The PBEye

Pro Bono As We See It
February 18, 2011

Pro Bono Kudos Down Under

As pro bono increasingly becomes a global enterprise, The PBEye was excited (but not surprised) to see this article come across our desk.  It seems that, in a recent meeting, Australia’s International Pro Bono Advisory Group made the decision to begin working in the Asia Pacific region to promote human rights and the rule of law.  In addition, the program will support the development of young lawyers in countries like Bangladesh, Indonesia, and East Timor.  Established by Attorney-General Robert McClelland in 2009, the International Pro Bono Advisory Group “promotes international pro bono work by the Australian legal progression which complement the Australian Government’s international aid program.” 

“The Group is proving to be an excellent forum for encouraging and promoting opportunities for Australian lawyers to be involved in international pro bono legal work,” Mr McClelland said.

“The Government has supported the Group through a $100,000 grant last year that kick started a number of pro bono initiatives in the region.

“These projects in East Timor, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea demonstrate the difference pro bono legal work can make by strengthening the rule of law and promoting robust legal frameworks, which go hand in hand with economic opportunity and safeguarding human rights.”

Since 1992 when the first formal pro bono referral scheme was established, Australia has quickly become one of the leaders in providing pro bono legal services throughout the world as determined in, “A Survey of Pro bono Practices and Opportunities in Selected Jurisdictions,” prepared by Latham & Walkins LLP* for the Pro Bono Institute.  It is exciting and inspiring to see the Australian government continue to recognize the importance of pro bono work.  Australia’s swift and successful rise to one of the prominent leaders in pro bono advocacy by continually working to expand pro bono in their region should serve as an example for the leaders of other developed nations. 

Does your firm have a global presence?  Are you looking to get involved overseas?  You can learn more about global pro bono at the 2011 Annual Seminar and Forum on In-House Pro Bono next month. 

*denotes a Signatory to the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge