1. What does your role as Pro Bono Coordinator at Clayton Utz entail?
My role as pro bono coordinator makes sure that pro bono work for low-income people and the charities which support them, is a part of everyone’s day-to-day practice at Clayton Utz. There are two key aspects to the job:
• matching requests for pro bono assistance to lawyers with the expertise and capacity to assist; and
• helping our lawyers with any questions regarding their pro bono matters.
It is the latter that throws up many new challenges, given the diversity of pro bono clients and the areas of law in which they might be seeking assistance. Every day is a different challenge.
2. How has the introduction of the new WA Pro Bono Model affected your firm?
We were very engaged in the introduction of the Model and ensuring that it was an effective way of addressing unmet legal need in WA. The Model’s impact on the day to day of the firm’s pro bono work is fairly minimal, as our pro bono focus has always been on assisting disadvantaged people either directly or through charitable groups and CLCs with the same focus. The Model underscores that work, and ensures that we keep a focus on accurately capturing and reporting our pro bono work.
3. What would you say to other law firms who are thinking of engaging with Law Access?
Don’t hesitate! The Law Access team streamlines the referral process and often does a lot of the initial legwork in gathering the relevant documents and ensuring that clients have turned their minds to the issues involved. They play an invaluable service of assessing the merits of matters, which allows us to start helping with substantive assistance right from the beginning.