The third edition of The Australian Pro Bono Manual: A practice guide and resource kit for law firms is the first hard copy edition of the Manual published in 11 years. Like its previous editions, it is designed as a practical ‘how to’ guide for establishing and developing a law firm pro bono program. As the intervening 11 years have demonstrated, well-structured law firm pro bono programs can make a significant contribution to addressing unmet legal need and facilitating access to justice.
The first edition of the Manual was the result of a recommendation of the National Pro Bono Task Force in 2001 to develop a best practice handbook that would provide detailed practical advice to law firms and legal practitioners on topics ranging from promoting a pro bono culture to risk management.
The Manual is primarily directed to firms that either do not have, or are in the process of establishing or developing, a pro bono program. Some of the resources will also be of use to firms and individuals as a best practice reference. Cross-referencing is used to identify other relevant chapters in the Manual and its companion publication, Pro Bono Partnerships and models: A Practical Guide to What Works.
Part 1 of the Manual outlines the issues that firms and pro bono coordinators should consider when planning, developing and maintaining a program: for example, policy issues to consider, different models of pro bono legal work and how to identify needs and sources of work.
Part 2 addresses the procedural and practice issues that firms and pro bono coordinators should consider in relation to the management and delivery of pro bono legal services, such as casework procedures and risk management.
Part 3 gives information about the key organisations in the Australian legal assistance sector and their relevance to a law firm’s developing pro bono practice.
Part 4 addresses frequently asked questions about developing a pro bono legal practice.
Appendix 1 provides a number of precedents that firms can adapt to suit their own requirements and use in the development of their own pro bono practice.
Appendix 2 contains the Australian Pro Bono Centre’s recently developed Best Practice Guide, which sets out the standards to which a firm’s pro bono program should aspire.
To facilitate access, both locally and overseas, this edition of the Manual is also available online to LexisNexis subscribers1 and on the Centre’s website (where you are reading it now). The Centre will update its website version with any significant developments that occur prior to the next hard copy edition.