We are delighted to announce that the 2023 refreshed version of the Pro Bono Legal Work – A Guide for In-house Corporate Lawyers (Guide) was published on Monday 20 March 2023. The new, improved and revamped Guide is a result of a collaboration over the past 18 months between the Australian Pro Bono Centre, the Association of Corporate Counsel and the Law Society of New South Wales. A copy is available here.
Since the first edition of the Guide was published over 5 years ago, the communities that we live and work in have been greatly impacted by so many things - the COVID pandemic, (un)natural disasters and the conflict in Ukraine, to name a few. Now is a time of great need for lawyers to help our communities. By way of response, more and more in-house lawyers are showing a strong desire to give back. As lawyers, we are the only ones who can practise law and by being able to serve our communities, this not only enhances professional and personal development but can bring long term benefits to the organisations which support pro bono work. With corporations increasingly being challenged by multiple stakeholders to state where they stand on environmental and societal issues, pro bono involvement by their in-house legal teams can certainly be an excellent channel through which organisations can be truly active in their support for the 'E' and the ‘S’ in ESG and demonstrate how they are using their resources and influence to drive positive social change. Further, in recognition of the opportunity for in-house lawyers to become more involved in doing pro bono work, the Australian Pro Bono Centre's National Pro Bono Target was expanded in 2020 to include in-house legal teams, recognising the valuable contribution in-house lawyers can make.
Accessing pro bono work can be challenging for those who are not familiar with pro bono practice. In-house lawyers are typically "time poor", and in wanting to do pro bono work, raise concerns about things such as the availability of professional indemnity insurance and that they don't have the requisite skills to do the pro bono work that is needed. That is where the Guide comes in, providing valuable guidance to in-house lawyers looking to set up a pro bono practice or simply become more involved in pro bono work – whether as a team or an individual. Please take some time to review the Guide and if you have any questions about the Guide or getting involved in pro bono work, the ACC's Pro Bono Committee are happy to give additional guidance.