Updates from the Centre

The Importance of Inculcating the ‘Pro Bono Ethos’ in Law Students, and the Opportunities to Do It Better

Former Centre CEO, John Corker, has written a compelling article that argues the importance of instilling a pro bono ethos in law students on their journey from law school to lawyer, suggesting ways that we might do this better.

Read more here.

Inaugural Asia Pro Bono Virtual Conference & Access to Justice Exchange

The Centre was delighted to recently participate in the Inaugural Asia Pro Bono Virtual Conference & Access to Justice Exchange (September 24-28, 2020). The theme for this year’s conference was Pro Bono in a Transitioning Environment. The Centre’s Head of Policy and Strategy facilitated the session on The Transitioning Environment of In-House Counsel Pro Bono.

Read more here and watch a recording of the session here.

Why lawyers have stepped up on pro bono

PODCAST: The Centre CEO and Head of Policy & Strategy recently joined Jerome Doraisamy from Lawyers Weekly to discuss the extraordinary volume of pro bono work that lawyers have completed this past year, the impact of the bushfire season and then COVID-19 upon pro bono, and how such community work will become easier for lawyers to undertake in the ‘new normal’.

Click here to hear the podcast.

Pro Bono Guide for Individual Lawyers

The Centre has published a Pro Bono Guide for Individual Lawyers which lists a wide range of exciting opportunities available to lawyers wishing to donate pro bono time in a personal capacity, including at community legal centres, independent not-for-profit legal services, through State and Territory referral organisations and via global networks.

Read the Lawyers Weekly article here.

Target signatories report record number of pro bono hours

Despite unprecedented challenges in the last financial year the Australian legal profession has demonstrated a growing dedication to pro bono legal work, according to the 13th Annual Performance Report on the National Pro Bono Target released by the Centre today. Australian lawyers reported a record number of 551,427.5 pro bono hours and an average of 36.4 hours of pro bono legal services per lawyer in 2020 financial year.

Read the media release here and the Lawyers Weekly article here.

Pro Bono Guide to the Climate Crisis

The Centre has released a new guide illustrating the many different ways that lawyers can undertake pro bono work to tackle the global climate crisis.

Click here to read the guide, which includes descriptions of 15 different pro bono activities, a range of compelling case studies from around the world, and advice on how to get started.

Growing Participation & Excellence in In-house Pro Bono

On Tuesday 11 August 2020, the Centre (along with the In-House Corporate Lawyers Committee of the Law Society of NSW) held a virtual event for in-house corporate and government lawyers to discuss and celebrate the opening of the National Pro Bono Target to in-house lawyers.

You can read more about the event here.

Announcing New Project - Justice Project: Pro Bono Tool

In Homelessness Prevention Week, the Australian Pro Bono Centre, with the endorsement of the Law Council of Australia, is pleased to announce the launch of its Justice Project: Pro Bono Tool, a new project in the Centre’s Sourcing Pro Bono Opportunities Initiative.

To view the Justice Project: Pro Bono Tool, click here.

To find out more about the whole initiative, click here.

National Pro Bono Target opens to in-house legal teams

On 1 July 2020 the Centre opened the National Pro Bono Target to in-house corporate and government legal team signatories to encourage and incentivise growth in in-house pro bono.

Read more in the Media Release and Lawyers Weekly article.

Pro Bono Voco Issue 3: June 2020

We are delighted to share the third edition of the Australian Pro Bono Centre’s online biannual publication, Pro Bono Voco. This edition features pro bono projects, profiles leaders within the community and provides updates on key developments.
Read the full publication here.

2020 Virtual Walks for Justice

On National Pro Bono Day (19 May 2020) Virtual Walks for Justice were held in Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia. These walks raised vital funds for access to justice organisations.

Read more here.

National Pro Bono Day 2020

On National Pro Bono Day we recognise the adaptability of the legal profession to help address unmet legal need in response to the bushfires and global pandemic. The Centre has highlighted a range of ways in which firms are innovating their service delivery, collaborating and sharing resources with each other to help meet the growing demand for legal services.

Read more here.

