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
- Celebrating the Community Lawyer of the Year [press release]
23 May 2016 – Justice Connect
The announcement that Lucy Adams, manager and principal lawyer of Justice Connect’s Homeless Law service, was co-winner of the Community Lawyer of the Year Award at this year’s Law Institute of Victoria Awards was recognition of her outstanding talent and dedication… Lucy highlighted that, together with pro bono partners, Homeless Law provided an intensive level of legal representation to … the most vulnerable members of the Victorian community. “One of the impacts of that work is that we were able to prevent 139 people being evicted into homelessness and experiencing the hardship and social dislocation that homelessness inevitably brings with it”.
- UK: My career story: “I qualified and became my firm’s pro bono manager”
23 May 2016 – The Lawyer
Rebecca Naylor was a trainee at Reed Smith until she qualified in March 2016. During the second year of her training contract she was also the firm’s pro bono manager for the Europe, the Middle East and Africa, a job she took on full time upon qualification. She spoke with Richard Simmons about her career trajectory so far, and her plans for the future.
- Lander & Rogers partners with Warmun Art Centre for Aboriginal art exhibition [press release]
18 May 2016 – Lander & Rogers
Lander & Rogers collaborated with their Arts Law Centre partner, Warmun Art Centre, to hold a fundraising exhibition of Aboriginal artworks. This initiative arose from looking into ways in which the firm can contribute more broadly to its Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) and pro bono clients’ businesses. Partner Genevieve Collins, who is a member of the firm’s Reconciliation Action Plan Oversight Committee said, “Warmun Art Centre is a client under our firm’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) and we’ve been looking at new and different ways that our firm can support its RAP and pro bono clients.”
- Underfunding is crippling legal aid
17 May 2016 – InDaily
Every day at JusticeNet SA I hear stories of clients that reveal a crumbling system of legal aid and a widening justice gap – stories of ordinary Australians who are forced to represent themselves in the civil courts, often against parties with pockets far deeper than their own. But equally, we see the efforts of lawyers in public and private practise who step up to the plate to volunteer legal help and representation for pro bono clients. … it’s important to recognise that pro bono is not a replacement for adequately funded legal assistance services. It’s a no-brainer that pro bono alone cannot close the justice gap. So at a time when politicians are asking for our ear, it is time to remind them that legal aid matters.
- US: Sotomayor Urges Mandatory Pro Bono for All Lawyers [registration]
17 May 2016 – The National Law Journal
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor said Monday that all lawyers should be required to provide pro bono legal services … The justice said she was aware of programs—like New York state’s—that make pro bono work a requirement for admission to the bar. She also acknowledged that some critics say lawyers who are compelled to work for free “may not give their best effort” to the task. But professional and ethical duties require it, Sotomayor insisted. “It has to become part of their being,” she said.
- US: Sotomayor’s Pro Bono Push Could Vex Legal Depts.
17 May 2016 – Corporate Counsel
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has staked out a bold position: it’s time to require all lawyers to do pro bono work … A pro bono requirement could be particularly challenging for in-house lawyers. Unlike lawyers at law firms, who are covered by their firm’s malpractice insurance policies, in-house counsel who wish to do pro bono work typically need to pay for an “employed lawyer malpractice policy” that can cost thousands of dollars.
- UAE: Dubai lawyers offer pro bono services to low income workers
17 May 2016 – The National
More than 100 lawyers are taking part in a pro bono programme that provides free legal advice to low income workers who want to have their cases heard in court … Forty-three registered law firms and more than 100 legal practitioners are taking part in the Academy of Law’s pro bono programme, offering free legal advice and representation to those in financial need … An increasing number of low-income workers are using the programme, which operates under the DIFC (Dubai International Financial Centre) court’s jurisdiction and in conjunction with the DIFC’s dispute resolution authority.
- New reference for pro bono best practice launched
16 May 2016 – Lawyers Weekly
The delivery of critical pro bono services provided by Australian lawyers is the focus of the new Pro Bono Best Practice Guide that was published by the Australian Pro Bono Centre this month; providing firms with a new reference for best practice in pro bono legal services that draws on the experience of Australian practitioners in large and mid-size firms. “The … Guide draws on the experience of leading Australian practitioners and will be a useful tool for law firms to help them develop, and better manage, their pro bono programs and practice,” centre chair and Allens partner Phillip Cornwell said.
