The Wikipedia definition is"Pro bono publico (usually shortened to pro bono) is a phrase derived from Latin meaning "for the public good". The term is generally used to describe professional work undertaken voluntarily and without payment as a public service. It is common in the legal profession and is increasingly seen in marketing, technology, and strategy consulting firms.
Pro bono service, unlike traditional volunteerism, uses the specific skills of professionals to provide services to those who are unable to afford them."
A lot of it is very informal and given quietly by individual solicitors as and when they are able. As overheads of a legal practice are typically 70% of gross income, this involves not only giving up their own time and opportunity to make a living but also a contribution of these resources.
Mentoring can be a very rewarding experience for both the student / young lawyer and the mentor. Even just a monthly chat or phone call can be very helpful.
If you would like to volunteer to mentor a young lawyer then contact the Law Society or Women Lawyers Association.
A number of the Universities also welcome mentors for their students, into work experience (there is no obligation for this) and into their careers.
The organisations for people with disabilities and other disadvantaged groups highly value mentoring.
Please give us feedback about your experiences using Foolkit and ideas for improvements.
JusticeNet SA is a not-for-profit association which operates a pro bono legal assistance scheme in South Australia. Eligible individuals and not-for-profit organisations are matched with an appropriate solicitor or barrister who is willing to act pro bono (for free). JusticeNet has been established to improve access to justice by referring financially disadvantaged South Australians to a "safety net" of member firms and barristers where other legal services are not available.
JusticeNet has been established to facilitate the efficient and coordinated delivery of pro bono legal assistance. JusticeNet provides a screening process for member firms and barristers. Only meritorious and thoroughly scoped requests for assistance are referred to JusticeNet members who specialise in the relevant area of law. JusticeNet also collaborates with existing legal services to ensure that only applicants that do not qualify for legal aid or are ineligible for help from other community legal services are referred by JusticeNet.
Pro bono work has tangible benefits for law firms, including increased staff satisfaction and morale, assisting with staff retention. Pro bono legal work provides staff with a variety of legal work and the satisfaction derived from using their legal expertise to help the community.
For more information about membership of JusticeNet or our referral scheme please contact JusticeNet on (08) 8303 5005 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A warning from the wise. Do not relax your professional standards, take shortcuts or fail to take all you usual risk management procedures just because you are acting pro bono.
You undertake the same level of professional risk as you do with paying clients.
Some clients are grateful for your generosity. Others are less appreciative. Any one of them can turn on you if they don't get what they want.
National Pro Bono Resource Centre has a directory of Pro Bono services in each State.
The National Pro Bono Resource Centre is an independent organisation that supports and promotes pro bono legal services in Australia.
Pro Bono and Profit Are Not at Odds - by the ABA.