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
Lawyers not so greedy?

Lawyers not so greedy?

SEEKING TO dissolve the view that lawyers are greedy and only do work to get richer, Arnold Bloch Leibler has released a public interest law audit report railing against the…

SEEKING TO dissolve the view that lawyers are greedy and only do work to get richer, Arnold Bloch Leibler has released a public interest law audit report railing against the “misconceptions” surrounding lawyers and work that benefits society.

Acknowledging that the firm had a strong ethos, Arnold Bloch Leibler public interest law partner Peter Seidel said the firm hoped to “encourage more debate and discussion about law firms committing to public interest law work” by being direct and open about the firm’s successes in this area.

On another level, the firm aims to debunk the perception that lawyers are only in the profession for the money. “This whole misconception is undeserved,” Seidel said.

Late last year, Arnold Bloch Leibler’s personnel were asked to complete various audit reports aimed at documenting all public interest law work undertaken over the 2002/03 financial year. Partners and staff were asked to assess a number of factors in their responses, including whether it had been a matter of broad legal significance.

Also, personnel were asked whether many people were affected by the outcome of the matter and whether a fundamental justice question was at stake.

It was discovered that the equivalent of approximately $1.2 million was devoted by the firm to public interest law work, or in excess of 3,500 hours.

The firm has long been dedicated to general cultural, social justice and environmental organisations, as well as being a supporter of Jewish charitable organisations. “We believe there is a strong cultural fit between our firm and indigenous causes,” Seidel told Lawyers Weekly.

Approximately 40 per cent of the firm’s public interest law work in the two year period to July 2003 had concerned social and general charitable initiatives. About a quarter of their public interest law commitment had been directed towards supporting Indigenous causes. Environmental causes made up 11 per cent and Jewish causes 19 per cent.

“When the firm started 50 years ago most of our initial clients were escaping war-torn Europe. So there is a sense of justice, of maintaining integrity and a natural resonance with indigenous causes because of this,” he said.

Pressed as to whether the firm had analysed what actual public benefits had been provided by the pro bono work they were doing, Seidel did not explain whether any system had been put in place to determine the more needy clients. However, he said that “when representing people who are marginalised, we don’t force our view upon them, we assist to give the outcomes they want”.

“We listen to our clients, we listen to them to support them with ground-up solutions,” Seidel added.

Admitting that some people may see this as rhetoric, he added that “it is not, the motivation of the report is to challenge all of us to do more of this work”.

The firm provided financial support to community causes through donations and by providing academic sponsorship. It stated this was done as part of its general responsibility to society, which it treats separately from its public law contributions.

Pointing out that it was hard to say whether Australian firms do enough public interest work, Seidel said they “do a lot”, but that “it could be better harnessed”.

“We understand our duty to civil society and we want to reinforce this in the community.

“When we measure what we’ve done we set the bar for others, including ourselves,” Seidel said.

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

Lawyers not so greedy?
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Lawyers welcome same-sex marriage reform
Dec 11 2017
Lawyers welcome same-sex marriage reform
Australian lawyers have welcomed the recent legalisation of same-sex marriage, after a prolonged nat...
Senate disallows double standards for temporary visa holders
Dec 8 2017
Senate disallows double standards for temporary visa holders
Lawyers have welcomed the Senate’s rejection of regulations imposing strict penalties on temporary...
Handcuffs, freedom
Dec 7 2017
Queensland clocks up more breach of bail offences
A new report about sentencing trends in Queensland shows the number of offenders who have been sente...
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 & ...