PRO BONO IN THE NEWS: May – June 2016
Below you can find articles of interest to the pro bono community that have been published since our last edition (Issue 109, May 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
- Winners of the 30 Under 30 announced
27 June 2016 – Lawyers Weekly
Some of Australia’s brightest rising stars have been recognised at the annual Lawyers Weekly 30 Under 30 awards. The awards celebrate lawyers under 30 achieving outstanding results across 10 practice areas. The winners in the Pro Bono category, presented by Speech Processing Solutions, were Sharell O’Brien (North Queensland Women’s Legal Service), Sara Bozana Lane (Ashurst) and Justine Autour (Colin Biggers & Paisley).
- US: Exclusive Survey: Pro Bono Rankings
27 June 2016 – The American Lawyer
Hughes Hubbard & Reed leads The American Lawyer’s list of top Big Law firms for U.S. pro bono commitment, and Dechert beats other firms its for international pro bono work, according to our latest survey. The rankings are a shakeup of last year’s list; some firms say that they made a determined effort to improve, while others found themselves inundated with billable work.
- Funded legal assistance sector crucial to pro bono work
24 June 2016 – The Australian
This is an open letter from the pro bono partners at the nation’s leading law firms. Our concerns have been echoed in the Law Council of Australia’s #LegalAidMatters campaign and Community Law Australia’s #FundEqualJustice campaign. The Productivity Commission observed that not providing legal assistance for unresolved civil problems for low-income and disadvantaged people is a false economy, as the costs of unresolved problems are shifted to other areas of government spending.
- US: South Asian Bar Pro Bono Award
20 June 2016 – New York Law Journal
The South Asian Bar Association of New York held its first public sector reception on Wednesday at Jones Day, where Neena Dutta of the Dutta Law Firm was named pro bono attorney of the year for her contributions to the South Asian and Central American communities, particularly women and children facing issues of immigration detention.
- Australian Pro Bono Centre says that Legal Aid Matters [media release]
17 June 2016 – Australian Pro Bono Centre
The Centre has written to the Commonwealth Attorney-General to support NACLC’s submission, that requests the Commonwealth reverse the $34.83 million cut to CLCs over 2017-2020; and implement the Productivity Commission’s recommendation for an immediate injection of $120 million per year additional funding into the legal assistance sector. As always, the Centre noted that pro bono legal assistance cannot be a substitute for government-funded legal assistance services.
- Jonathon Hunyor appointed new PIAC CEO [media release]
17 June 2016 – Public Interest Advocacy Centre
PIAC is delighted that Jonathon Hunyor will be the new CEO, replacing Edward Santow, who is leaving the organisation on 30 June to become the Australian Human Rights Commissioner. Jonathon comes to PIAC from the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency, where he has been the Principal Legal Officer for more than six years. He was previously the Director of Legal Services at the Australian Human Rights Commission and has worked as a lawyer with the Central Land Council in Alice Springs and the NT Legal Aid Commission in Darwin.
- Legal advice and a nice cuppa
17 June 2016 – Byron Shire News
Veteran lawyer Johnathan De Vere Tyndall is … offering free legal advice to people who lack the funds to pay for it. And it’s provided in a stress-free setting – over a cuppa at a local café. Jonathan opened his Pro Bono Café law office in 2009 and this year is making himself available for two days to anyone who turns up at Harvest Café in Newrybar. Last financial year Jonathan’s firm contributed more than 188 hours in free legal work, helping people with a wide variety of legal issues.
- US: Southern District proposes mandatory pro bono program
15 June 2016 – The Indiana Lawyer
Flooded by pro se litigants and under pressure from the appellate circuit to provide attorneys, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana is proposing the adoption of a mandatory pro bono program to supplement its volunteer pool. Many of the pro se complaints have been filed by prisoners who are asserting civil rights or medical claims that entail extensive discovery and many motions.
- Tasmanian lawyers out in force to oppose legal aid funding cuts
15 June 2016 – ABC News
On the steps of the Supreme Court in Hobart Tasmanian lawyers dressed in wigs and adorned gowns to spell out “Equal Justice” on their backs. Participants included barristers from the Tasmanian Bar and solicitors from private firms. Chair of Community Legal Centres Tasmania (and Australian Pro Bono Centre Board member) Jane Hutchison said the Federal Government was looking to cut 30 per cent from the legal assistance sector in the financial year beginning July 2017.
- A New League Of ‘Barefoot Lawyers’ Will Transform Justice In The Next 15 Years
15 June 2016 – Forbes
For the average person, a lawyer may conjure up the image of a professional in a buttoned-down jacket straight out of the legal drama, Suits. But not to Nadim Hossain, a local pharmacist in the city of Khulna, Bangladesh. One of 300,000 Urdu-speaking Bangladeshis settled in a refugee camp set up by the Red Cross in 1971, Hossain’s attempts to apply for a bank loan to lift his family out of poverty details a long struggle for justice. It was an unlikely aide – a ‘barefoot lawyer’ that helped him successfully obtain a trade license for a loan.
