South Australian lawyers are providing the community with $10 million worth of pro bono and legal aid work every year, according to a survey conducted by the Law Society of South Australia (LSSA).
The survey results released today found that SA legal practitioners provided $4.6 million worth of free or reduced fee work, $3.32 million of legal aid contributions and $2.24 million in honorary, community and law society duties - equating to approximately 53,000 hours of work.
In a statement released following the results, LSSA president Richard Mellows expressed his satisfaction with the figures.
"We now have tangible evidence of the extent to which members of the South Australian legal profession are contributing to the provision of vital legal services to those in need," he said.
"The results ... indicate that the profession is committed to providing a higher level of access to justice for all."
Speaking to Lawyers Weekly, Tim Graham, executive director of pro bono clearinghouse JusticeNet SA, said he too was delighted with the survey results.
"It tells a really good story about the commitment of the profession to pro bono in South Australia. It shows that lawyers are doing their fair share," he said.
"There is an enormous amount of good will amongst the profession and that is reflected in the rapidly growing number of member firms we have and the very strong support we have from the independent bar in South Australia."
John Corker, head of the National Pro Bono Resource Centre, added that he applauds the profession in South Australia for their efforts, and would urge lawyers to get behind JusticeNet.
According to the LSSA, approximately 20 per cent of South Australia's 3356 legal professionals responded to the survey.
- Claire Chaffey