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.
Winners of the Australian Law Awards reign supreme
Lawyers Weekly – 4 September 2017
Michael Legg, UNSW academic and member of the Centre’s Board, is named Academic of the Year, while Arnold Bloch Leibler wins Pro Bono Program of the Year at the 2017 Lawyers Weekly Australian Law Awards.
UnAustralian, Minister Dutton? The government pushes lawyers to do pro bono work
Financial Review – 31 August 2017
Law firms providing legal services to government agencies performed more than half a million hours of pro bono work last year, with those wanting regular gigs pushed to target at least 35 hours per lawyer. The demands on firms sit awkwardly with Immigration Minister Peter Dutton’s implicit labelling this week of some lawyers doing free legal work for refugees as “unAustralian”. The Centre’s media release is quoted in this piece.
Pro Bono Centre defends ‘highest tradition’ of legal profession
Lawyers Weekly – 31 August 2017
The Australian Pro Bono Centre has rejected Peter Dutton’s “regrettable” attack on lawyers providing pro bono advice to asylum seekers.
Dutton should learn to live with lawyers helping in matters of life and death
The Guardian – 30 August 2017
Lawyers who defend asylum seekers, the immigration minister believes, are “un-Australian”. Peter Dutton is not the first minister to level criticism at asylum seeker advocates. But history shows that things could – and should – have turned out very differently.
Lawyers representing asylum seekers are ‘un-Australian’: Peter Dutton
Sydney Morning Herald – 28 August 2017
Lawyers representing asylum seekers trying to stay in the country are “un-Australian”, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has declared. Mr Dutton said the government had been frustrated by its constitutional responsibilities to asylum seekers, and lashed out at lawyers acting on behalf of those in detention.
Conversations with corporate counsel: Why pro bono?
Lawyers Weekly – 28 August 2017
In-house lawyers are a significant part of the legal landscape. Our conversations with corporate counsel have revealed some common themes. When it comes to pro bono, in-house corporate lawyers and their employers can both meaningfully contribute to, and greatly benefit from, doing pro bono. Gabriela Christian-Hare, our Head of Strategy & Policy, shares some of these insights in this article.
Community legal centres struggling to cope with rising demand
SBS News – 21 August 2017
The National Association of Community Legal Centres (NACLC) says that rising demand and lack of resources means that CLCs have in the last year turned down close to 170,000 requests for legal assistance. That’s up 6% from the previous year.
Peter Dutton abandons detention centre secrecy rules amid High Court challenge
Sydney Morning Herald – 14 August 2017
Fitzroy Legal Service and not-for-profit Doctors4Refugees made a constitutional challenge to legislation that threatened detention centre workers with two years’ imprisonment if they spoke out about neglect or abuse. This month, the government put forward amendments to remove these provisions from the 2015 Australian Border Force Act.
Domestic violence victims benefit from partnership between lawyers and hospital staff
ABC News – 13 August 2017
In South Australia, a partnership between the Legal Services Commission and the Lyell McEwin Hospital is helping victims of domestic violence with vital legal advice.
Legal experts speak up for future prospect of online courts
Lawyers Weekly – 7 August 2017
Both Michael Kirby and Pauline Wright say online civil courts will improve access to justice.
UK: Law & society
Counsel – August 2017
Thought piece from British QC and director of the Good Law Project, Jolyon Maugham, asking whether lawyers should use pro bono to shape our society.
US: Lawyers Take on Another Trumpian Task: Stopping Science Suppression
Slate – August 2017
In the Trump era, lawyers began mobilising to provide pro bono for refugees and immigrants. Many legal professionals are now banding together to defend science, with the Scientist Protection Project.
Singapore: Charities: Increased Corporatisation and Its Impact On The Pro Bono Space
Lexology – 25 August 2017
Charities are increasingly adopting a corporate structure and it’s enhancing the opportunities available for corporate lawyers to do pro bono.
US: McDermott Lawyers Help Uncover Hoover-Era ‘Sex Deviate’ Files
Bloomberg – 24 August 2017
The US law firm’s pro bono team is working with the Mattachine Society of Washington, DC, to submit FOI requests to the FBI, regarding President Eisenhower’s 1953 executive order that allowed then-FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover to conduct a “purge” of LGBT federal public servants.
US: Stanford law clinic launches website for nonprofit pro bono support
Stanford News – 22 August 2017
This university clinic is helping not-for-profits by making approximately 200 precedents freely available online.
US: New York City Guarantees a Lawyer to Every Resident Facing Eviction
City Lab – 14 August 2017
As homelessness continues to be an area of unmet legal need in both Australia and the US, New York City enacts a law that guarantees legal representation to any low-income resident facing eviction.
US/Bhutan: White & Case helps Bhutan open first law school
Australasian Lawyer – 8 August 2017
The US firm has been working to develop legal capacity in Bhutan since 2008 and the tiny country has now opened its first ever law school.