Salvos Legal, a recently established law firm run by the Salvation Army, is close to fulfilling its dream of creating a self-sufficient pro bono legal service, says the firm's general counsel Luke Geary.
Geary, the driving force behind Salvos Legal which was established in Sydney's Surry Hills earlier this year, said he is finalising negotiations with an accredited property partner and a conveyancer who will come on board and form the transactional arm of the firm.
Geary's aim is to establish a series of firms across Australia comprising a transactional legal arm and a humanitarian legal arm.
Under the business model, profits derived from the firm's transactional services will fund the salaries of the lawyers who carry out pro bono work.
"The commercial stuff is, in one sense, a means to an end, but in another sense it is an opportunity to offer the community participation in a social enterprise," Geary told Lawyers Weekly.
"We want to share with all the mums and dads out there the opportunity they will have - without it costing anything - to help someone who's in a time of difficulty."
The idea behind Salvos Legal is based on the philosophies of Salvation Army founder William Booth, who in 1890 penned The Poor Man's Lawyer, which advocates the model that Geary is now implementing.
And Geary is confident that the model will work, thus removing his current reliance on volunteer lawyers and creating a self-sustaining legal service.
"At the moment our volunteers are working for no money, but I don't want to have to rely on that, because we will lose them to other firms that can pay them, and that would be a tragedy," he said.
"I'm hopeful that we will be welcome in the business community. We've got the goodwill, but we really need to show people that we can help them in a very professional and first class way. On paper it works very well, and I am just really excited about what it is going to look like when we open our doors."