Australian in-house corporate and government lawyers can make a significant contribution to pro bono legal services. In-house pro bono enables lawyers to give back to the community, enhances professional and personal development, and can bring long-term benefits for organisations which support pro bono work.
Pro Bono Legal work: A guide for in-house corporate lawyers, prepared by the Australian Pro Bono Centre in association with the Law Society of NSW and the Association of Corporate Counsel, is a comprehensive guide and essential reference point for corporations looking to establish, manage or refine in-house pro bono legal programs, and individual corporate lawyers seeking involvement in pro bono legal work.
Topics in the Guide include:
the benefits of establishing a pro bono program
pro bono and corporate social responsibility
the current models of in-house pro bono
tips on how to establish a pro bono program
the regulatory requirements applying to pro bono legal work by in-house lawyers
in-house pro bono FAQs
case studies on successful in-house pro bono partnerships
organisations currently providing in-house legal teams with pro bono opportunities
The Centre has also compiled a list of other resources which may be relevant to the establishment of particular in-house pro bono programs.
Where an in-house lawyer or team partners with a pro bono referral scheme, organisation or community legal centre, it will likely be the case that the partner organisation’s professional indemnity insurance will cover the in-house team’s pro bono legal work.
For projects or programs that are not otherwise covered by professional indemnity insurance, the Centre operates the National Pro Bono Professional Indemnity Insurance Scheme, which provides lawyers with free professional indemnity insurance for approved pro bono projects. Please visit the National Pro Bono Professional Indemnity Insurance Scheme for more information on the availability of the Scheme in your jurisdiction and for examples of the projects that the Centre has previously approved.
The organisations listed below may be able to provide in-house legal teams with pro bono opportunities.
Arts Law Centre makes pro bono referrals to in-house lawyers through its Document Review Service. See case study in section 7 Case studies. Please visit www.artslaw.com.au/ or contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 02 9356 2566 for more information.
Justice Connect places referrals received through its national Not-for-profit Law service with in- house legal teams (primarily in Victoria and NSW, but also in the ACT, Tasmania and the Northern Territory). In-house teams can also assist by reviewing and drafting legal resources for the Not- for-profit Law Information Hub. See case study in section 7 Case studies. In-house teams may also be interested in supporting Justice Connect’s work helping individuals experiencing disadvantage. Please visit www.justiceconnect.org.au or contact email@example.com or 03 8636 4400 for more information.
JusticeNet SA is the pro bono referral organisation for South Australia and makes direct pro bono referrals to corporate members. Please visit www.justicenet.org.au/ or contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 08 83135005 for more information.
LawRight is the pro bono referral organisation for Queensland and makes direct pro bono referrals to corporate members. In-house legal teams may also be interested in participating in Law Right’s Homeless Persons’ Legal Clinic in Queensland. Please visit http://www.lawright.org.au/ or contact email@example.com (Attn: Sue Garlick and Linda Macpherson – joint directors) or 07 3846 6317 for more information.
The National Children’s and Youth Law Centre (NCYLC) is a Community Legal Centre dedicated to addressing human rights issues for children and young people in Australia through legal change. Both in its core services and project activities, NCYLC is sponsored by a host of organisations including in-house counsel. See case study in section 7 Case studies. Please visit http://www.lawstuff.org.au/ or contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 02 9385 9585 for more information.
The Public Interest Advocacy Centre operates the Homeless Persons’ Legal Service in New South Wales and encourages participation by in-house lawyers. Please visit https://www.piac.asn.au/ or contact email@example.com or 02 8898 6545 for more information.
Salvos Legal’s Inhouse Pro Bono Desk is staffed by in-house lawyers across both the corporate and government sectors. Lawyers volunteering at the Desk can work on a diverse range of matters across the organisation’s Humanitarian practice. In-house lawyers can also volunteer at Salvos Legal’s Advice Bureaus where they provide free legal advice. Interested in-house lawyers can either volunteer in their own time, or with the permission of their employer to undertake the pro bono work as part of their official employment. Please visit www.salvoslegal.com.au/careers/ corporate-pro-bono-opportunities/ for more information or email firstname.lastname@example.org, setting out: your name; position and employer; contact details; any particular area of law or case you wish to experience at the Desk (Salvos Legal will try its best to accommodate); the number of hours you wish to volunteer at the Desk; and the dates you wish to work at the Desk (if known).