Contributing to the community: giving back
A central part of the legal profession has always been about giving back.
One of the defining ideas of a profession is that an educated person accepts the responsibility of using their education for the benefit of their clients, but also for the benefit of the community as a whole.
Providing pro bono services
Lawyers take this community obligation seriously and many devote regular time to pro bono (which literally translates to ‘for the public good’) causes. This might take the form of:
- Acting for a client fleeing domestic abuse for a reduced (or waived) fee
- Taking on a small client seeking justice against a large corporation or the government
- Using international expertise to assist Australians imprisoned overseas
- Trying to protect against human rights abuses in Australia and elsewhere
- Acting for agencies working towards environmental protection.
Pro bono legal firms
As well as acting in individual matters, some lawyers (and law firms) devote their whole practice to community causes. This includes groups who help:
- Individuals restructure their debts and deal with bankruptcy
- Members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community
Lawyers working for the benefit of the community require a full range of legal skills. They need to understand the law as well as – or even better – than their opponents, and help ‘the little guy’ to structure their affairs and obtain justice.
Subjects such as Administrative Law, Public International Law, Planning Law, Jurisprudence, Torts, Criminal Law and Procedure, Insolvency, and Evidence are particularly helpful for lawyers working pro bono – for the good of the whole community.
To find out more about:
- Administrative Law
- Public International Law
- Planning Law
- Criminal Law
- Procedure, Insolvency