find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (3-5 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Dynamic organisation ·
View details
Legal Counsel
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: North Sydney NSW 2060
· 18 month fixed term contract · 3-5 years PQE with TMT exposure
View details
Pro bono head laments mid-tier efforts

Pro bono head laments mid-tier efforts

The head of the Pro Bono Resource Centre has called on mid-tier firms to work harder to promote a pro bono culture.John Corker, the director of the National Pro Bono Resource Centre, said there…

The head of the Pro Bono Resource Centre has called on mid-tier firms to work harder to promote a pro bono culture.

John Corker, the director of the National Pro Bono Resource Centre, said there was a "hole in the middle" with regard to pro bono work in Australia, with large firms devoting more hours to pro bono work than many of their mid sized rivals.

"Next year, I will be spending more time with mid-tier firms on how they can develop and improve and better manage their pro bono practices," Corker said

The head of the Pro Bono Resource Centre was speaking to Lawyers Weekly after the release of a survey earlier this month by the Resource Centre.

The survey sought responses from Australia's 39 law firms employing 50 or more lawyers, with 29 firms participating, including the six "top-tier" firms. Corker said that one notable finding of the survey was that larger firms fostered a pro bono culture more readily than many mid-tier firms.

"The obvious thing [from the survey] is the 'hole in the middle'," he said. "A lot of the mid-tier firms aren't doing much pro bono work at all."

The survey revealed that for the 2009-2010 financial year, the average amount of pro bono work done per lawyer across the 24 firms that were able to provide figures was 29 hours.

For the most recent survey, the median number of pro bono hours per lawyer was 27.6, up from 21 in 2008.

While that was still short of the National Aspirational Target of 35 hours annually per lawyer, it was a significant increase on the previous survey in 2008.

The survey revealed that 17 of the 27 firms with billable hours or financial targets gave full credit for pro bono work in meeting those targets, with 90 per cent of participant firms also recognising pro bono work in performance appraisals.

Of the 13 participant firms who are signatories to the National Pro Bono Aspirational Target, seven met or exceeded that target for the 2010 financial year. The survey showed that firms who had signed up to the target had a higher average amount of pro bono work per lawyer than participant firms who have not signed the target.

As of 30 June, 37 firms were signatories to the Aspirational Target.

The most common areas where firms provided pro bono advice was employment law (83%), deductible gift recipient applications (72%) and administrative / constitutional law (72%). Family law, excluding domestic violence (21%) and personal injury (17%), were amongst the lowest practice areas.

Corker said an encouraging feature of the report was the increased time firms were spending on international and regional pro bono initiatives. He also indicated that in 2011, the Resource Centre would seek to increase its involvement and use of mediation in pro bono services, with a number of mediators approaching the Centre to do pro bono work.

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 head laments mid-tier efforts
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
LCA president Fiona McLeod SC
Aug 17 2017
Where social fault lines meet the justice gap in Aus
After just returning from a tour of the Northern Territory, LCA president Fiona McLeod SC speaks wit...
Marriage equality flag
Aug 17 2017
ALHR backs High Court challenge to marriage equality postal vote
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) has voiced its support for a constitutional challenge to ...
Give advice
Aug 17 2017
A-G issues advice on judiciary’s public presence
Commonwealth Attorney-General George Brandis QC has offered his advice on the public presence of jud...
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 & ...