University of Queensland - School of Law interview on The Witness Box

University of Queensland Law students are conducting interviews in a weekly series called, The Witness Box. The Centre’s CEO, Gabriela Christian-Hare, recently talked about her career path, useful skills, adaptability and work-life harmony.

Click here to listen.

Centre speaks at Sydney University careers event

The Centre was delighted to speak to Sydney University law students at their Community Legal Centre Table Talk event on 29 April 2020.

You can read more about it here.

An increased role for pro bono in our post-COVID world

Scaling pro bono will be critical to ensuring the private sector fulfils its role in creating a more equitable and sustainable world post-COVID.

Read more here.

Western Australia: new pro bono requirements for government panel law firms

The Australian Pro Bono Centre welcomes new pro bono requirements that will apply to all law firms providing legal services to Western Australian government departments and agencies from 1 July 2020.

Read more here.

Centre appears before the Joint Select Committee on Australia’s Family Law System

On Friday 13 March 2020, the Centre appeared before the Committee in relation to its Inquiry into Australia’s Family Law System. It was an excellent opportunity for the Centre to advocate for more funding for legal assistance services.

You can read more here.

How should the pro bono community respond to COVID-19?

As the international response to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to develop, the pro bono community is rapidly determining how it prepares and responds.

The Centre has developed some guidance on how pro bono lawyers can respond constructively to the crisis, which you can access here.

New report reveals a significant increase in pro bono partners

The Australian Pro Bono Centre is pleased to have collaborated on a global study into the nature and prevalence of pro bono partner roles in firms, along with DLA Piper, the US Pro Bono Institute and the Thomson Reuters Foundation. The report is a helpful resource for law firms and pro bono lawyers seeking promotion.

To read the report, click here.

Finding new ways to undertake pro bono legal work

PODCAST: Centre CEO Gabriela Christian-Hare joined Jerome Doraisamy from Lawyers Weekly to discuss how Australian lawyers compare globally in the number of pro bono hours undertaken, why it’s necessary to allocate time to pro bono work on a regular basis and the most crucial factors to the success of a firm’s pro bono program.

Click here to listen to the podcast.

Issue 2 of Pro Bono Voco now available!

We are delighted to share the second edition of the Centre’s online biannual publication, Pro Bono Voco, for you to read and enjoy over the holidays. Pro Bono Voco highlights the tremendous work of the Australian pro bono community. We feature pro bono projects, profile leaders within the community, and provide updates on key developments.

Click here to view the full publication.

Growing areas of legal need and sector trends with Nic Patrick

PODCAST: Centre CEO Gabriela Christian-Hare sat down with Nic Patrick, Head of Pro Bono & Responsible Business at international law firm DLA Piper, on 10 December 2019 to discuss his predictions on growing areas of legal need and trend predictions for the legal sector and how they impact on pro bono.

Listen to the podcast here

Forum for In-house Corporate Lawyers

The Centre held Pro Bono Legal Work: A Forum for In-house Corporate Lawyers, kindly hosted by Ashurst, on 25 November. The forum aimed to inspire involvement in pro bono by in-house corporate lawyers, provide practical assistance, and share information and resources to develop and strengthen in-house pro bono practice.

Read more about the forum here.

Enabling Change at the 2019 PILnet Global Forum

The Centre was delighted to participate in the 2019 PILnet Global Forum in Singapore between 11-13 November 2019. The theme for this year’s forum was Engaging lawyers, Empowering Innovation, Enabling Change.

Read more about the forum here.

Annual Report 2018-2019

The Centre’s Annual Report for the 2019 financial year is now available! The report highlights the Centre’s work throughout FY2019. You can read the report here.

Our warmest thanks to all who generously gave their time to support the Centre’s work in FY2019.

Change of name: Community Legal Centres Australia

The National Association of Community Legal Centres (NACLC) has launched its new name – Community Legal Centres Australia. This change of name comes with a new logo and a new website. CLCs Australia can be found on Twitter @CLCsAustralia, and on Facebook at Community Legal Centres Australia.

PILnet and Justice Connect: Pro Bono Survey

PILnet and Justice Connect invite you to improve and support pro bono ecosystems by completing a short survey about your pro bono brokerage and use of technology. The results of this survey will be discussed during the upcoming PILnet Global Forum in November.

