This past issue of National Pro Bono News (now known as Australian Pro Bono News) was created on our former website.
It has been transferred to our new website ‘as is’, for archive purposes.
Many of the links may no longer work, including links to our publications and resources (which can now be found in Our Publications).
You will also notice that the formatting of this newsletter has not transferred cleanly to our new website.
We apologise for any difficulties this may cause you.
If you have any queries about the content of this issue please contact us.
Issue 63: December 2010
Welcome to the December 2010 edition of the e-Newsletter of the National Pro Bono Resource Centre. We welcome your feedback/contributions/ideas – please email firstname.lastname@example.org. In this edition, read about:
1. EVENT: Release of the Final Report on the 2010 National Law Firm Pro Bono Survey
2. UPDATE: International Pro Bono Disbursement Funds Now Allocated
3. REPORT: This Year’s National Community Legal Centre Conference 2010
4. REPORT: Legal Pro Bono in a Regional Health Context
5. REPORT: Second European Pro Bono Forum Confirms the Upward Arc of Pro Bono
6. PROFILE: Henry Davis York – “It’s a Privilege to Work Pro Bono”
7. PRO BONO IN THE NEWS: October – November 2010
The Final Report on the National Pro Bono Resource Centre’s National Law Firm Pro Bono Survey will be launched next week in a series of presentations by John Corker, Director of the National Pro Bono Resource Centre in Brisbane (Mon 6 Dec 5:30-7.00pm at Minter Ellison), Melbourne (Tues 7 Dec 5:30-7.00pm at Minter Ellison) and Sydney (Thurs 9 Dec 5:30-7.00pm at Mallesons Stephen Jacques). You are invited to attend to discuss the results.
The Survey targeted all 39 Australian law firms with more than 50 full time equivalent lawyers, of which 29 responded. The 29 respondent firms include 9 of the 10 largest Australian firms by fee earner size and altogether employed 10,227.3 full time equivalent lawyers, representing approximately 18% of the Australian legal profession. This final report contains a comprehensive analysis of all the data collected in the survey and provides a partial picture of pro bono work in Australia in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis.
John will also discuss the current state of pro bono in the UK and Europe and reflect on the similarities and differences to pro bono’s development in Australia following his attendance at UK Pro Bono Week, and the 2010 European Pro Bono Forum in Paris (for further information see the report below).
If you wish to attend or would like further information please RSVP to Daniel Jacobs at email@example.com or on 02 9385 7381. Refreshments will be provided.
The International Pro Bono Disbursement Fund was established via a grant to the Centre from the Grants to Australian Organisations Program of the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department. This one-off grant of $100,000 was intended to assist law firms and barristers with the costs of their disbursements (i.e. travel, accommodation and the like) when undertaking pro bono projects outside Australia. The application process was administrated by the Centre.
These funds have now been fully allocated. Payments for the following projects have received preliminary approval:
· Two applications from the Australian Bar Association on behalf of barristers from QLD, one for Intensive Trial Advocacy Workshops (five barristers) and another for UNICEF Children’s Rights Workshops in Bangladesh (nine barristers)
· An application to support the defence of a Nigerian man on death row in Bali
· An application from DLA Phillips Fox for secondment of a lawyer to the Government of Timor Leste, who will assist the Minister of Finance in his capacity as Chair of the G7+ group of fragile nations, with the establishment of an Anti Corruption Commission and the implementation of human rights treaties
· An application from the Australian Government Solicitor for two lawyers to provide legal training for Papua New Guinea government lawyers. Attendees will then be able to provide training to other government lawyers on ‘Understanding Legislation’
· An application from Mallesons Stephen Jaques to produce a legal resource kit and provide a train-the-trainer program to civil society organisations in Papua New Guinea identified by CARE Australia on legal rights and obligations, in conjunction with a PNG law firm
For more information about international pro bono opportunities please refer to the website of the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s International Pro Bono Advisory Group.
This year’s National CLC’s conference marked a change of leadership for the CLCs nationally, with Liz O’Brien standing down as national convenor after many years in the seat and Michael Smith from Eastern Community Legal Service in Victoria stepping up. This year also marked the introduction of the Management Support Online service for CLCs perhaps heralding a new era of management efficiency. On the other side of the ledger were the provocative views of Simon Rice, Associate Professor at ANU, that “The terms of the relationship between CLCs and the state have absorbed CLCs, defining them in and removing any fundamental contest. Simon argued that “[CLCs] have no radical goal, no aspiration to challenge, fundamentally, the principles, presumptions and structures of the legal system”. Paula O’Brien, from La Trobe University, added that there needed to be greater emphasis on ‘social justice lawyering’ across the sector and in our university law schools.
The session on pro bono at the conference centre around the elements of a successful community law partnership. It was well attended and had some humorous moments, as analogies between the success of a romantic relationship and a pro bono relationship were made. As Fiona McLeay, Executive Director, PILCH (VIC), pointed out, if you don’t want to go knocking on all the doors to find a partner, come to a PILCH as they may know who has capacity and interest. And sometimes it is really important to just say thank you and to inquire as to the other partner’s well-being.
This Centre would like to thank Sophie McNamara from Russell Kennedy; Rosannah Healy from Allens Arthur Robinson; Fiona McLeay from PILCH (VIC); Peter Noble from Loddon Campaspe Community Legal Centre; and Hugh de Kretser and Claudia Fatone from the Federation of CLCs Victoria; for organising and presenting in this session.
