Pro Bono Law Merger
14 November 2013 at 9:32 am
Leading pro bono legal organisations in Victoria and NSW have joined forces to create Australia’s biggest agency connecting lawyers prepared to offer free legal service, to Not for Profit organisations and cases that would otherwise go without.
The new organisation – Justice Connect – replaces PILCH Victoria and PILCH NSW.
“The merger brings together the combined forces of an army of more than 10,000 pro bono lawyers and barristers from individual practices and about 50 law firms willing to take on people and organisations in cases that serve the greater public good,” Fiona McLeay, Chief Executive Officer of Justice Connect, said.
“The integrated organisation will include a who’s who of the legal world, including representation from leading law officers, judges and human rights champions; many have been part of significant cases that have changed the course of legal history.
“These include the Tampa, Stolen Wages cases, exploitation of international workers on 457 visas, asylum seekers and refugee policy challenges, Gunns 20 and discrimination cases dating back to the early ‘90s when a sole parents’ group was refused use of a hall in Castlemaine on the basis they were ‘immoral’ and the 14-year-old girl who fought the AFL for the right to play footy in 2008.
“If not for PILCH in NSW and Victoria connecting these people and organisations with legal resources, they would not have had a voice. As Justice Connect, we are looking forward to seeing the spirit of pro bono thrive, where we can better connect resources and expertise across two states.
“Now more than ever we need Justice Connect to act as the lightning rod for those in the profession committed to pro bono – from the largest firms through to the smallest practices and individual barristers. We play a critical role in marshalling the resources of the legal profession to serve the homeless, the elderly, the socially and economically disadvantaged and the charitable and Not for Profit community organisations that support them.
“We can find the Goliaths who will work with the Davids out there so the odds are evened up and they can be heard in our legal system.”
The new Justice Connect website replaces the two previous PILCH websites.
In Victoria, PILCHConnect says it will now be known as Not-for-Profit Law to avoid confusion.