- The U.K.’s Modern Slavery Act Fuels New Practice in Asia [subscription]
16 May 2016 – The American Lawyer International
For some years now, international law firms in Asia have been putting in pro bono hours to fight human trafficking. But now, the battle against trafficking and other forms of modern slavery is also emerging as a fee-generating practice area. Under the U.K.’s new Modern Slavery Act, which went into effect in October, companies doing business in the U.K. with an annual revenue of at least $52 million (£36 million) are now required to produce a disclosure statement identifying the measures they have taken in the past year to eliminate any forced labour or human trafficking within their supply chain.
- Lawyer embarks on Torres Strait pro bono trip
12 May 2016 – Lawyers Weekly
A Telstra senior counsel spent one week in Northern Queensland working with Indigenous artists and community members, being challenged by the intersection between Indigenous culture and the law. Melbourne-based Telstra Wholesale senior counsel Christy Ditchburn spent three days on Thursday Island and two days in Cairns providing legal advice to Indigenous artists through a programme run by the Arts Law Centre of Australia.
- Green mediators benefit from pro bono pilot program
9 May 2016 – Lawyers Weekly
Junior mediators are benefiting from a pro bono pilot program that sends accredited professionals to facilitate disputes in the volunteer sector. Voluntas is a pro bono pilot program that offers the confidential services of accredited mediators to the NSW volunteer sector. The pilot program … is conducting a six-month trial of the conflict resolution service. According to founder Steve Lancken, more junior mediators can enjoy the benefit of mentorship as well as acquiring experience by offering their pro bono services through the program.
- SINGAPORE: Court awards legal costs for work done on pro bono basis
3 May 2016 – The Straits Times
A construction company which lost its appeal against a worker’s $1,900 wage claim has been ordered by the High Court to pay $6,000 in legal costs meant for the law firm representing the worker on a pro bono basis. The case is significant for pro bono work, as it is the first reported case where the court has directly ruled on the availability of legal costs to pro bono lawyers and provided clarity on the issue. Judicial Commissioner Debbie Ong said there is “no reason” why the losing party should not be ordered to pay costs, just because the winning party lacked money and was represented by a lawyer on a pro bono basis.
- US: How Pro Bono Contributes to a Successful Career
3 May 2016 – The Pennsylvania Lawyer
… the benefits for a new lawyer of doing pro bono from the start of his or her career are many, and they can affect every aspect of developing a high-quality, financially successful and personally rewarding career … we suggest that young lawyers take another look at the idea of postponing pro bono to a time in the indefinite future and instead take the leap as soon as possible. As one seasoned partner told one of the authors when he won a difficult pro bono matter as a second-year associate, “It is nice to see you doing good, while doing well.”
- US: This Woman Created The Uber of Legal Aid
2 May 2016 – Forbes: Entrepreneurs
Donna Peel is using sharing-economy principles and woman power to help fill a dire need for legal-aid lawyers. Peel is the founder of Pro Bono Network, a non-profit organization that provides about 40 volunteer lawyers a month to Chicago-area legal aid agencies. About 90 percent of the 200 attorneys in the network are women and one-third are stay-at-home moms, all of whom do pro bono work when it fits in their schedule … The Pro Bono Network’s mission is to be “a force multiplier” for legal aid by making volunteering hyper-easy, Peel says. To do so, it’s harnessing the same broad workplace shift away from traditional 9-to-5 office work and toward more malleable remote and part-time arrangements that its high-tech, for-profit cousins are built on.
- Grads unaware of importance of pro bono
29 April 2016 – Lawyers Weekly
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. “While many steps have been made to increase accessibility to the judicial process, lawyers are still the main conduit between the citizen and the courts,” he said. “We want to foster, develop and promote a pro bono culture in students before they commence legal practice.”
- Health Justice Partnerships helping to combat elder abuse [press release]
28 April 2016 – Lander & Rogers
Lander & Rogers recently co-hosted the launch of the Justice Connect and cohealth Health Justice Partnership. Health Justice Partnerships are designed to bring the health and legal sectors— two sectors with a long involvement in human rights advocacy— together to address unmet legal need in relation to issues of intergenerational violence. The Launch was also supported by LaTrobe University, Legal Services Board and the Victorian Attorney General.
- US: Court Adopts Pro Bono CLE, Expands Pro Bono Options for In-House Counsel, Approves Cy Pres Petition
28 April 2016 – The State Bar of Wisconsin
Attorneys will be able to get up to six continuing legal education (CLE) credits per reporting period for doing qualified pro bono work, under a petition that was recently adopted by the Wisconsin Supreme Court … the [same] petition … also expands pro bono opportunities for Wisconsin-based in-house counsel attorneys who are “registered” with the Board of Bar Examiners (BBE), but do not possess a Wisconsin law license.