Issue 78: March 2013
Welcome to the March 2013 edition of National Pro Bono News, produced by the National Pro Bono Resource Centre.
It’s only two weeks until the National Access to Justice and Pro Bono Conference 2013 will be held in Melbourne, hosted by the Centre, the Law Council of Australia and the Law Institute of Victoria. Registrations are strong and we hope to see you there. Don’t forget there is a community organisation price of $385 for 2 days or $176 for one.
Thirty law students (out of 64 entrants) from around the country have been selected through a Facebook based competition to attend the conference free of charge and will also attend a special event to be held at DLA Piper the day before looking at career pathways and a special Q and A session moderated by Julian Burnside QC that delves into the concepts and themes to be addressed at the Conference, such as access to justice, emerging trends and the rule of law.
The Centre will be providing ‘first looks’ at its upcoming publications What Works in Pro Bono – a practical guide to effective pro bono partnerships and pathways – and Why Not Family Law – a discussion paper on the issue of pro bono assistance for family law and family violence matters.
The Hon Mark Dreyfus QC MP, Attorney-General of Australia, Senator the Hon George Brandis SC, Shadow Attorney-General and Senator the Hon Penny Wright, Greens spokesperson for the portfolio of Attorney-General, will be speaking at the Closing Plenary of the Conference.
We welcome law firms Colin Biggers & Paisley (Melbourne and Sydney – about 100 lawyers) and Sparke Helmore (8 Australian offices – about 280 lawyers) as new signatories to the National Pro Bono Aspirational Target for 2013.
We also welcome as new signatories solicitor David Crompton and two incorporated legal practices: Hallet Legal (Brisbane) and Hemsley Lawyers (Sydney – an integrated commercial law firm and chartered accounting practice).
The National Pro Bono Aspirational Target was launched in April 2007 and now has 108 signatories that cover over 8,000 lawyers nationally. Law firms, solicitors, barristers and barristers chambers can all sign up easily online.
Based on the results of the Centre’s 2012 National Survey of Australian law firms with more than 50 lawyers, pro bono representatives from law firms recently gathered in both Melbourne and Sydney to discuss the survey findings and to exchange wisdom about best practice. The Melbourne function attracted 22 attendees from 19 firms, and the Sydney function attracted 30 attendees from 18 firms.
Some of the issues raised included how firms vet requests from a person wanting to start a new charity, whether to charge fees for large charities in certain matters, what is the role of a pro bono committee within a firm, how to obtain fee relief as a new pro bono coordinator, the pros and cons of having specific areas of focus for a firm’s pro bono practice, and how to manage secondments.
Thanks to Allens Linklaters for hosting these events. A further event is being held in Brisbane at on Wednesday 13 March 2013. If you wish to attend this event please email us.
Corrs Chambers Westgarth has recently completed a very useful guide on the legal framework concerning Nepalese migrant workers. This work was done for the Diplomacy Training Program (DTP) based at the law faculty at UNSW to support the DTP’s Nepal Project, with its focus on the human rights challenges of increased labour migration from Nepal.
The guide was used in February 2013 to assist advocates on the ground in Nepal to develop action plans for 2013 to address the many issues and challenges arising out of the hundreds of thousands of Nepalese migrant workers that leave the country each year.
Through advocacy and training sessions, the Nepal Project has been building the capacity of organisations struggling with the multiple human rights challenges caused by the migrant worker exodus. Migrants go principally to Malaysia and to the Gulf States of the Middle East with the promise of jobs that will enable them to provide for themselves and their families. They leave behind wives and husbands, sons and daughters and they arrive in destination countries burdened by debt and very vulnerable to abuse. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have both issued compelling reports documenting the abuses and the DTP hope that through their program (supported by the Swiss government) they can assist advocates on the ground to make a difference.
The guide of 80 pages identifies all relevant Nepalese legislation, relevant international conventions and treaties including ILO treaties and conventions, treaties pertaining to migration, slavery and trafficking and foundational human rights instruments together with a case study from Thailand and the Philippines. Much of the research was undertaken by 2012-2013 seasonal clerks at Corrs working with partner Andrew Korbel and special counsel Ruth Nocka and Michael do Rozario.
If you have a pro bono case study that you think others ought to know about by being featured in the National Pro Bono News please contact us.
With five eminent women from the NSW judiciary and the Family Court speaking on topics that include ‘A lawyer’s duty to the court’ and ‘Advocacy – a view from the Bench’, this will be another great event in the Salvos Legal Lecture Series. The event is being held this coming Saturday 9 March in Sydney jointly presented by the National Pro Bono Resource Centre.
The Progressive Law Network are holding their “Legal (r)Evolution Conference” in Melbourne on Friday 15 March from 9 am – 4pm discussing issues of Gene Patenting, Corporate Environmental Responsibility and Building Grassroots Social Justice Programs.
The National CLCs Conference is being held in Cairns this year on 24-26 July. Walk together, talk together – journey in journeys to healing and justice is the theme. Abstracts for sessions close next Friday (15 March).
Check out Social Justice Opportunities for information on finding a job or volunteering in the social justice sector. The website includes a ‘Latest Opportunities‘ section which provides a list of current jobs and volunteering opportunities around the country. If you have an opportunity at your organisation that you would like advertised please contact us.
Articles of interest to the pro bono community from February to March 2013. Click through to read any news article in full.
28 February 2013 – Pro Bono Australia
28 February 2013 – The Age
26 February 2013 – Brimbank Weekly
25 February 2013 – The Age
22 February 2013 – ABC News
22 February 2013 – The Examiner
22 February 2013 – The Australian (opinion by Lizzie O’Shea, Maurice Blackburn)
22 February 2013 – Australian Financial Review
21 February 2013 – ABC Darwin
20 February 2013 – The Age
20 February 2013 – Lawyers Weekly
19 February 2013 – The Age
19 February 2013 – Pro Bono Australia
19 February 2013 – ABC News
17 February 2013 – The Age
15 February 2013 – ABC News
4 March 2013 – Connecticut Law Tribune
28 February 2013 – Pro Bono Institute
26 February 2013 – Inside Counsel
18 February 2013 – Canadian Lawyer
26 February 2013 – Lawyers Weekly (Canada)
20 February 2013 – Canadian Lawyer
21 February 2013 – Legally India
18 February 2013 – Asia One News
16 February 2013 – BBC News Wales