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Firm’s support for Blake’s Army showcases pro bono work in action

Pro bono work is “a real and valuable contribution to others who might not otherwise have such an opportunity”, according to Piper Alderman principal Michael Coker.

user iconShandel McAuliffe 17 May 2022 Big Law
Firm’s support for Blake’s Army showcases pro bono work in action
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With National Pro Bono Day on 17 May, Lawyers Weekly spoke with Piper Alderman about the firm’s pro bono work and delved into its involvement with Blake’s Army.

Blake’s Army is a Health Promotion Charity, a registration that Mr Coker helped the organisation secure. Blake’s Army was established by Blake Dridan’s dad Luke Dridan, and, as Mr Coker stated: “The funds raised by Blake’s Army will be applied to extremely important initiatives generally related to the prevention and control of bone marrow failure syndromes, the support of persons who have a bone marrow failure syndrome, and research into the prevention, control, treatment and cure of bone marrow failure syndromes.”

Louise Gehrig, partner at Piper Alderman, introduced Mr Coker to Blake’s Army. Mr Coker said he was moved to be part of the cause because of the work it’s dedicated to, Mr Dridan’s “extraordinary commitment”, and Mr Coker’s own suitability for the legal work involved.


Piper Alderman has a generous scope of work that they’ll consider offering pro-bono services for. Principal at Piper Alderman Alasdair McLean outlined their pro bono service delivery models as follows:

  1. legal advice and assistance;
  2. representation and advocacy;
  3. legal education and training;
  4. legal research;
  5. law reform and policy work;
  6. staffing of legal advice clinics;
  7. mentoring of community legal centre lawyers; and
  8. secondments to not-for-profit organisations.
Commenting on Piper Alderman’s approach to pro bono work, Mr McLean stated: “We recognise that the provision of legal services on a pro bono basis is an important component of a lawyer’s professional responsibility and professional development. Pro bono legal services are the unique professional contribution that lawyers can make to further access to justice and the public interest.

“Our current strategic plan identifies the achievement of pro bono targets as an important component of the firm’s success and our pro bono commitment is supported by the firm’s leadership.”

Proving that pro bono work is close to the firm’s heart, Piper Alderman has aspirations for more pro bono work in the future. Mr McLean shared: “The firm intends to establish a ‘champion’ pro bono relationship or project for each of our offices, and we also intend to have a small number of national pro bono relationships that will involve all offices. These conversations are currently ongoing and we hope to make further announcements in these areas over the next 12 months.”

Lawyers Weekly asked Mr Coker what he would say to other lawyers thinking about doing pro bono work. Mr Coker said: “I have always found this type of work rewarding in a number of ways, including knowing that I was making a real and valuable contribution to others who might not otherwise have such an opportunity. I have also found that in most cases the people who have chosen to be involved in managing charity/not-for-profit clients are wonderful people and great to deal with.”

In terms of career development, Mr Coker explained: “I have been doing pro bono work since the beginning of my career as a lawyer, which started back in the mid-1990s! In most ways, legal work for charity/not-for-profit clients is very similar to the equivalent legal work for commercial clients, therefore doing pro bono work develops and showcases your skills just as effectively as traditional legal work.”

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