Below you can find articles of interest to the pro bono community that have been published since our last edition (Issue 107, March 2016). Click through to read any news article in full.
You can also follow the latest news in pro bono from Australia and around the world by following the Centre on Twitter: @AusPBC
- Grads unaware of importance of pro bono
29 April 2016 – Lawyers Weekly
Students must understand the importance of pro bono work and access to justice before they commence practising as a lawyer, one pro bono director has said. Colin Biggers & Paisley’s director of pro bono and responsible business, Daniel Creasey, told Lawyers Weekly that lawyers are crucial to achieving access to justice and students need to be aware of this.
- Australian pro bono market shows signs of growing up
27 April 2016 – Lawyers Weekly
While Australian firms are at a “different stages of maturity” in their development of pro bono, the Australian market has been recognised as one of the world’s strongest pro bono cultures. According to the Australian Pro Bono Centre, the provision of legal pro bono services has enjoyed a strong tradition in Australia, with law firms beginning to adopt a structured approach to the practice about 20 years ago.
- Funding announced for pro bono legal service
27 April 2016 – Australasian Lawyer
New South Wales Family and community minister Brad Hazzard has announced $825,000 in funding for not-for-profit legal organisation Justice Connect. The Department of Family and Community Services will provide $275,000 a year for three years. “This funding will allow Justice Connect to provide around 200,000 not-for-profit community groups in NSW with free, online, up-to-date legal information; low cost training and a free telephone inquiry service,” Hazzard said.
- USA: Garland, Mum on Nomination, Urges Lawyers to Close Justice Gap [paywall]
21 April 2016 – The National Law Journal
… As [Chief Judge Merrick Garland] finds himself at the center of a political maelstrom surrounding his nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, he’s largely avoided public appearances, let alone speaking engagements. But on Thursday morning, Garland spoke. Noting the more than 122,000 D.C. residents who live at or below the poverty line, he urged the city’s lawyers to do more to close the access-to-justice gap… He praised law firms that met a benchmark of having at least 40 percent of firm attorneys perform at least 50 hours of pro bono service in the past year.
- USA: SC will develop ‘legal portals’ to help people find civil legal services
19 April 2016 – ABA Journal
The Legal Services Corp. announced on Tuesday that it is developing online “legal portals” to help people who need civil legal help find the most appropriate forms of assistance. The project will begin with pilot portals in one or two states, according to a press release and the Am Law Daily. Microsoft Corp. is donating at least $1 million to the program and is providing technical support and project management. Pro Bono Net, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing access to justice, will help assemble local partners.
- CANADA: Valuable lessons come from working for free
18 April 2016 – Canadian Lawyer
Jennifer Hunter, barrister, reflects on the valuable lessons during her 10 years at the bar. Pro bono work, Ms Hunter highlights, is an ‘important cornerstone’ of the legal profession, and ‘part of the duty that we have … [and] an important tradition. … Pro bono work should [also] be done for its inherent benefit to the community and those clients who otherwise might not be able to access our courts and, consequently, justice’. Pro bono work is also able to give lawyers the opportunity to change their perspective and gain important practical experience.
- UK: LawWorks & Attorney General Student Awards 2016 [media release]
17 April 2016 – LawWorks
The tenth annual LawWorks & Attorney General Student Awards will take place on Thursday 28th April 2016… The Awards will celebrate the best pro bono activities undertaken by law students and law schools, and the positive impact that those activities have had on those who have been assisted.
- USA: After Founder’s Death, Pro Bono Institute Names New Leader
15 April 2016 – The American Lawyer
The Pro Bono Institute announced Friday that Eve Runyon will serve as its new president and CEO, following the death of the group’s founder and longtime leader Esther Lardent on April 4. Runyon joined the Pro Bono Institute in 2005 and was previously its director of corporate pro bono. She led the development of the Corporate Pro Bono Challenge, which requires companies to ensure that at least half of their in-house attorneys do pro bono work.
- SOUTH AFRICA: Pro bono key to fighting corruption in South Africa
14 April 2016 – African Law & Business
A former South African Constitutional Court judge has called for lawyers to use pro bono work to challenge the government and work towards the greater good. Speaking at an event hosted by South African law firm Bowman Gilfillan at its Johannesburg headquarters, Justice Zac Yacoob said a willingness to take on the government was critical to tackling corruption and maintain a democracy.
- A Tribute to Esther Lardent 1948 – 2016
8 April 2016 – Australian Pro Bono Centre
The Board and staff of the Australian Pro Bono Centre pay tribute to Esther Lardent, the legendary founder and president of the Pro Bono Institute who passed away on Monday 4 April 2016. Her contribution to the development of the pro bono movement globally was monumental. Esther was an exceptional leader who provided inspiration, enthusiasm, support, advice, encouragement, guidance, and so much more, to so many. She will be sadly missed.
- USA: ‘Queen of Pro Bono’ Esther Lardent Dies at 68
5 April 2016 – ABA Journal
Esther Lardent, known as the “queen of pro bono,” died Monday. She was 68 years old. A tireless advocate for volunteer legal work, she founded the Pro Bono Institute in 1996 and served as its president until last year, when her health forced her to step down, the National Law Journal (sub. req.) reports.
- UK: Trafficking victims win review
25 March 2016 – New Law Journal
The Ministry of Justice is to conduct a review of Legal Aid provisions for trafficking victims, granted by the High Court. The review is to identify whether there are barriers to advice and assistance, the causes of these and what steps should be taken, after the Anti-Trafficking and Labour Exploitation Unit (represented pro bono by Shu Shin Luh, Gaden Court Chambers) argued that victims were not able to access legal advice and assistance to bring claims.
- Third Aboriginal community takes legal action against Northern Territory over poor housing
24 March 2016 – The Guardian
A third Aboriginal community has joined legal action against the NT government over the state of its housing. Residents of Larapinta, claim they had been waiting up to a year for some repairs, which the department has a responsibility to make within 14 days. Larapinta joins legal action already taken Santa Teresa and Papunya. The residents are being represented by a pro bono legal group, Australian Lawyers for Remote Aboriginal Rights Ltd, and the Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Service.