15 December 2021
AGS has, through our pro bono program, continued to provide valuable support to the Australian Pro Bono Centre (Centre) with our placement of Tomo Kudrich, a lawyer in our Dispute Resolution team in Sydney.
The Centre was previously known as the National Pro Bono Resource Centre, and was established in August 2002, following from the report provided by the National Pro Bono Task Force established by the Hon Darryl Williams AM QC MO, in June 2001.
The Centre’s activities are very broad. They range from administering and promoting the National Pro Bono Target (comprising 35 hours of pro bono legal services per lawyer per year and 20 hours for in-house lawyers), to providing pro bono resources, including the Centre’s flagship publications, the Australian Pro Bono Manual – A practical guide and resource kit for law firms and Pro Bono Partnerships – a Practical Guide to What Works.
These activities are all directed towards closing the justice gap, and inspiring pro bono communities in and out of Australia.
AGS has, for many years, supported the Centre by working with them on a variety of publications, participating in stakeholder/panel discussions, and placing AGS staff.
Tomo shared the following about her placement:
From August to December 2021, I have had an invaluable opportunity being outposted to the Australian Pro Bono Centre (the Centre) which is the centre of leadership for pro bono legal services. The Centre aims to significantly increase the number of legal professionals contributing to closing the justice gap and creating a more equitable and sustainable society.
I have assisted a little bit with a lot of things but my main projects were leading the Centre’s Annual Impact Report 2020–2021, which was published in late October just before the Centre’s annual board meeting, followed by the December 2021 edition of Pro Bono Voco which was published in early December.
Through the compilation of the Annual Impact Report, I learned about the depth and breadth of pro bono services behind-the-scenes. It was such an eye opening and educational experience to understand the importance of having a national coordinator dedicated to promoting and growing the pro bono community.
Working on Pro Bono Voco was very rewarding. I had the pleasure of interviewing Centre Board member, Dr Justine Rogers, and contributed an article. The interview was really fun and I found Justine so inspiring. Justine’s research has shown that pro bono correlates highly to lawyers’ well-being. Also it was great to learn that a number of law firms now have their own pro bono program.
My day-to-day ad hoc tasks included assessing and processing applications for the Centre’s PI Insurance Scheme and ExpertsDirect. I was also involved in research tasks, handling public enquiries, attending the Pro Bono Asia Conference and the like.
I am very grateful that, through the Centre, I had the opportunity to meet with inspiring people who are passionate about helping people in need. My special thanks go to Gabi, the CEO of the Centre, who has been very understanding and supportive of my unpredictable work schedules. Also I am grateful to the team who warmly welcomed me, albeit for a short period of time.