Elvira Mustafa is the Director and Family Lawyer of Elite Family Law who regularly volunteers her time at the Women’s Law Service and Law Access. We asked her what motivates her to do pro bono work for vulnerable families and individuals in WA.
1. Why are you so passionate about pro bono legal work?
Since 2016, I have accepted pro bono referrals from Law Access. Recently, I also commenced working with the Women’s Law Service. I have thoroughly enjoyed volunteering my knowledge to members of our community who are otherwise disadvantaged by the inability to obtain legal aid or those who cannot afford private representation. There are too many members within our community who are unable to access legal representation, and my view has always been that it is our role as practitioners to assist in whatever capacity we can.
2. What are the main challenges faced by lawyers taking on pro bono referrals?
Some of the common issues with regard to pro bono referrals can include the uncertainty as to the matters size and scope. There are risks of lengthy litigation, and often the request for assistance is made at the 11th hour.
3. What message do you have for lawyers who are considering taking on a pro bono referral?
If it were not for organisations such as Law Access who provide an extremely useful way of helping those in need connect with those willing to provide assistance, a vast majority of our community who are unable to access legal representation would be disadvantaged. As legal practitioners, it is vital that we commit to volunteering our knowledge, skill and expertise to these pro bono organisations. For me, providing pro bono assistance can be one of the most rewarding, selfless things we can do within our profession.