find the latest legal job
Corporate/Commercial Lawyers (2-5 years PAE)
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Specialist commercial law firm · Long-term career progression
View details
Graduate Lawyer / Up to 1.5 yr PAE Lawyer
Category: Personal Injury Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Mentoring Opportunity in Regional QLD · Personal Injury Law
View details
Corporate and Commercial Partner
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Full time · Join a leading Adelaide commercial law firm
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Sydney NSW
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
Pro bono report reveals increase

Pro bono report reveals increase

The latest report from the National Pro Bono Resource Centre (NPBRC) reveals that hours dedicated to pro bono work at law firm signatories of the Centre's "aspirational target" are on the…

The latest report from the National Pro Bono Resource Centre (NPBRC) reveals that hours dedicated to pro bono work at law firm signatories of the Centre's "aspirational target" are on the increase.

When, in early 2006, the NPBRC introduced the idea of an "Aspirational Target" of hours that lawyers should aim to commit to each year, the plan seemed extremely ambitious.

Law firms wishing to sign up to the Target would need to ensure that their lawyers on average achieved at least 35 hours of pro bono work per year.

But over the last financial year lawyers covered by the Target have exceeded this ambition. In a report made public last Friday, the NPBRC revealed that lawyers who have signed up to the Target achieved an average of 41.9 hours of pro bono work over the last financial year, up from the average 39.8 hours of the year before.

However, only 41 of the 66 signatories (62 per cent) reported on their pro bono performance against the Target - a point that the NPBRC clarifies by indicating that they accounted for about 95 per cent of the total legal professionals covered by the Target.

John Corker, director of the National Pro Bono Resource Centre, said the report indicates the Target is working. He said the fact that many lawyers are exceeding the Target is "an impressive contribution to improving access to justice for many who are unable to obtain legal assistance elsewhere".

It's a giant leap forward for the profession, and for the NPBRC, which, in just a few short years, has managed to not only have 66 signatories for the Target covering about 5700 lawyers - including nine law firm signatories with more than 100 lawyers - but also to well and truly exceed the Target.

Corker said the seven of the nine large main law firms that exceeded the Target averaged 45.2 hours of pro bono work per lawyer over the period - jointly providing almost 180,000 hours.

Also impressive is the fact that, with the addition of some prominent firms as signatories to the Target, the number of lawyers covered has almost doubled since the last financial year. This increase could also be attributed to a commitment by the Commonwealth Government, which in July 2008 required all government agencies to take into consideration whether a firm was a signatory to the Target when procuring legal services.

"The Commonwealth is using its purchasing power to encourage pro bono legal services, whilst still embracing the voluntaristic ethic of pro bono," said Corker. "The Victorian Government tender scheme has also been successful in encouraging firms to provide pro bono. It's time for other governments to introduce similar schemes."

While the NPBRC is quick to point out that the Target is well and truly voluntary, participants must sign a Statement of Principles outlining their commitment to aspire to the 35 hours of pro bono legal work per lawyer per year. Signatories are then required to report back to the centre on the performance against the Target, with the centre, in turn, promising to publish performance information within three months of the end of each financial year.

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

Pro bono report reveals increase
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Dec 18 2017
Summer in the city
Across Australia, a number of law students have kicked off their commercial law aspirations with the...
microscope
Dec 18 2017
‘Exorbitant legal fees’ under government microscope
With the growing number of class action proceedings in Australia, the government is looking at how ...
Funds, money, cash
Dec 18 2017
Law Access WA receives welcome funding
Law Access Western Australia has received a grant from the state government to fund its pro bono leg...
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 & ...