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
- Peak of the profession
25 October 2016 – Lawyers Weekly
The best lawyers, legal teams and law firms across the country have reached new heights at Lawyers Weekly’s 2016 Australian Law Awards. Pro Bono Program of the Year went to Robina Community Legal Centre Inc, an initiative of local lawyers via the Gold Coast District Law Association which opened in 2014. RCLC is a nationally accredited community legal centre; however it is one of two Queensland CLCs not funded by the state or federal government. The centre leverages millions of dollars’ worth of pro bono volunteering from more than 1,000 Queensland Law Society and Queensland Bar Association members, as well as local law students.
- LGBTI rights in the South Pacific: creating momentum for change
21 October 2016 – Australasian Lawyer
Courtney Adamson, Pro Bono Associate at DLA Piper, writes that last week, DLA Piper played host to a forum of leaders, advocates and allies from 14 countries across the South Pacific, to focus on advancing LGBTI rights in the region.
- Aus pro bono work reaches new heights
18 October 2016 – Lawyers Weekly
According to the Ninth Annual Performance Report on the National Pro Bono Aspirational Target, 11,185 Australian lawyers provided 402,216 hours of pro bono legal services in the 2015-16 financial year. This equates to 223 lawyers working pro bono full-time for one year. The result marks the first time since 2011 that signatories to the aspirational target have collectively met the target of at least 35 hours of pro bono work per lawyer per week.
- Principled human rights leadership – exciting expansion to Sydney [media release]
18 October 2016 – Human Rights Law Centre
After 10 years of impact working as a national human rights organisation out of Melbourne, the Human Rights Law Centre has opened a Sydney office. Emily Howie, our Director of Advocacy and Research, will be continuing her great work out of Sydney, sharing office space with our friends at the Public Interest Advocacy Centre and Justice Connect, for an initial 12 month pilot. Thanks to the generous pro bono support of Ashurst, she’ll be joined by a secondee lawyer from early December.
- The World Today: Lawyer pro bono targets met for first time since 201
12 October 2016 – ABC News
A voluntary target for the amount of pro bono work done by lawyers has been met for the first time since 201. The aspiration of the Australian Pro Bono Centre is for all lawyers to do 35 hours of free work for the community each year. The legal profession is celebrating the increase recorded in the last financial year. But community workers say pro bono work isn’t the solution to plugging holes in government-funded legal aid services.
- Aussie lawyers have provided 402,216 hours of pro bono in 2016
12 October 2016 – Australasian Lawyer
Australian lawyers have increased their pro bono work in the 2016 financial year with a total of 402,216 hours provided. A report from the Australian Pro Bono Centre shows an 8.3 per cent increase from the previous year to 36 hours per lawyer, exceeding the Aspiration Target of at least 35 hours of pro bono per lawyer per year.
- Justice Connect announced as Google challenge finalist
6 October 2016 – Third Sector
The Google Impact Challenge top ten finalists have been announced. The Google Impact Challenge launched in June this year, inviting Australian non-profit organisations to submit their ideas on how they could use technology to solve a problem and make an impact. The top ten finalists include: … Justice Connect with a web portal that connects individuals and communities to pro bono legal services.
- Sarah Avery new president of the Law Society of the ACT
5 October 2016 – The Canberra Times
Sarah Avery has become the youngest lawyer to be president of the Law Society of the ACT. She is also on the Pro-Bono Clearing House Panel, the Legal Aid Review Panel, the Functions Committee, and is a mentor in the Young Lawyers Mentor Program.
- A closer look at our pro bono heroes
October 2016 – Proctor
In Dana Stabenow’s novel, Restless in the Grave, a character remarks: “Once in a while, I like to polish my halo by taking on a case pro bono.” Based on data from the Queensland Law Society annual practising certificate renewal process, shiny halos are abundant among the state’s solicitors, with many showing a firm commitment to helping those less fortunate.
- US: Pro Bono Lawyers Want Fees for Defending Bad Yelp Review Case
28 October 2016 – Texas Lawyer
Pro bono lawyers don’t normally want payment for their services. Yet the volunteer defense attorneys who recently convinced a Dallas judge to throw out a lawsuit filed by a pet-sitting company over a bad Yelp review say they deserve to be awarded $166,000 in attorney fees for their efforts, and they want to tag the plaintiff with an additional $200,000 in sanctions for good measure.
- US: Associates: I’ll Take a Year of Pro Bono, Please
7 October 2016 – Big Law Business
Jennifer Eldridge, a first year associate in DLA Piper’s Chicago office, has big aspirations for the next 12 months: She hopes to assist domestic violence victims, file asylum paperwork for refugees, and help some past offenders clear their juvenile criminal records.
- US: GOP Blasts Tim Kaine Over Pro Bono Work Ahead of VP Debate
4 October 2016 – Law.com [Subscription required]
During the vice presidential debate on Tuesday night, Democratic candidate Tim Kaine could come under attack for his ultimately unsuccessful pro bono work for death-penalty defendants decades ago. Republican Mike Pence, meanwhile, may face questions about a legal setback he suffered just this week.
- US: Pro Bono Firm Of 2016: Munger Tolles & Olson [registration required]
4 October 2016 – Law 360
Munger Tolles & Olson’s attorneys averaged a whopping 160 hours apiece on pro bono work in the past year, triumphing against state governments in battles over lethal injection documents and Syrian refugee resettlement, to earn the firm a spot among Law360’s Pro Bono Firms of 2016.
- US: Student Pro Bono Projects Provide Valuable Hands-on Training
29 September 2016 – Berkeley Law University of California
On its face, Berkeley Law’s Student-Initiated Legal Services Projects (SLPS) offer niche pro bono endeavors, each focused on a narrow issue of public interest. But more broadly, they form the sweet spot that attracts so many students to the school.