find the latest legal job
Freelance Project Finance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Australia
· Vario are looking for freelance lawyers with experience in project finance ideally within the renewable energy sector
View details
Vario Freelance Lawyers
Category: Construction Law | Location: All Australia
· We are looking for lawyers who appreciate the endless possibilities that a freelance career can offer.
View details
Freelance Construction Lawyers
Category: Construction Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· We are looking for construction lawyers who appreciate the endless possibilities that a freelance career can offer.
View details
Banking Associate - 1-6PQE - Allen & Overy
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: United Kingdom
· Banking Associate - 1-6 PQE - Allen & Overy
View details
Academic Dean and Head of School of the TC Beirne School of Law
Category: Other | Location: Brisbane QLD 4000
· An outstanding opportunity · Provide educational, research and organisational leadership
View details
Most pro bono signatories fail to hit mark

Most pro bono signatories fail to hit mark

Less than half of the signatories to the National Pro Bono Aspirational Target managed to attain the minimum amount of hours prescribed by the scheme.The Fourth Performance Report on the target,…

Less than half of the signatories to the National Pro Bono Aspirational Target managed to attain the minimum amount of hours prescribed by the scheme.

The Fourth Performance Report on the target, released by the National Pro Bono Resource Centre yesterday (5 October), showed that of the 82.5 per cent of signatory firms who reported on their performance, only 45.5 per cent contributed more than 35 hours per lawyer per annum.

Centre director John Corker told Lawyers Weekly he was neither satisfied nor dissatisfied with the results, and said that he hoped the "visibility" of the pro bono contributions would inspire more firms to sign up to the target.

"We think [the report] is important for the visibility of a really vital, ethical value of the legal profession," he said. "This is a vehicle for raising that visibility."

Despite the failure of many firms to reach the minimum requirement, the amount of signatories to the target continues to grow, and many firms are contributing above and beyond expectations.

"Many signatories exceed [the target], and some even double it," said Corker.

"The eight law firm signatories with more than 50 lawyers that met the Target averaged 48.6 hours per lawyer per annum and jointly provided almost 180,000 hours of pro bono work last year. However there is still a lot of variation in performance amongst the 13 large firms who reported."

According to Corker, the failure of some firms to reach the target may be due to the economic downturn.

"Whilst the legal profession weathered the economic downturn quite well, the effects of it are still being felt by some," he said.

Corker was unable to reveal which law firms had performed the best, as the majority of firms had indicated that they did not want pro bono contributions developing into a league table-type scenario.

"That is quite a strongly-held view in most of the firms," he said. "We are not trying to point out who is doing better. Some will argue that [doing so] may inspire others, but others will say that it is the wrong motivation for pro bono."

According to the report, this year's top performing firm has just three lawyers, who all did an average of 240 hours of pro bono work last year.

According to Corker, small firms continue to perform strongly in this area and, while the statistics tend to reflect a greater effort on the part of small firms, Corker said it is difficult to compare the contributions of small and larger firms.

"Smaller firms and sole practitioners ... do more than their fair share of pro bono work each year," he said.

"But pro bono for small firms and sole practitioners is a very different thing ... It is quite a commitment in the sense that the capacity of a small firm is less to accommodate particularly significant pro bono matters. If you are a small practitioner and you get involved in a pro bono matter, there is likely to be quite a lot of hours involved in it. You don't have the luxury of being able to share the work around that exists in a larger firm."

Like this story? Read more:

Book commemorates diamond milestone for WA law society

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

Most pro bono signatories fail to hit mark
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Lawyers take to Twitter to share career stories
Jan 22 2018
Lawyers take to Twitter to share career stories
The #mypathtolaw hashtag has been embraced by legal eagles to swap stories with the Twitter communit...
Jan 22 2018
Legal body disappointed with DPP emails leaked to tabloid
The NSW Bar Association has expressed “profound disappointment” over leaked emails from the NSW ...
Gavel, legal book, criminal lawyers
Jan 19 2018
Three criminal lawyers named NSW magistrates
The NSW Attorney-General has announced the appointment of three new local court magistrates. ...
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 & ...