find the latest legal job
Corporate/Commercial Lawyers (2-5 years PAE)
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Specialist commercial law firm · Long-term career progression
View details
Graduate Lawyer / Up to 1.5 yr PAE Lawyer
Category: Personal Injury Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Mentoring Opportunity in Regional QLD · Personal Injury Law
View details
Corporate and Commercial Partner
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Full time · Join a leading Adelaide commercial law firm
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Sydney NSW
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
Young lawyers call for compulsory pro bono

Young lawyers call for compulsory pro bono

Cindy Lim

Lawyers should be obliged to do pro bono work as a condition of their practising certificates, several Lawyers Weekly 30 under 30 finalists have proposed.

Finalists in the pro bono category were asked to share their suggestions for improving the legal profession.

DLA Piper senior associate Cindy Lim (pictured) suggested that lawyers are in a privileged position and therefore had an obligation to give back.

“The profession as a whole would benefit from regular reminders of the fortunate position which we are in,” she said.

“We already benefit from compulsory professional development as part of the requirements for maintaining our practising certificates. In addition to this, I think there is scope for there to be compulsory pro bono and/or community service attached to the renewal of our practising certificates.”

James Johnston, a solicitor from Ashurst, agreed with Ms Lim’s proposal but urged the profession to take on community education programs, not just individual cases.

“Providing free community legal education about legal obligations and rights in relation to common areas of dispute or difficulty…could avoid many of the issues pro bono clients frequently present with,” he said.

“Moreover, in the event of legal issues arising, clients would be better placed to represent their own interests more effectively, and would ideally allow pro bono programs to apply their resources more broadly.”

Another proponent of compulsory pro bono was Steven Hardey, who recently founded his own practice, Hardey Legal.

Mr Hardey suggested a minimum requirement of one day or one case per year of pro bono work, suggesting it would improve the profession’s reputation.

“I believe pro bono work is a fundamental component of making the legal system fair, and it would be humbling to see larger firms do pro bono work in fields they are not usually in,” he said.

While King & Wood Mallesons solicitor Philippa Macaskill suggested pro bono work should be a “personal decision”, she encouraged firms to aim for the National Pro Bono Aspirational Target of 35 hours per lawyer per year.

“This could lead to a marked increase in the amount of pro bono assistance being offered, which would provide considerable benefits for the recipients and would likely benefit the individuals providing the assistance as well,” she said.

On the other hand, Emma Anderson from Herbert Smith Freehills focused on the need to improve community legal services, saying proper government funding was critical.

“Governments need to recognise the important role played by legal aid and the community legal sectors and ensure that proper funding is provided to help ensure that the most vulnerable clients receive the assistance they need,” Ms Anderson said.

Other finalists in the pro bono category include Kara Cook from the Women’s Legal Service, Reece Corbett-Wilkins from Norton Rose Fulbright, Michael Simmons from Playfair Legal and Migration Services, Elise Paynter from Maddocks and Alice Greenwood, also from Ashurst.

Tickets to the 30 under 30 gala dinner are still available - click here to secure your place.


Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Young lawyers call for compulsory pro bono
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Scales of Justice
Dec 15 2017
Timing ‘critical’ in unusual contempt of court ruling
A recent case could have interesting implications for contempt of court rulings, according to a Ferr...
Dec 14 2017
International arbitration and business culture
Promoted by Maxwell Chambers. This article discusses the impact of international arbitration on t...
Papua New Guinea flag
Dec 14 2017
World-first mining case launched in PNG
Citizens of Papua New Guinea have launched landmark legal proceedings against the country’s govern...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...