Firms partner up for pro bono success
A new breed of pro bono programs sees firms teaming up with other organisations to deliver much-needed support to the community.
Among the finalists in the Australian Law Awards Pro Bono Program of the Year category was King & Wood Mallesons’ Lawmail service.
The firm joined with Telstra and ASIC to support the National Children’s and Youth Law Centre in an initiative providing free legal advice to young people online.
Young Australians are able to send emails about their legal problems to the centre’s team of volunteers, which are then answered by a team of lawyers from KWM.
The project provides a confidential, anonymous and safe forum for young people to access legal information.
Maurice Blackburn is another firm that has taken an innovative approach, establishing a clinic within the Alfred Hospital in alliance with the Monash University Michael Kirby Centre for Public Health and Human Rights.
The clinic, known as the Health Legal Partnership Patient Legal Clinic, provides pro bono assistance to patients in all areas but medical negligence.
Also on a pro bono basis Maurice Blackburn took on an action on behalf of 110 Australian-born children living in detention centres, which resulted in all being released while their claims for asylum were assessed.
Meanwhile, K&L Gates worked with the Kaleidoscope Australia Human Rights Foundation to draft a best-practice guide for determining refugee applications on the basis of gender or sexual orientation persecution.
The firm not only believes that providing reliable guidance on this topic is a world-first, but that it also allows advocates and NGOs to effectively advocate for asylum seekers.
Other finalists recognised for their exciting pro bono initiatives include Colin Biggers & Paisley, Salvos Legal, Sparke Helmore, TressCox and the Robina Community Legal Centre.
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