PRO BONO IN THE NEWS: February – March 2017
Below you can find articles of interest to the pro bono community that have been published since our last edition. 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
Parking ticket robot lawyer now aids refugees
16 March 2017 – The Australasian Lawyer
Joshua Browder, the 20-year-old student who created DoNotPay, has yet again expanded the capabilities of his robot lawyer to aid refugees.
Former chief justice Robert French to lead access to justice inquiry
10 March 2017 – The Australian
The Law Council of Australia has recruited former Chief Justice Robert French to lead a year-long project aimed at identifying the impediments to access to justice.
‘This is breaking people’: visa deadline stress strains asylum services
9 March 2017 – The Guardian
Thousands of lawyers, paralegals and interpreters across Australia have responded to new deadlines imposed upon asylum seekers to apply for protection, volunteering their time and expertise to help people at risk of being left destitute or deported. … At Melbourne’s Asylum Seeker Resource Centre alone, volunteer lawyers, paralegals and interpreters worked 26 hours at the weekend to lodge applications for asylum seekers facing looming cut-off dates. Volunteers at Sydney’s Refugee Advice and Casework Service have been working 18-hour shifts while Australia’s legal fraternity has volunteered hundreds of hours of pro bono assistance.
Vulnerable at risk as community legal centres face ‘funding cliff’
6 March 2017 – The Sydney Morning Herald
He started by impersonating her. Amanda’s abusive ex-partner would intercept her emails and text messages and send replies to her bosses to sabotage her at work.
The lawyer battling with the Burmese judiciary
27 February 2017 – The Equal Times
Robert Sann Aung receives visits in the middle of drying laundry and heaps of files. Dishes are piled up in the kitchen sink. The lawyer, one of the most famous in Burma (officially known as Myanmar), uses this cluttered apartment as an office. … His clients have often suffered the same prison conditions and deprivations of liberty as him. They include journalists, farmers whose land has been expropriated, students battling against the army and police. He defends them all pro bono. “I don’t ask them to pay. Most of the activists in Burma are poor,” he explains to Equal Times.
More cash for legal centres? There’ll be pain without it
24 February 2017 – The Australian Financial Review
Even corporate law firms agree community legal centres need more funding. Can they convince the federal government?
Legal assistance to be made easier in Vic
22 February 2017 – Lawyers Weekly
A new online tool to help Victorians access legal assistance is set to be rolled out by two bodies.
US: Trump budget eliminates Legal Services Corp. funding
16 March 2017 – ABA Journal
President Donald Trump’s 2018 budget eliminates funding for the Legal Services Corp. In his first budget proposal released Thursday, Trump is cutting discretionary spending to pay for an increase in defense spending and the wall on the Mexican border.
US: Law students plan to spend spring break representing immigrant families pro bono
7 March 2017 – ABA Journal
Law students at Southern Methodist University aren’t going far from the school’s Dallas campus this spring break. In fact, their destination is about five hours away: The Karnes City Family Detention Center, southeast of San Antonio.
US: Law students object to proposal to bar UNC’s pro bono legal work
3 March 2017 – WRAL
Students of the University of North Carolina School of Law protested Thursday against one of their own alumni who wants to shut down the school’s pro bono legal center.
US: Paralegals and Legal Staff: Make a Difference Through Pro Bono
23 February 2017 – Legal by the Bay Blog
Most nonprofit organizations are in need of lawyers but rarely ask specifically for assistance from legal support volunteers. While there is no rule or law in California, or nationally, requiring paralegals and legal staff to volunteer, there is abundant literature in the field that makes the case for such work.
UK: Founding pro bono charter signatories revealed
21 February 2017 – The Law Society Gazette
Pro bono should be seen as part of a coordinated strategy to boost access to justice, the Law Society has said, revealing the 21 founding signatories of its landmark charter.
STORIES IN THIS ISSUE:
AUSTRALIAN PRO BONO NEWS