This book is intended to be a practical resource.
For those in the early stages of developing a pro bono practice, seeking pro bono partnerships, wanting to increase their pro bono participation, or simply looking for a place to start doing pro bono work, Parts 3 and 4 provide useful ideas, tips and case studies that will be especially helpful.
For those with a deeper knowledge and involvement in the Australian pro bono community (eg pro bono coordinators and others from large law firms with established pro bono practices, or those in PBROs), Part 2 provides an informative overview of the current issues affecting the delivery of pro bono legal assistance in Australia.
Those extensively involved in pro bono may also find it valuable to use Parts 3 and 4 to compare the case studies and ideas about best practice contributed by others in the pro bono community — it is hoped this material sparks new ideas. They can also use the book to explain what pro bono participants do in a way that’s accessible to those less familiar with pro bono, to potential partners and to those seeking pro bono assistance.
This book will also be of interest to those in the legal assistance sector (eg Community Legal Centres, Legal Aid Commissions, Legal Assistance Forums) who want to learn more about pro bono so they can more effectively leverage the available pro bono resources, and policy makers and researchers in the access to justice space (eg government, legal professional associations, law foundations).
The following provides suggestions for sections of this book that may be of particular interest for different users:
- 2.1 I am in the early stages of developing a pro bono practice (or growing an existing practice)
- 2.2 I am a small law firm or sole practitioner
- 2.3 I am a community legal centre or a not-for-profit organisation
- 2.4 I am an in-house/corporate lawyer
- 2.5 I am a government lawyer
- 2.6 I am an individual lawyer or barrister looking for opportunities to get involved
- 2.7 I am interested in pro bono in regional, rural and remote (RRR) areas
2.1 I AM IN THE EARLY STAGES OF DEVELOPING A PRO BONO PRACTICE (OR GROWING AN EXISTING PRACTICE)
Understand the importance of strong relationships with community organisations (and how to build them) and of effective communication. See Importance of Relationships and Communication (Chapter 3)
Find out about working models of delivering pro bono legal services beyond case referral. See Part 4 which in addition to covering Case Referral (Chapter 19), also covers Clinics (Chapter 20), Outreach (Chapter 21), Secondments (Chapter 22), Fellowships (Chapter 23),Co-counselling (Chapter 24), Secondary consults (Chapter 25), Technology-based projects (Chapter 26), Law reform and policy (Chapter 27), Assistance to not-for-profit organisations (Chapter 28), Community legal education (Chapter 29), Non-legal assistance (Chapter 30) and International pro bono (Chapter 31).
Target community organisations that can provide your pro bono program with a link to those with unmet legal needs. See Tips for planning and maintaining relationships (Chapter 8) and Understanding your potential pro bono partner (Part 3), particularly Pro bono referral schemes and organisations (Chapter 9), Community legal centres (Chapter 12), Not-for profit organisations (Chapter 13) and Assistance to Not-for-profit organisations (Chapter 28).
See how pro bono partnerships between firms and their corporate clients have strengthened those relationships. See In-house counsel (Chapter 15) and the case study on National Children’s and Youth Law Centre, King & Wood Mallesons, Telstra, ASIC and Microsoft (26.5.1).
Understand the issues affecting the provision of pro bono legal services in Australia. See Themes arising from consultations (Part 2), particularly Chapter 4 on the Importance of developing a strong pro bono culture.
For more information on planning and developing a pro bono program, including precedents and pro forma documents, see the Australian Pro Bono Manual.
2.2 I AM A SMALL LAW FIRM OR SOLE PRACTITIONER
Read about the pro bono experiences of other small firms. See Small firms (Chapter 11).
Spark ideas about where to start with pro bono. See Case referral through PBROs (19.6). Providing Community legal education is a good place to start because it requires a limited time commitment while engaging the local community, potentially reaching larger numbers of people than individual casework and avoiding the risk of conflicts: see the case study on Harris Park Community Centre and Phang Legal (29.4.1) in Community legal education (Chapter 29). Volunteering at a community legal centre is another good way to start doing pro bono work as it limits the time commitment to a controlled and manageable amount. See Individual volunteers (Chapter 17) and Community legal centres (Chapter 12).
