Community Legal Centres Survive on Volunteers & Pro Bono - Survey
1 November 2012 at 9:01 am
Almost 60,000 hours of pro bono legal work was provided through Community Legal Centres across Australia in the last twelve months, according to new research.
The National Association of Community Legal Centres (NACLC) has released two reports as part of its 2012 Working Collaboratively Survey of Community Legal Centres.
The studies highlight the contribution of volunteers and pro bono partnerships to the sector based on responses from CLCs across Australia.
The key results from the survey show that 56, 939 hours were contributed in one year by pro bono partners to CLCs and most pro bono contributions were for legal services delivered directly to CLC clients.
The survey found that CLC staff invest 1,071 hours per week into supervising pro bono workers and volunteers and 12, 346 hours were invested in providing training for pro bono workers and volunteers.
“Pro bono support is vital and important to the work of Community Legal Centres,” NACLC Convenor Michael Smith said.
“It is a fantastic complement to the work of CLC staff who provide the far greater proportion of services to clients. It can never be a replacement for funded services – both are essential.
“Experienced community lawyers are essential to train, supervise and support the work of our volunteers and pro bono partners advising CLC clients, who are disadvantaged and often people with special needs,” Smith said.
The survey found that 95.2% of CLCs utilised volunteers and in these centres alone some 3637 volunteers contributed 8369 hours of work per week.
While the majority of volunteers are lawyers and law students, there are also volunteer social workers, social work students, financial counsellors, administrative assistants and others supporting the governance and management functions of CLCs.
- 89.2% had volunteers working in direct legal service delivery
- 72% in administrative support
- 48.4% in law reform advocacy
- 40.9% in community legal education
- 16.1% in non-legal service delivery (e.g. social work or court support), and
- 16.1% in governance or management