The Importance of Inculcating the ‘Pro Bono Ethos’ in Law Students, and the Opportunities to Do It Better
14 October 2020
The former CEO of the Centre, John Corker, recently published an article called The Importance of Inculcating the ‘Pro Bono Ethos’ in Law Students, and the Opportunities to Do It Better. It is available on the Legal Education Review website and can be found here.
This paper argues why it is vital to inculcate law students with a pro bono ethos on their journey through law school to becoming a lawyer, and suggests ways that we might do this better during a student’s legal education and practical legal training in Australia.
Based on the argument that professionalism is more than ever under threat and its survival in the law, as much as anywhere, seems increasingly fragile, it makes the case for the importance of this issue and suggests practical opportunities for students, law schools, providers of practical legal training, and regulation to better inculcate law students with the pro bono ethos, and to enhance the ethical value of lawyers providing ‘public service’.
The paper examines what we might mean by the pro bono ethos, the current ways that this issue is approached in Australia and compares student pro bono, clinical legal education’ pre-admission rules, and other initiatives in the USA, Canada and the UK, as well as the Australian regulatory framework, to arrive at conclusions about opportunities for change.