ExpertsDirect Pro Bono is a new service just launched for lawyers that aims to put them in touch with experts in a myriad of fields who are prepared to offer their services for free or at low cost in matters where the lawyer is acting on a pro bono basis.
It was fitting that the 2018 Asia Pro Bono Conference was held in Hong Kong on 25-27 October 2018, where the legal profession has been working hard in recent years seeking to advance and develop the pro bono activity of its lawyers.
Articles of interest to the pro bono community that have been published since our last edition.
Meet our new Office Administrator, Natasha Rose, who left a high-flying career in experiential marketing to pursue a Master of Human Rights Law and Policy. Natasha has lived and studied in Mexico, interned at the Red Cross, and is now hard at work pursuing her passion for improving access to justice for society’s most vulnerable.
At 75, Lynn Flanagan is proving a dynamo volunteer at Hunter CLC. We caught up with Lynn to chat about her work, motivation and what life is like as a mature-age student!
On 1 November 2018 the Centre’s Head of Policy & Strategy, Gabriela Christian-Hare, participated in a panel discussion on measuring impact and story-telling at the Australian Pro Bono & Skilled Volunteering Summit at Westpac in Sydney.
To mark 100 years of women in law in Australia, we asked three inspirational women legal practitioners – Leah Cameron, Nicky Friedman, Geetha Nair, and Hannah Rose – ‘what needs to change in the legal profession so that more women can thrive professionally and personally?’
Ella Alexander, Pro Bono Senior Associate at Makinson d’Apice Lawyers, shares her experience of pro bono lawyering on the front line of the refugee crisis on the Greek Island of Lesvos, where over 11,000 asylum seekers are stranded awaiting the outcome of their applications for refugee status.
The Commonwealth has just released their annual legal services expenditure report for 2016-2017 reporting total legal services expenditure of $825.51m (up 4.2%), and 502,619 hours of pro bono legal work done by reporting firms (down 9.5% on 2015-16 results).
The Commonwealth Government’s Legal Services Multi-Use List (LSMUL) of firms authorised to provide legal services to the Commonwealth ceased on 1 July 2018 and with it some of the conditions that formally encouraged firms to undertake pro bono legal work.
On 22 August 2018, the Australian Pro Bono Centre (Centre) and Law Society of NSW hosted a forum to engage and support in-house corporate lawyers to do pro bono legal work.
Wednesday 1 August 2018
REVIEW OF COMMUNITY LEGAL CENTRES RECOGNISES IMPORTANCE OF RESOURCING TO LEVERAGE PRO BONO SUPPORT
The Australian Pro Bono Centre welcomes the announcement today by the NSW Government of new funding for Community Legal Centres (CLCs) in NSW based on the recommendations of the 2017 Review of NSW Community Legal Centre Services led by Mr Alan Cameron AO (Review Report) also released today.
The Centre particularly welcomes the findings in the Review Report that:
- CLCs need adequate resources to harness, co-ordinate and supervise pro bono and volunteer support;
- students, volunteers and pro bono partnerships make a significant contribution to the CLC sector; and
- this multiplies the value of government funding and increases the benefits of legal assistance services experienced by individuals and the community.
“For CLCs to take full advantage of the available pro bono support, they often need to provide coordination, training, supervision and other support. This cost is often underestimated and unrecognised,” said John Corker, CEO of the Australian Pro Bono Centre.
The Centre’s work has shown that good coordination and training are vital components of a successful pro bono relationship, whether with an individual volunteer or a law firm. There can be a considerable cost associated with managing such relationships, particularly for larger projects.
“With many firms being reliant on their ability to partner with CLCs to deliver their pro bono services, it’s important to have a formal recognition of the cost to firms and CLCs of establishing and maintaining these partnerships,” Mr Corker said.
Unmet legal need
Importantly the Review Report highlights gaps in service delivery, particularly in rural, regional and remote areas of NSW, and a need for more legal assistance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, children and young people, and people with disabilities.
According to the Review Report the areas of law seen as most pressing in terms of unmet need are in the areas of child care and protection, housing, credit and debt, domestic violence and consumer law.
For further information or comment please contact John Corker on 02 9385 7371 or 0402474628.
The final report of the tenth anniversary review of the National Pro Bono Target (as it will now be called) was released last week concluding a year-long consultation process with members of the Target signatory community. Changes to the Target took effect on 1 July 2018.