Below you can find thirteen articles of interest to the pro bono community that have been published since our last edition (Issue 104, November 2015). 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
Law Access ‘safety net’ legal service under pressure from funding cuts, says chairman Matt Keogh
10 December 2015 – Perth Now
A legal service of last resort for cash-strapped West Australians is anticipating an increased demand as government-funded services struggle to keep up. Law Access acts as a pro bono “safety net” for people Legal Aid doesn’t have the resources to service because of continued funding restrictions. Law Access chairman and Labor candidate for the new federal seat of Burt, Matt Keogh, said the service had received double the usual number of applications for assistance in the past year.
Legal sector makes sustainability leap
4 December 2015 – The Australasian Lawyer
The Australian Legal Sector Alliance has released its 2015 Legal Sector Sustainability Insight, revealing encouraging results across environmental and people sustainability… AusLSA general manager Richard Jennings told Australasian Lawyer that aside from the economic benefits for firms, employee and client expectations are driving firms to make changes.
SA lawyers offer free legal assistance to bushfire victims
30 November 2015 – Lawyers Weekly
The legal community of South Australia has activated an emergency plan to provide immediate free legal aid to people affected by fires. A major fire in the north of Adelaide killed two people and injured 19 last week, leaving 35 homes in ruins and 42 damaged. In response to the bushfire, the legal community activated an Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Plan on Thursday.
CLC ethos permeates industry
24 November 2015 – Lawyers Weekly
Almost 40 years after the first community legal centre in NSW was established, the CLC spirit has infiltrated other sectors of the industry as pioneers take on roles in different organisations … Simon Moran, senior manager in financial services/credit enforcement at ASIC [stated] that the CLC “ethos has permeated through government and also pro bono work that firms undertake. CLCs have developed over time and its influences have gone well beyond just the clients that come in the door.”
Outstanding contributions from Law Award finalists [media release]
16 November 2015 – Australian Human Rights Commission
Legal professionals providing pro bono support to those in need have been recognised as finalists in the [Australian Human Rights Commission’s] 2015 Human Rights Awards… The finalists of the 2015 Law Award are the Colin Biggers & Paisley Foundation, Aboriginal Legal Service NSW / ACT Custody Notification Service, Genevieve Bolton, Luke Geary, Refugee Advice and Casework Service (RACS).
Law students fight for the freedom of man accused of murdering Melbourne lawyer
14 November 2015 – The Age
A lawyer gunned down outside his office. A mentally impaired former client who is found guilty of murder, but says he’s innocent. Law students and an experienced barrister fighting to free him. It sounds like a Hollywood script. But it’s been more graft than glamour for the Monash University students working on the case of John Glascott. Their efforts, alongside Barrister Alan Hands, culminated in an application for leave to appeal before the High Court earlier this year.
Legal aid offered at court
19 November 2015 – Cape Argus
All litigants who appear in the Western Cape High Court without legal representation will have access to top-class legal representation when the Motion Court Pro Bono project is launched. The Cape Bar Council will launch the project, which will mean an attorney and advocate will be available at the court … the idea came after it was realised that many litigants go unrepresented and struggle with the complex legalities they face.
2015 European Pro Bono Awards [media release]
23 November 2015 – PILnet
On November 12 PILnet announced the recipients of this year’s European Pro Bono Awards in a ceremony held as part of the 9th Annual European Pro Bono Forum. DLA Piper and its European Signature Project, together with the firm’s NGO partners received the Exemplary Partnership in the Public Interest Award, and A&L Goodbody, alongside the Irish Refugee Council, received the newly established Award for Local Pro Bono Impact.
Incredible Pro Bono Week stories show huge impact that lawyers can make
12 November 2015 – Legal Cheek
Last week, lawyers up and down the country took time to celebrate the invaluable work done for free across the profession at 2015’s National Pro Bono Week (NPBW). A legal service is provided pro bono, meaning ‘public good’, when it is done for free – and there are endless examples of good causes that lawyers can get involved in … In 2014-2015, the total number of pro bono hours worked by private practitioners was 2.1m, the financial value of which is estimated at GBP 592m.
Pro Bono Goes Global
11 December 2015 – Stanford Social Innovation Review
Some big law firms are venturing into developing regions to offer voluntary services and to help advance the rule of law. In the US legal profession, it is a well-entrenched principle that lawyers have an ethical obligation to provide pro bono legal services to poor clients… But outside the United States and a handful of other countries, including Australia and the United Kingdom, the practice of pro bono has been slow to emerge within legal circles.
Big Law & Pro Bono Work: ‘It’s Shameful’
4 December 2015 – Bloomberg
“The nation with the highest concentration of lawyers does such a poor job of making them available to those who need them most,” said Deborah Rhode, the author of “The Trouble with Lawyers.” In the third and final part of our video interview series with Rhode, the Stanford Law School professor calls out the largest U.S. law firms for not doing enough pro bono work.
Seeking Support, Pro Bono Group Publishes Inaugural Annual Report
2 December 2015 – The American Lawyer
The Association of Pro Bono Counsel, a membership organization for lawyers who hold full-time positions managing pro bono practices at large law firms, is seeking to promote its message and work. Nearly 10 years after its formation, the New York-based nonprofit recently published its first-ever annual report, which became available online Wednesday. The report celebrates APBC’s growth from a 60-member association in 2006 to more than 155 members today.
Too many lawyers? Not in D.C.
27 November 2015 – The Washington Post
Lower-income residents who don’t qualify for free legal aid but can’t afford lawyers suffer devastating consequences in court. One possible solution gaining momentum: “low-bono” legal services, where lawyers charge affordable fees to work for those who can’t afford the District’s average rate of $250 per hour but who make a little too much to qualify for legal aid. While pro-bono work is offered for free, the low-bono models provide adequate financial support for attorneys.