with the Aboriginal Legal Service
For more information, contact the Aboriginal Legal Service in your state.
• Volunteer as a duty solicitor or duty barrister
Some courts have volunteer duty solicitors and barristers to assist clients at the court. For more information, contact the law society or bar association in your state.
• Join the Young Lawyers Committee in your state
If you are either under 30 or have recently been admitted you can get involved in community education and law reform on human rights issues and the rule of law. Please refer to the website of your state/territory's law society for more information.
• Are you retired or having a break from your career?
If so, volunteering at a community legal centre (see above) may be the best option. The Centre released a report in February 2010 into 'Engaging Retired and Career-Break Lawyers in Pro Bono,' after undertaking a research project in relation to "... if, and how, retired and career-break lawyers could be encouraged to become involved in pro bono legal work." This report can be downloaded as a PDF or Word document.
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