A publication of the Australian Pro Bono Centre

Round-Up: 16 February 2023

Story of the week 

First Nations Voice legislation in SA greeted with standing ovation and cheers in parliament 
A bill to establish a mechanism for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation in South Australia was formally presented to the upper house by Attorney-General and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Kyam Maher. A packed public gallery included Kaurna elders and Aboriginal community leaders, and many of those in attendance gave the bill a standing ovation at the conclusion of Mr Maher's speech. The bill is set to pass parliament in April.  

National News

How (and why) pro bono improves the profession 
Holding Redlich records a landmark year, delivering more than 10,000 hours of pro bono, with National Pro Bono Manager Guy Donovan reflecting on the importance of pro bono for the profession, and its impact on the community. The Australian Pro Bono Centre calls on the sector to continue to deliver pro bono results. 

19,000 refugees to be granted permanent visas in move to abolish ‘cruel’ visas 
Around 19,000 refugees who arrived in Australia before Operation Sovereign Borders started in 2013 will be able to apply to transition to a permanent Resolution of Status visa. The move affects people who hold Temporary Protection Visas and Safe Haven Enterprise Visas which Labor promised to abolish at the last election and have been described as cruel by human rights groups. 

Two Aboriginal women appointed to South Australia’s judiciary in historic first  
Lawyers Lana Chester and Natalie Browne are the first Aboriginal people ever appointed as magistrates in South Australia. Kaurna elder and founding Nunga Court member Yvonne Agius said she hoped it would create better cultural understanding in the system and make members of the community feel more comfortable when facing court. 

Redfern Legal Centre’s landmark report reveals NSW police conduct more than 150,000 body searches annually  
Police are conducting more than 150,000 body searches annually across NSW, with children and Indigenous people more likely to be targeted. Redfern Legal Centre obtained NSW Police statistics about person searches via access to information laws.  This report collates almost four years of NSW Police data on person searches (excluding strip searches) from 2018 to 2022. 

Updates from the sector

National Pro Bono Day date announced

In 2023, National Pro Bono Day is Tuesday 16th of May! More details for this year’s Walk for Justice to come. For updates, please see here.

RSVP for the next New and Developing Pro Bono Practices Network Meeting 

The Australian Pro Bono Centre and a number of mid-tier firms are delighted to invite you to the next session in our series on building and directing pro bono practices. The focus of the session will be: More than file-flicking: Getting the most out of working with Pro Bono Referral Organisations.

It will be held in person in Adelaide on Tuesday 14 March, 12.30pm – 2pm, at DMAW Lawyers, but we also welcome attendance virtually from across the country. For details on how to RSVP, see here. 

The Centre is hiring an Operations and Communications Officer  

We are looking for an Operations and Communications Officer! 
A rare opportunity has arisen for a highly motivated and self-driven individual with strong technical, interpersonal and communications skills to fill this role at the Centre. 
This position would suit someone who relishes a diverse set of responsibilities and works well independently. For more information, click here. 

Law Access: plus100 heroes initiative

Are you a lawyer based in WA and looking to do more pro bono? Law Access Limited are looking for the next generation of pro bono heroes by registering 100 lawyers in 100 days! Register now obligation free and receive a limited-edition Scales of Justice lapel pin. Full details here. 

Climate Initiatives

Case study spotlight: DLA Piper collaboration with Carbon 13

DLA Piper has formed a collaboration with Carbon 13 – the only UK-based business accelerator focused exclusively on carbon reduction. Cross-practice teams of lawyers advise newly formed ventures on the risks and pitfalls of start-ups, pinpoint technical advice needed, and create long-term partnerships with specialised teams to help ventures build and scale to achieve their climate ambitions. Read the full case study here. 

International News

TrustLaw releases its 2022 Index of Pro Bono
The TrustLaw Index of Pro Bono is a global survey measuring measuring the amount of pro bono practised by law firms across the world. The 2022 Index collected data from 124 jurisdictions, finding lawyers donated 3.9 million hours of their time assisting charities, non-profits, social enterprises, and individuals free of charge.


Can ChatGPT revolutionise access to justice In India? 
More than 1.4 billion people live in India and only 10 percent of the population can afford legal assistance. In this interview, Bangalore-based social entrepreneurs Sachin Malhan and Supriya Sankaran discuss how they are incorporating generative AI like ChatGPT into their work by training the program to create judgement summaries and answer legal questions.

North America

Massachusetts launches abortion hotline staffed by BigLaw and the American Civil Liberties Union 
A group of 150 attorneys from some of the largest Massachusetts law firms and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) will provide free legal advice about abortion access to patients and health care providers through a new confidential Abortion Legal Hotline, says state Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell.

Latin America and Caribbean

Firm’s work for the Trevor Project’s Mexico expansion to be honored as “Pro Bono Project of the Year” 
Latin Lawyer has announced Latham & Watkins as co-winners of the magazine’s “Pro Bono Project of the Year” award. The Latham team helped the LGBTQ youth suicide prevention nonprofit The Trevor Project launch in Mexico — the first time in the organisation’s 25-year history that it has offered crisis counselling to individuals outside the US. 


ExpertsDirect Pro Bono Service  

A service for pro bono and community lawyers, connecting them with professionals who are willing to provide expert witness services for free or at low cost in legal cases assisting those experiencing disadvantage or marginalisation.

See our website for more information.

Professional Indemnity Insurance Scheme

The Centre operates the Scheme to encourage and support in-house corporate, government and volunteer lawyers to undertake pro bono legal work. The Scheme provides free insurance to lawyers and paralegals working on pro bono projects approved by the Centre.

Click here to find out more about the Scheme or to apply for cover.

Social Justice Opportunities

For the latest career and volunteering opportunities:
We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the various lands on which we work throughout Australia. 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 the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department, Australian Government Solicitor, private firms, volunteers and the Faculty of Law & Justice at UNSW Sydney, which includes the use of the Faculty’s premises and facilities and support from student interns.

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