Through our dedicated Pro Bono Practice, we strive to strengthen the communities in which we operate by providing free legal assistance to disadvantaged individuals, as well as eligible not-for-profit and charitable organisations and social enterprises, allowing them to extend on their capacity to make a difference.
Through our Pro Bono Practice we aim to:
- provide access to justice to vulnerable people
- contribute to a business culture our people are proud of, and
- cultivate shared value and collaboration with our clients.
- Pro bono legal work is highly valued by the firm and every lawyer is encouraged to participate in our Pro Bono Practice. In 2013, we signed up to the voluntary National Pro Bono Target of an average of 35 pro bono hours per lawyer, per year, which is a target we exceed each year.
Helping the helpers
Our pro bono legal assistance includes helping charities establish and become viable and effective organisations by:
- helping them to ensure they have the best structure for good governance and efficient administration
- assisting with regulatory compliance issues and establishing the legal parameters that allow them to collaborate with other organisations, and
- providing specialised advice and assistance across all other practice areas, including employment law, property, litigation, insurance and intellectual property.
We are proud to support the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Australia's National Research Organisation for Women's Safety and Batyr Australia Limited, among others, through our Pro Bono Practice.
Assisting individuals experiencing disadvantage
We provide and participates in a range of pro bono legal services for individuals. Examples include:
- providing individuals across Australia with assistance with their legal concerns, in partnership with various legal clearing houses throughout Australia
- assisting people suffering from cancer with legal matters arising from their illness through our long-standing partnership with the Cancer Council Legal Referral Service
- running free wills clinics for Aboriginal people in rural, regional or remote areas of New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Western Australia and the Northern Territory
- providing regular assistance to Marrickville Legal Centre, the Inner City Legal Centre, Redfern Legal Centre and the Australian Centre for Disability Law Clinic in the provision of free and accessible legal services to vulnerable people
- encouraging our Melbourne and Perth lawyers to assist the Mental Health Legal Centres in their regions with tribunal hearings, phone advice services and face-to-face clinics
- supporting our Newcastle lawyers’ work with law students at the Newcastle University Legal Centre to provide free legal advice across a range of topics
- encouraging lawyers from our Canberra office regularly attend the ACT Law Society Pro Bono Clearing House and Legal Advice Bureau, and
- facilitating our Canberra-based lawyers’ pro bono assistance to unrepresented applicants in the Family Court for lodgment of divorce applications; mainly disadvantaged women who may be experiencing family violence issues, and often do not speak English as a first language.