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
LIV award recongises pro bono acheivements

LIV award recongises pro bono acheivements

Baker & McKenzie Melbourne partner Ken Gray has been awarded the Law Institution of Victoria (LIV) President’s Pro Bono Award.The annual LIV awards recognise excellence and outstanding…

Baker & McKenzie Melbourne partner Ken Gray has been awarded the Law Institution of Victoria (LIV) President’s Pro Bono Award.

The annual LIV awards recognise excellence and outstanding achievements by legal practitioners, and are open to Victoria’s 14,200 lawyers.

Gary is head of the firm’s Banking and Finance practice in Australia, and the partner in charge of Baker & McKenzie’s Peter MacCallum Cancer Patients’ Legal Service. He was nominated for his extensive pro bono work with the Peter MacCallum Foundation (Peter Mac) and Infoxchange Australia.

In particular, Gray has been instrumental in lobbying the Government to change laws so that terminally ill patients can access their superannuation, insurance and other entitlements.

The Government introduced a new tax concession for terminally ill patients in September 2007. However, Gray said, the current definition of terminally ill remains problematic. “To allow the terminally ill a tax concession they had to define terminally ill, and they did consult on that and we put in a submission, but they came up with a definition that basically says two doctors have to certify that you are not going to live for more than 12 months.”

The difficulty of gaining consensus from two medical experts, as well as predicting the life expectancy of the terminally ill means that many people will still not be able to access their full superannuation entitlements, Gray said.

“The point we’ve always made is that superannuation is there for retirement and tax free to people in retirement, and we think for someone who is not going to live to 60 should get the money tax free to do what anybody in retirement would do with it.”

More broadly, Gray said, the success of the firm’s work with not-for-profit institutions such as Peter Mac bodes well for the development of pro bono in the legal sector.

“I guess the key evolution of it has been that, you know, the old-fashioned model was just to ship some young lawyers out to legal centres or respond to ad-hoc requests from other organisations, and we still do quite a lot of that. But where it’s evolved is to establish kind of stronger institutional relationships with organisations in the not-for-profit sector.”

The other key development has been the increased emphasis on professional management of pro bono services offered by the firm.

“Our pro bono clients get and deserve exactly the same level of service as our paying clients. Our pro bono clients are not second class clients who get attention when the lawyers have nothing else to do, it’s very important that they be treated in all respects as clients, so a lot of it is managing everything from client intake to making sure the lawyers have the right skills sets to do the particular sorts of work,” he said.

As for the accolade from the LIV, Gray said the award was appreciated but not as rewarding as the work itself.

“The point I make to most people is that we get actually a lot more out of doing pro bono work than we ever put into it.”

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

LIV award recongises pro bono acheivements
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Oct 23 2017
How to fail well
The legal profession is due for an attitude adjustment when it comes to perceived failures, accordin...
Oct 23 2017
Lawyers slam rushed consultation for SA repeat offenders bill
The Law Society of South Australia has expressed concern for a proposal to roll out new laws amendin...
Oct 23 2017
The pursuit of happiness in the law
A panel of legal experts have explored how to define success in the legal profession, and how lawyer...
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 & ...