Please note that the survey closes on October 20, 2019.

Justice for All at the 2019 Asia Pro Bono Conference

The Centre was delighted to participate in the 8th Asia Pro Bono Conference in Kathmandu, Nepal between 13-15 September 2019. The theme for this year’s conference was Justice for All: Empower – Engage – Sustain.

Read more about the conference here.

Report shows record number of pro bono hours

There is a growing dedication to pro bono by Australian lawyers, according to the 12th Annual Performance Report on the National Pro Bono Target released by the Centre today. Australian lawyers reported a record number of 473,379.4 pro bono hours in the 2019 financial year.

Read the media release and the full report here.

Seminar Series: Bright Sparks Panel

The Women’s Legal Service is holding a seminar featuring the Bright Sparks Award Winners on 9 October at 5:30pm at Colin Biggers & Paisley. Gloria Larman, CEO, Women’s Justice Network and Renata Field, Project Coordinator, Domestic Violence NSW will be discussing and sharing their work.

Read more about the event here.

Australian Pro Bono and Skilled Volunteering Summit

The Australian Pro Bono Centre was delighted to attend and present at the Australian Pro Bono and Skilled Volunteering Summit held on 29 August 2019, sponsored by Ashurst, Macquarie, Westpac Foundation and Resonate Consulting.

Read more about the summit here.

Society of University Lawyers Pro Bono Panel

On Friday, 23 August 2019 the Centre’s CEO, Gabriela Christian-Hare, presented on pro bono at the Society of University Lawyers (SOUL) Eastern Region Meeting in Sydney.

Read more about the panel discussion here.

Farewell John Corker

DLA Piper hosted a farewell event on 22 August 2019 for John Corker, the Centre’s former CEO.

You can read more about this celebration of John’s career and legacy here.

Pro bono conditions in new Whole-of-Government Panel

MEDIA RELEASE: The Australian Pro Bono Centre welcomes the inclusion of a pro bono requirement in the new Commonwealth Whole-of-Government Legal Services Panel arrangements which commenced on Friday 16th August 2019.

Read the full media release here.

Global Pro Bono with Scott Cummings

PODCAST: In the Australian Pro Bono Centre’s first podcast, hear from UCLA Professor Scott Cummings, discussing his new book Global Pro Bono: Causes, Consequences and Contestation at a joint event held by the Centre and Ashurst, Sydney on Tuesday 13 August 2019.

This includes a Q&A with members of the Australian pro bono community, providing key insights into the development of pro bono in Australia. Listen to the podcast here

Lawyers Weekly - Australian Law Pro Bono Award 2019

Australian Government Solicitor (AGS) has been recognised for its outstanding pro bono contribution and received the Lawyers Weekly Australian Law Pro Bono Award at the awards night held on Friday 9 August 2019.

Congratulations AGS on the well-deserved recognition of its role in promoting access to justice. Read more about the award and AGS’s pro bono contribution  here.

National Pro Bono Target reporting due

Signatories to the National Pro Bono Target are required to report on pro bono legal work completed during the 2019 financial year. Responses are due by Friday 2 August 2019.

Please refer to the email sent to signatories on 8 July 2019 for more information, or contact info@aofalvdiandu.com.

Global Pro Bono: Lunch with Scott Cummings

The Centre and Ashurst invite you to hear Scott Cummings discuss his new book Global Pro Bono: Causes, Consequences and Contestation on 
Tuesday, 13 August from 12.45pm-2pm.

Scott Cummings is Professor of Legal Ethics and Professor of Law at UCLA, where he teaches and writes about the legal profession, public interest law, and law and social movements. Click here for more information and to register your attendance by 7 August 2019.

Professional Indemnity Insurance reporting due

If you are covered by the Centre’s Pro Bono Professional Indemnity Insurance Scheme, you are required to report on the hours of pro bono legal work undertaken on your approved project for the period 1 January to 30 June 2019. Responses are due on Wednesday 24 July 2019. 

Please refer to the email sent to you on 9 July 2019 for more information.