The inaugural National Rural/Regional Law and Justice Conference was held in Warrnambool, Victoria earlier this month, hosted by Deakin University. The Conference focused on the unique legal needs of those living in regional, rural and remote parts of the country and the difficulty in meeting those needs, particularly in light of the challenges in retaining and attracting lawyers to regional areas.
Of particular interest was a paper presented by Peter Noble from Loddon Campaspe Community Legal Centre titled ‘On Capacity: Promoting Structured Pro Bono by Regional Lawyers to Provide Legal Education and Casework Within the Health Context’ highlighting the successful Bendigo Health Outreach service established in 2006 to provide legal assistance to disadvantaged and vulnerable older patients.
The service is important as it creates targeted, structured and supported pro bono opportunities for regionally based lawyers in collaboration with health service providers, and has created a model that regional practitioners find attractive.
The paper also makes the point that there are a range of medico-legal partnerships in metropolitan areas that are delivering pro bono legal services to persons with unmet legal need, and these are worthy of further attention and research. Amongst these are the Cancer Patients Legal Services in both Victoria and NSW, the Seniors Rights Legal Clinics in Victoria and Queensland, and the long standing West Heidelberg Legal Service co-located with the Banyule Community Health Service.
John Corker, Director of the Centre, attended National Pro Bono Week in the UK from 7-13 November and the European Pro Bono Forum held in Paris from 17-19 November: “Against the backdrop of impending significant cuts in legal aid in the UK and the economic downturn having affected global law firms, it was heartening to see the three arms of the legal profession of England and Wales unite to form the new UK National Pro Bono Centre and to witness the incredible energy and optimism of the European Pro Bono Forum”
Nearly 300 delegates attended the forum, up from 140 at the first forum, held in Budapest in 2008. Organised by PILI, the conference brought together representatives from a broad range of countries including the US, England and Wales, but also many countries with developing pro bono cultures including Albania, Azerbaijan, Brazil, China, Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Spain and Tajikistan. Law firms were well represented, as well as a number of “cross-border” brokers, a good range of NGOs seeking assistance, and pro bono clearing houses. The pre-conference workshop, to collaborate, network and problem-solve issues around the operation of pro bono clearing houses considered a draft Pro Bono Clearing House Guide, and John said, “it was a privilege to be able to share the Australian experience with the 37 participants from 18 separate countries”.
To download the full trip report by John Corker click here.
For a video interview of John Corker by Trust Law at the conference click here
For a report on the European Pro Bono Forum on the Trust Law website click here.
Starting with the firm in 2002 as a summer clerk and joining as a graduate in 2004, Haley did rotations in workplace relations and litigation practice groups before settling into the commercial disputes practice group. “My practice group was always heavily involved in pro bono work” says Haley. “That’s where it all started for me”.
After starting her pro bono career working at the firm’s Homeless Persons Legal Service (HPLS) clinic, Haley moved on to being HDY’s HPLS team leader in 2006. “HPLS was really a great way to get involved in pro bono work. The training provided by PILCH really equipped me to take on cases that differed from my normal practice and gave me the confidence to tackle the range of issues that pro bono clients often presented.”
In January 2009, Haley took on the pro bono coordinator’s role on top of her commercial litigation role, working with pro bono partner Kathy Merrick and HDY’s pro bono committee, and in November of the same year, she was appointed as the firm’s first dedicated pro bono coordinator/lawyer. “The firm’s strategy shifted when we signed up to the National Pro Bono Aspirational Target in July 2009. We recognised that even though a lot of pro bono work was being done, it was unevenly spread across the firm and more resources were required to strengthen and grow the program.”
The role so far has been both rewarding and challenging. “One of my objectives has been to look at the spread of work across different practice groups. This remains a challenge as some pro bono matters fall within certain practice areas more naturally than in others. And of course some practice groups are always experiencing capacity issues. I have also been focusing on developing our systems for record keeping and reporting to stakeholders.”
Haley wants to lift the visibility of the firm’s program, both within the firm as well as externally, with community organisations and clients. “I believe in taking a proactive approach, investing time in making contacts and increasing awareness of our program, and I think it’s worked. Our referrals have increased dramatically over the past year.”
There are also many future challenges for the role. “I’d like to further define our program and to be more strategic in our approach. We do a lot of casework with homelessness, mental health and disability. We have always strived to assist individuals who are under a disadvantage and may suffer serious consequences, but I’d like to see us take on more cases that have the potential to impact upon a broader section of the community.” Haley says: “It really is a privilege to be able to use what you do every day to make a difference in someone’s life.”
Articles of interest to the pro bono community from October – November 2010. Click through to read any news article in full.
22 November 2010 – SBS
25 November 2010 – The Law Gazette
15 November 2010 – Australasian Legal Business
12 November 2010 – The Guardian
11 November 2010 – The Sydney Morning Herald
8 November 2010 – The Irish Times
30 October 2010 – Parramatta Advertiser
28 October 2010 – The Macedon Ranges Leader
20 October 2010 – Lawyers Weekly
20 October 2010 – Pro Bono Australia
A decision in the Federal Court is expected to have national ramifications for public interest litigants according to PIAC. The Federal Court has agreed to cap costs in the applicant’s disability discrimination complaint against a bus company. Justice Nicholas ruled that in ‘the interests of justice’ he favoured making the order sought ‘except that it should be for the amount of $25,000 rather than $15,000.’
18 of 20