26 September 2023

Law firms to go pro bono for PS

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New pro bono requirements are to apply to all law firms who undertake legal services for Government Departments and Agencies.

Attorney-General, John Quigley said that under the new model, law firms who undertook legal services for the State Government must subscribe to the National Pro Bono Target — a voluntary and aspirational target of at least 35 hours of pro bono services per lawyer, per year.

“In addition, law firms will be required to undertake pro bono services for ‘approved causes’ — which include the provision of legal services for individuals — for at least 10 per cent of the value of its Government legal work,” Mr Quigley said.

“They must report annually on the total fee charged to Government and the types of pro bono services delivered.”

He said the model built on the national approach, but took it one step further — with its specific focus on individuals.

“Pro bono services are an adjunct to, and never a substitute for, publicly funded legal aid and do not replace the responsibilities of State and Federal Governments to provide legal assistance,” Mr Quigley said.

“Of course, law firms have been providing pro bono services for a very long time,” he said.

“We are fortunate in Western Australia to have so many outstanding individuals, not-for-profit organisations and law firms providing pro bono legal assistance to members of our community.”

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