Pro Bono Legal Work Hits Target
7 October 2011 at 4:07 pm
Signing up to an aspirational target is increasing the number of hours of pro bono legal work performed by Australian lawyers, according to a report from the National Pro Bono Resource Centre.
Australian lawyers who signed up to a national target performed an average of 39.8 hours of pro bono legal work in the last year according to the National Pro Bono Resource Centre.
All up, signatories to the National Pro Bono Aspirational Target provided more than 220,000 hours of pro bono legal work in the 2010/2011 financial year.
The Aspirational Target is a voluntary target of at least 35 hours of pro bono legal work per lawyer per year. So far the target covers 5,900 lawyers – around 11 per cent of the Australian legal profession.
The Fourth Performance Report on the Target, released by the National Pro Bono Resource Centre, reveals that signatory firms generally perform more pro bono work than others.
A 2010 survey by the National Pro Bono Resource Centre that included non-signatory firms reported an average of 29 hours of pro bono legal work per lawyer per year.
The report reveals that pro bono work by lawyers remains steady, with the average of 39.8 hours only slightly higher than the 39.5 hours per lawyer reported in 2009/10.
John Corker, Director of the National Pro Bono Resource Centre, says smaller firms and sole practitioners do more than their fair share of pro bono work each year – the top performing firm this year had only three lawyers, each of whom did an average of 240 hours of pro bono work.
Solicitors, Barristers and Law Firms are encouraged to sign up to the Target on the Centre’s website.