CLAYTON UTZ has been recognised for its achievement in providing pro bono services to Autism Queensland.
The firm picked up the Autism Queensland Professional Achievement Award at the second annual Autism Queensland Creative Futures Recognition Awards held recently at Government House in Brisbane.
The award, which was presented by the Governor of Queensland, Ms Quentin Bryce, was accepted on behalf of the firm by pro bono partner David Hillard and solicitor and Brisbane pro bono co-ordinator Samantha Lentell.
Autism Queensland is a community-based not-for-profit association that provides services to children and adults with Autism Spectrum disorder. The annual awards, which coincide with Autism Awareness Week, recognise the contributions of individuals and organisations to the Autism community.
According to Lentell, Clayton Utz has had a longstanding relationship with Autism Queensland, but over the last few years has stepped up the volume of pro bono work it does for the organisation.
“There’s been at least five key matters that we’ve undertaken with [Autism Queensland] and they have involved various groups throughout the firm — including the government group, workplace relations group, property group and corporate group. So it has really been across the firm,” she said.
David Hillard, the firm’s full-time pro bono partner, is based in Sydney, and the firm also has pro bono co-ordinators — also full time lawyers — located in each office.
Lentell explained that through the firm’s pro bono program, the firm provides services on a pro bono basis to disadvantaged individuals, as well as associations such as Autism Australia who assist people with mental or physical disabilities.
She said that Autism Queensland is of particular significance to the firm. “There are some people within the firm that have a personal, specific interest in Autism Queensland,” she said.
“We’ve recognised that we want to do pro bono work through the firm and part of that involves doing work for organisations like Autism Queensland, as well as for individuals that need help as well.”