Often pro bono lawyers deliver expert legal services at a distance from community lawyers. It is not unusual to see pro bono lawyers independently operating legal clinics based in CLCs such as drop-in night clinics to provide initial legal advice. Alternatively, referrals in areas outside CLC practice are made to the firms and there is little to no contact maintained by the CLCs and their clients.
IMCL and Clayton Utz have taken a different, more hands-on approach – one that builds capacity within IMCL itself. The firm’s commitment to mentoring IMCL lawyers is reflected in the intensity of the resources it has dedicated to the partnership. Clayton Utz lawyers collaboratively run ongoing cases involving actions like Fair Work claims and negotiating settlements, accompanying IMCL lawyers to conciliations and providing real-time strategic and procedural advice.
Clayton Utz Senior Associate Ruth Thevathasan worked with IMCL graduate lawyer Hannah Fessah on Ashika’s case. While Ruth, as an experienced lawyer from her firm’s Workplace Relations, Employment and Safety team, took the lead in the provision of legal advice, Hannah facilitated the connection with Ashika and brought to the table her understanding of the intricacies of community lawyering.
Working with Ruth gave Hannah the opportunity to rapidly upskill in this new practice area.