HOLDING REDLICH has appointed its first national director of pro bono to better coordinate the firm’s pro bono activities and involve more of the firm’s lawyers in the work.
Linda Rubinstein started her new job in the firm’s Melbourne office at the beginning of February after working for 12 years as a senior industrial officer with the ACTU where she was responsible for industrial relations legislation and superannuation.
As well as assisting the work of the firm’s pro bono committee, she said one of her first tasks will be creating guidelines setting out the kind of pro bono work Holding Redlich will undertake, as well as developing relationships with the Public Interest Law Clearing House and other organisations such as the Castan Centre for Human Rights at Melbourne University.
“I think a priority will be ensuring that [our lawyers] know what is being done, that there is a clear decision process. I am also keen to try and get the pro bono work [allocated] broadly throughout the firm.”
She said, for instance, there is a lot of work that can be done related to property and media technology. “There are a lot of community organisations and NGOs that require assistance with all sorts of transactions; assistance with leases and contracts and employment matters, for example.”
Chris Lovell, managing partner, Holding Redlich, said pro bono work had always been an “integral part of our practice”, but said they would benefit by having someone dedicated to it’s supervision. “We have a number of new solicitors, as well as others who have been with the firm for some time, who are keen to work for the less fortunate members of our society. Linda will assist in sourcing and distributing the work.”
The firm said its present clients include asylum seekers, Aboriginal groups and organisations working for social justice and equal opportunity. In the past, Holding Redlich has worked for the Tampa boat people, the Wilderness Society and members of the ‘stolen generation’.