Clayton Utz has pledged to maintain the level of funding and pro bono assistance it gives to Indigenous organisations and those supporting Indigenous students.
As part of the firm's reconciliation action plan (RAP ) for 2011/12, Clayton Utz identified 18 objectives, measurable by June 2012, to build cultural awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, strengthen indigenous ties within the firm's pro bono practice and create educational opportunities for young Indigenous people.
The firm launched its RAP in March last year, following Arnold Bloch Leibler and Gilbert + Tobin which launched RAPs in 2008. Clayton Utz has since implemented a number of initiatives, the details of which are included in the firm's annual progress report 2010/11 released this week.
Through a national RAP working group, which included people from each of Clayton Utz's offices with varying backgrounds and areas of expertise, 12 partners and staff participated with the Australian Red Cross in Remote Communities Holiday Programs on Groote Eylandt and the Tiwi Islands, engaging with young local Indigenous students in 2010/11.
In 2010/11 the firm has more than doubled its grants made to Indigenous organisations and organisations supporting Indigenous students in the past; provided legal assistance to 106 Indigenous clients (representing 15% of the firm's pro bono clients); worked with Indigenous and community partners to launch an art exhibition on Groote Eylandt; and increased the provision of scholarships to Indigenous youth, awarding a student from the Kimberley region of Western Australia the inaugural Clayton Utz Indigenous Scholarship.
Brisbane partner Alan Maguire, who is overseeing the firm's RAP commitments and will assume the role of Brisbane partner-in-charge in January next year, said the past year has laid the foundation upon which the success of Clayton Utz's RAP can be built.