Centre Appoints New CEO

The Australian Pro Bono Centre is pleased to announce the appointment of Gabriela Christian-Hare as its new Chief Executive Officer

Gabriela has worked as Head of Policy and Strategy for the Centre since 2017. She will start her role as CEO in May 2019. Read the full Media Release here. 

National Pro Bono Day 2019

National Pro Bono Day is tomorrow, Tuesday 14 May 2019, as part of Law Week, providing an opportunity to celebrate the pro bono work undertaken by the Australian legal profession.

To celebrate National Pro Bono Day, the Australian Pro Bono Centre asked pro bono leaders across Australia to share their most memorable experiences.

Release of Government Lawyers Guide

The Centre’s new publication, Pro Bono Legal Work – A Guide for Government Lawyers, is an essential guide for individual government lawyers seeking involvement in pro bono legal work and government legal teams looking to establish, refine or expand in-house pro bono legal programs.

The Guide draws on the experience of government legal teams with existing pro bono policies and programs, and provides practical guidance to encourage and support government lawyers to pursue pro bono legal work.

National Pro Bono Day Video

Happy National Pro Bono Day from some of our National Pro Bono Aspirational Target signatories!

You can find more information on the Target and how to become a signatory here.

Law Firms Invest in Pro Bono

There is a growing dedication to, and maturity in, pro bono legal practice among the largest firms in Australia, according to the Report on the Sixth National Law Firm Pro Bono Survey — Australian firms with fifty or more lawyers released 18 February 2019.

New from the Centre

MEDIA RELEASE: Experts to team up with pro bono lawyers

ExpertsDirect Pro Bono is a new service just launched for lawyers that aims to put them in touch with experts in a myriad of fields who are prepared to offer their services for free or at low cost in matters where the lawyer is acting on a pro bono basis. ExpertsDirect will be providing their services, including their Research, Case Management and Quality Assurance Teams, on a pro bono basis for participating pro bono law firms.

See the full media release.

11th Annual Report of the National Pro Bono Target (2018)

The 11th October 2018 marks the release of the 11th Annual Performance Report on the National Pro Bono Target.

Please read the full report here.

MEDIA RELEASE: Review of community legal centres recognises importance of resourcing to leverage pro bono support

The Australian Pro Bono Centre welcomes the announcement today by the NSW Government of new funding for Community Legal Centres (CLCs) in NSW based on the recommendations of the 2017 Review of NSW Community Legal Centre Services led by Mr Alan Cameron AO (Review Report) also released today.

See the full media release.

2018 Target reporting and Law Firm Pro Bono Survey now LIVE

It’s now time for signatories to the National Pro Bono Target to submit their reporting for the 2018 financial year. Click here to access the online form. **Reporting is due before Friday 24 August 2018**

The 6th Biennial National Law Firm Pro Bono Survey is also now open for submissions from Australian law firms with 50 or more full-time equivalent lawyers. Survey available here.

Australian Pro Bono News Issue 128: July 2018

Check out the latest edition of our Australian Pro Bono News for the latest case studies, reports, updates and more on pro bono and access to justice in Australia and around the world. This issue features highlights from Walks for Justice and other National Pro Bono Day activities.

Read it here.

Changes to the National Pro Bono Target take effect 1 July 2018

Brief yourself on the changes to the National Pro Bono Target here.

REVISED: Client Management and Self-Care Guide

February 2018

We’ve just revised the Client Management and Self-Care Guide and you can download this, and view the accompanying role play videos, on this dedicated page. A great resource for your pro bono team!

What does law firm pro bono look like?


Find more of the Centre’s recent podcasts here.

We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we work, the Bedegal people of the Eora Nation. We pay our respects to the Elders – past, present and emerging – and the youth who are working towards a brighter tomorrow.

The Australian Pro Bono Centre is grateful for the funding support it receives from the governments of the Commonwealth and all states and territories, and the in-kind support it receives from Australian Government Solicitor, HWL Ebsworth, volunteers and the Faculty of Law at UNSW Sydney, which includes the use of the Faculty’s premises and facilities and support from student interns.

The Australian Pro Bono Centre is registered as a charity with the ACNC.

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