Attorney-General Robert McClelland has rescued those lawyers being put out of work in the financial downturn, and those forced to do pro bono cases amidst a drop in work.
The A-G yesterday announced funding for a project to help retired lawyers and lawyers taking a break from their careers to become involved in pro bono legal work.
The government will inject $40,000 into the National Pro Bono Resource Centre for the project.
Australian law firms are increasingly upping their pro bono activities by handing this work to lawyers who are underutilised in certain practice areas.
“Lawyers approaching retirement and lawyers taking a break from their careers are a valuable and underutilised resource for providing pro bono assistance, particularly in regional and rural areas of Australia where there is a shortage of lawyers,” McClelland said.
“This funding will create opportunities for lawyers' skills and experience to be utilised and to facilitate their involvement in pro bono activities.”
The project has synergies with the Golden Gurus program, an idea arising from the Australian 2020 Summit, which encourages existing mentoring schemes and connects skilled mature-age people to mentoring opportunities.
Both initiatives encourage people to share their knowledge and skills with the community, the A-G said.