- US: Mass Shooting in Orlando Spurs Call for Pro Bono
13 June 2016 – Bloomberg Law
After a lone gunman entered a gay nightclub in Orlando and massacred 49 people over the course of several hours this past weekend, lawyers and Big Law firms are taking a look at gun control laws and figuring out how they can get involved. Late on Sunday evening, Paul Weiss’ chair Brad S. Karp, drafted and sent an email to the firm’s employees about the tragedy. “Today’s events, like so many prior horrific incidents, also call into question our nation’s gun laws,” Karp wrote in the email, which was obtained by Big Law Business from a source who requested anonymity. “Many of you have approached me in recent weeks and suggested we exercise our pro bono muscle and consider litigation promoting sensible gun control.”
- How pro bono can help you land a Biglaw training contract and develop as a solicitor
9 June 2016 – Legal Check
As training contract application season commences, Legal Cheek Careers caught up with Norton Rose Fulbright newly qualified associate Jonathan Iyer. He told us about his pro bono work following a recent appearance in a graduate recruitment video for the firm’s Facebook page which contains some essential insights for students.
- US: New Online Platform Seeks to Make Getting Citizenship Easier
9 June 2016 – Law.com
In a ground breaking effort to make it easier and cheaper for immigrants to apply for citizenship, the first free online platform was launched Thursday to guide applicants through the process. Called Citizenshipworks, the $1 million project is a joint effort by the Immigration Advocates Network and Pro Bono Net, which provides technical support to legal services groups for the poor. The site will allow applicants to fill out naturalization forms themselves, and direct those with more complicated cases to free or low-cost lawyers.
- Celebrating the extraordinary pro bono contributions to Australia’s arts communities [media release]
8 June 2016 – Arts Law Centre of Australia
Arts Law awarded a limited edition print specifically commissioned for the Arts Law Awards, awarded to the 34 lawyers and professionals who made a significant pro bono contribution to Arts Law’s clients – the artists and arts organisations of Australia. In addition to presenting the awards, Arts Law also launched their Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).
- US: PBI Announces National Leadership Committee for the Esther F. Lardent Fund for Innovation in Pro Bono
8 June 2016 – Metropolitan Corporate Counsel
Pro Bono Institute (PBI) today announced the members of its Esther F. Lardent Fund for Innovation in Pro Bono National Leadership Committee. The committee consists of prominent leaders in the legal community . PBI’s Board of Directors launched the Fund in 2015 to further the legacy of PBI Founder Esther Lardent. Lardent focused her 45-year legal career on fighting for civil rights and access to justice issues through cutting-edge, innovative, and unprecedented programs that leveraged the resources of law firms and in-house legal departments to promote more impactful pro bono.
- US/UK: DLA Piper wins Pro Bono Programme of the Year at the Transatlantic Legal Awards [media release]
8 June 2016 – DLA Piper
DLA Piper has been recognised by The ALM, publisher of The American Lawyer and Legal Week, with the 2016 “Pro Bono Programme of the Year” award. The firm received this honour at the Transatlantic Legal Awards held in London on 7 June 2016. The prestigious awards ceremony honours the best legal work conducted between the United States and Europe. DLA Piper received this award in recognition of its signature project: ‘Upholding the Rights of Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Stateless People’.
- Firm hosts art auction to support remote legal centre
7 June 2016 – Australasian Lawyer
Artists and art centres across the Northern Territory are supporting the Environmental Defenders Office with an Indigenous art auction. Last year, the office faced imminent closure … but painting donations saved the centre. Gilbert + Tobin came on board this year, hosting the auction at the firm’s new Barangaroo office. G+T has focussed on Indigenous matters in pro bono work and in the firm’s CSR programme. “We [have] strong relationships with many Indigenous communities and workers across Australia – we were approached by EDONT through our connections,” pro bono partner Michelle Hannon told Australasian Lawyer.
- Pro Bono Partner Puts Firm Focus on Service
3 June 2016 – Law Week Colorado
Pro bono partners are becoming more common for large law firms looking to integrate charitable legal services into their overall work. Having a lawyer dedicated to running the pro bono program is an efficient way to train attorneys and ensure that its pledge of 50 hours per attorney is met each year. The program is also proving to have business benefits as well as younger attorneys get to expand their practice and learn the legal skills they might not otherwise gain.
- US: NY Lawyers Flock to Campaign for Clemency in Drug Cases
1 June 2016 – New York Law Journal
New York lawyers in fields as diverse as real estate and retirement law are immersing themselves in a national pro bono campaign to help federal drug offenders win early release from prison. Marjorie Peerce, a partner at Ballard Spahr, states that “The bar has stepped up, not just the big firms, but your small firms and your solos. To me, it is the largest pro bono initiative in the history of American jurisprudence. You have thousands of pro bono lawyers across the country who are participating, many who have never touched a criminal case before.”
- INTERNATIONAL: IBA Pro Bono Award 2016 – seven nominees shortlisted [media release]
23 May 2016 – International Bar Association
Following a large number of entries to this year’s IBA Pro Bono award, sponsored by LexisNexis, once again reflecting the great pro bono work done worldwide, the judging panel selected seven nominees to be advanced to the next round. These include Robert Reed, Special Counsel at Minter Ellison in Brisbane, founding member of QPILCH and board member of the Australian Pro Bono Centre.
STORIES IN THIS ISSUE:
AUSTRALIAN PRO BONO NEWS