find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Pro bono becomes full-time vocation

Pro bono becomes full-time vocation

30 under 30 pro bono

A winner of the 30 Under 30 pro bono category turned a passion for volunteering into her career.

 At just 29, Kara Cook (pictured centre) is the principal solicitor of the Women’s Legal Service, a Brisbane organisation that provides free legal advice to women on family law or domestic violence matters.

Ms Cook previously spent five years as a volunteer for the service while working in private practice.

In 2012, she took the plunge and joined the organisation as a full-time lawyer, being promoted to principal solicitor in 2013.

“Access to justice has always been a passion of mine and for me, the work I do…is incredibly rewarding,” Ms Cook said.

According to Women’s Legal Service coordinator Rosslyn Monro, Ms Cook has been instrumental in expanding the volunteer program, putting unpaid lawyers and paralegals to use in a wider variety of roles.

“The volunteer program at WLS provides one-third of the services received by women at WLS and equates to $711,000 in pro bono assistance,” Ms Monro said. The expansion of the volunteer program has enabled WLS to direct scarce public funds to our most vulnerable clients.

Ms Cook is also actively involved in the legal community, sitting on the Queensland Law Society Council, the board of the Queensland Law Foundation and fundraising for the Melanoma Institute of Australia.

However, lawyers at major firms can also have a significant impact on the pro bono sector, as proved by the other 30 Under 30 category winners, Philippa Macaskill from King & Wood Mallesons (pictured left) and James Johnston from Ashurst (pictured right).

Ms Macaskill is a solicitor in the dispute resolution team, but is also actively responsible for coordinating several pro bono initiatives, dedicating 400 hours to it in the past 12 months.

She is an accredited international criminal investigator and has participated in actions by the International Crimes Evidence Project. She is also acting for three Nauru detainees who have lodged complaints to the Australian Human Rights Commission, is the national co-ordinator for the National Children’s & Youth Law Centre and manages KWM’s child protection work.

Meanwhile, Mr Johnston juggles his role in Ashurst’s employment, workplace relations and safety practice with his work at the Queensland Public Interest Clearing House (QPILCH).

Within QPILCH, he has worked with the LegalPod program, helping disadvantaged adolescents transitioning out of state care, as well as the Homeless Persons Legal Clinic and the Self-Represented Litigants’ Service.


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

Pro bono becomes full-time vocation
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Scales of Justice, ALA, right-to-die law
Oct 24 2017
‘Right-to-die’ laws would be a relief for terminally ill: ALA
The passage of an assisted dying bill through the lower house of Victorian Parliament has been haile...
Oct 24 2017
Diversity top of agenda for future WA Law Society president
The advancement of diversity in the Western Australian legal profession will be one of the key items...
Oct 23 2017
How to fail well
The legal profession is due for an attitude adjustment when it comes to perceived failures, accordin...
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 & ...