find the latest legal job
Part Time Risk & Compliance Officer
Category: Other | Location: Brisbane QLD 4000
· Brisbane City · Flexible Part Time Hours
View details
Infrastructure Lawyer/SA
Category: Construction Law | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Global elite law firm · Dedicated Infrastructure team
View details
Property Lawyer
Category: Property Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· 12 Month Contract · Diverse Work
View details
Family Lawyer
Category: Family Law | Location: Eastern Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Boutique Firm · Great Reputation
View details
Infrastructure Lawyers
Category: Construction Law | Location: All Perth WA
· We'd be particularly interested to hear from you if you were a lawyer who knows your way around the infrastructure and energy sectors.
View details
Big firms urged to take on bigger pro bono role

Big firms urged to take on bigger pro bono role

PRO BONO services in western Sydney fall heavily on the legal profession, according to an expert group at the University of Western Sydney.It is time the enormous workload is spread more evenly,…

PRO BONO services in western Sydney fall heavily on the legal profession, according to an expert group at the University of Western Sydney.

It is time the enormous workload is spread more evenly, commentators have argued, and for large firms to take on an even greater role.

The Australian Expert Group in Industry Studies at the university is investigating the way legal services are provided in the Macarthur, Parramatta and Southern Highland areas. A survey is being sent to 347 firms in the region with a view to exploring alternative and more efficient means by which those who can do something share the burden of pro bono work.

Access to justice could be improved if interested stakeholders, including small firms, community legal centres, large city firms and the University of Western Sydney share the work more evenly, said the chief investigator on the project, Sebastian De Brennan.

“Research to date demonstrates that the demand for pro bono services is a demand that falls unequally on the legal profession. While practitioners in the suburbs tend to spend more time on pro bono matters than their larger counterparts, they are often in a worse financial position to take on non-paying work,” De Brennan said.

The firms that can best afford it, the big law firms, generally specialise in areas that don’t lend themselves as well to pro bono work, De Brennan said. These big firms are more inclined to focus on commercial and corporate law, which cannot be as useful for pro bono work, he said.

The University of Western Sydney recently launched a program aimed at matching final year volunteer law students with public interest organisations, charities and lawyers needing assistance to manage their pro bono workloads. The program, based on a Canadian model, is called Pro Bono Students Australia.

Legal aid is in a “dire state”, according to De Brennan. “Lawyers are finding it difficult to meet the ever increasing demand for pro bono legal services,” he said.

“Although increased government funding for access to justice initiatives is the only viable solution, we want lawyers and charities to know that we have a bunch of bright volunteer law students here ready to do whatever they can — whether that be performing some legal research for a pro bono matter, or running some documents down to the local court,” he said.

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

Big firms urged to take on bigger pro bono role
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Violence
Nov 17 2017
It's time for politicians to commit to eradicating domestic violence
The national shame of domestic violence cannot be left unaddressed, writes Christine Smyth. ...
Nov 16 2017
From lawyer in law firm to senior governance professional
Promoted by Governance Institute of Australia As a law graduate, Kate Griffiths never imagined...
marriage equality
Nov 16 2017
Legislation the next hurdle for marriage equality
Lawyers have underscored the importance of ensuring same-sex marriage legislation does not limit ant...
APPOINTMENTS
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'...
opinion
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...
Help
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 & ...