Explore the possibility of joining an established pro bono project. This may make it easier to become involved, as it leverages existing structures for managing the relationships with any community partners, coordination, administration, training and supervision of the work. See Tips for planning and maintaining relationships (Chapter 8), the case study on the Arts Law Centre of Australia’s Document Review Service and Telephone Legal Advice Service (19.5.2) and the case studies in the sections on Clinics (20.5) and Outreach (21.5).
2.3 I AM A COMMUNITY LEGAL CENTRE OR A NOT-FOR-PROFIT ORGANISATION
Start making connections with pro bono providers that can lead to pro bono assistance. See Tips for planning and maintaining relationships (Chapter 8) and Understanding your potential partner (Part 3), particularly Large law firms (Chapter 10), Small law firms (Chapter 11), Barristers (Chapter 14), In-house/corporate lawyers (Chapter 15), Government lawyers (Chapter 16), Individual volunteers (Chapter 17) and Law students (Chapter 18). Find out what makes community organisations attractive to large law firms (10.1).
Spark ideas for new ways to partner with pro bono providers to improve access to justice and make the most of your existing partnerships. See Models of pro bono legal assistance (Part 4). For example, see the case study on the Employment Law Advocacy Scheme (Redfern Legal Centre, Marrickville Legal Centre, Caxton Legal Centre, Darwin Community Legal Service and Clayton Utz) (22.5.3) in Secondments (Chapter 22).
Find out about the possibility of getting administrative support. See Non-legal assistance (Chapter 30).
2.4 I AM AN IN-HOUSE/CORPORATE LAWYER
Spark ideas for how your legal team can become involved. See Tips for planning and maintaining relationships (Chapter 8) and the case studies: Arts Law Centre of Australia’s Document Review Service and Telephone Legal Advice Service (19.5.2) and National Children’s and Youth Law Centre’s LawMail and Lawstuff projects with King & Wood Mallesons, Telstra, ASIC and Microsoft (26.5.1), particularly Telstra’s experience of the project (15.5.1). The skills of in-house/corporate lawyers are a good match for the legal needs of not-for-profit organisations. See Assistance to not-for-profit organisations (Chapter 28).
2.5 I AM A GOVERNMENT LAWYER
Seek out your own pro bono opportunities. See Tips for planning and maintaining relationships (Chapter 8) and the case studies on the Telephone Advice Service at Macarthur Legal Centre (26.7.2), the Arts Law Centre of Australia’s Document Review Service and Telephone Legal Advice Service (19.5.2) and the National Children’s and Youth Law Centre (26.5.1).
2.6 I AM AN INDIVIDUAL LAWYER OR BARRISTER LOOKING FOR OPPORTUNITIES TO GET INVOLVED
Seek out pro bono opportunities at your firm. Even if you are working in a practice area that may not naturally lend itself to pro bono referrals, there are other ways to become involved: for example, see Clinics (Chapter 20), Outreach (Chapter 21) and Secondments (Chapter 22).
Create your own pro bono opportunities. For example, see the case studies on Sessional secondments (The Aged-care Rights Service (now Seniors Rights Service) and Sparke Helmore) (22.5.5) and Trial advocacy workshops (31.5.1). See examples of how barristers (Chapter 14), in-house lawyers (Chapter 15), government lawyers (Chapter 16) and law students (Chapter 18) have become involved in pro bono projects.
2.7 I AM INTERESTED IN PRO BONO IN REGIONAL, RURAL AND REMOTE (RRR) AREAS
Read about the issues affecting the provision of pro bono in RRR areas. See Size matters (Chapter 6), particularly Size of jurisdiction (6.1), Distance from major cities (6.2) and Size of law firm (or office) (6.3).
Find out about successful outreach projects and best practice in outreach. See Outreach (Chapter 21), Fellowships (Chapter 23) and Technology-based services such as video conferencing (Chapter 26). See the case studies on Bendigo Health Outreach (19.5.3) and the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency and Ashurst (22.5.1).