find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Competition, Policy & Regulatory
Category: Other | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Work with a well regarded Partner · Sydney CBD
View details
Commercial Litigation Senior Associate
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Lawyers Weekly Australia Partner of the Year 2016, Insolvency
View details
MULTIPLEX Regional Legal Counsel (Vic) | 7 to 10 years + PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Career defining in-house role · Tier One international contractor
View details
Junior Lawyer - Personal Injury Law
Category: Personal Injury Law | Location: Parramatta & Western Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Highly specialized practice · Challenging role with great opportunities
View details
IR Advisor/Member Advocate
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: St Leonards NSW 2065
· Permanent (0.8-1.0 FTE) role in a developing team
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:

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

Most pro bono signatories fail to hit mark
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Human body, illegal organ trafficking, ALHR
Sep 22 2017
Australia poised to combat illegal organ harvesting: ALHR
The Australian Lawyers for Human Rights are calling for changes to the law so that organ trafficking...
Online service, barristers, BarristerSELECT, Stephen Foley
Sep 22 2017
New online service leverages barristers’ clerks to aid briefing
A new online tool has been launched to help NSW solicitors find the most suitable barristers for the...
NSW District Court judge, Tim Gartelmann SC, next appointment,
Sep 22 2017
Silk replaces outgoing NSW District Court judge
A barrister has been named as the next appointment to the NSW District Court, following the retireme...
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 & ...