The Manual’s companion publication contains practical information on what works well in collaborative pro bono projects, provides tips and case studies on how to attract pro bono partners and maintain effective partnerships. A second edition of What Works was released in October 2016.
Reports on the Centre’s biennial survey of Australian law firms with 50 or more full-time equivalent lawyers. The Centre conducts the survey in order to develop a longitudinal picture of the pro bono legal work of large law firms.
To see a summary of each publication, please click on the beside each title.
In many cases, hard copies of these publications are also available from the Centre. Please contact us for details.
Publications produced by other organisations can be found at Other Resources.
Papers from Conferences hosted by the Centre can be found at Our Conferences.
The Centre’s publications, except for the Australian Pro Bono Manual, are produced under a Creative Commons License. This means you can copy, transmit and adapt the Centre’s publications providing that you give proper credit to the Centre and any other relevant author within the reproduced material. Material may not be reproduced for sale purposes without the prior written agreement of the Centre or other relevant author/s.
Final Survey Report on the state of pro bono in large law firms with more than fifty full-time equivalent lawyers. Firms were surveyed in relation to the 2016 financial year. This survey is conducted biennially.
March 2017 (62 pages – PDF 12.5MB or Word 11MB)
The Australian Pro Bono Centre is delighted to launch Client management and self-care — a guide for pro bono lawyers, an online resource available on the Centre’s website. The Guide is designed to be tailored by firms to meet training requirements for lawyers participating in pro bono work, and adapted for broader implementation across the legal assistance sector.
The result of a collaborative effort between Sparke Helmore Lawyers, Henry Davis York, Clayton Utz and McCabes Lawyers, the Guide has had substantial input from the legal assistance sector, other law firms and experts in mental health, and the Centre.
The Guide can be viewed in PDF, or download in Word and adapt to your organisation’s training requirements.
Feedback on the Guide is encouraged and can be emailed to the Centre at email@example.com.
May 2016 (full version: 6 pages – PDF 437KB or abbreviated version: 1 page – 301KB)
Guide to best practice in the provision of pro bono legal services by large and mid-size law firms in Australia. The guide is supported by examples of best practice from individual firms and also quantitative data so as to provide benchmarks and to illustrate the Australian context.
December 2014 (116 pages – PDF 2.08MB) Executive Summary extract (12 pages – PDF 634KB)
Final Survey Report on the state of pro bono in large law firms with more than fifty full-time equivalent lawyers. Firms were surveyed in relation to the 2013/2014 financial year. This survey is conducted biennially.
October 2014 (15 pages – PDF 1.13MB)
Interim Survey Report on the state of pro bono in large law firms with more than fifty full-time equivalent lawyers. This survey is conducted biennially. Followed by the Final Report (see above).
April 2014 (22 pages – PDF 645KB)
Conference Paper presented at the Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration’s “Assisting Unrepresented Litigants – A Challenge for Courts and Tribunals” Conference.
October 2013 (127 pages – PDF 1.5MB) Executive Summary (8 pages – PDF 560KB)
Research Report on the limited availability of formal pro bono legal services in family law and family violence matters in Australia. Discusses issues in relation to capacity, expertise and the level of need.
August 2013 (13 pages – PDF 300KB)
Chapter by John Corker in Poverty, Justice and the Rule of Law: the Report of the Second Phase of the International Bar Association Presidential Taskforce on the Global Financial Crisis, edited by Peter D Maynard and Neil Gold.
May 2013 (246 pages – PDF 2.75MB)
Best Practice Guide that provides practical information on what works well in collaborative pro bono projects and provides tips on how to attract pro bono partners and maintain effective partnerships.
More information on ‘What Works’ can be found on our What Workspage.
January 2013 (119 pages – PDF 2.42MB)
Final Survey Report on the state of pro bono in large law firms with more than fifty full-time equivalent lawyers. Firms were surveyed in relation to the 2011/2012 financial year. This survey is conducted every two years.
October 2012 (16 pages – PDF 760KB)
Interim Survey Report on the state of pro bono in large law firms with more than fifty full-time equivalent lawyers. Firms were surveyed in relation to the 2011/2012 financial year. This survey is conducted every two years. Followed by the Final Report in January 2013 (see above).
July 2012 (13 pages – PDF 215KB)
Paper that explores the reasons for the slow uptake of pro bono by government lawyers and suggests actions that government agencies, departments and authorities, and individual lawyers within them, can take to play a greater part in the professional society of pro bono lawyers in Australia. Presented at the Public Sector In-House Counsel Conference 2012 in Canberra.
June 2012 (87 pages – PDF 1.45MB)
Research Paper exploring the issues impacting on pro bono lawyers assisting parties participating in ADR processes, drawing on submissions received in response to the release of a discussion paper in October 2011 (see below).
November 2011 (14 pages – PDF 164 KB)
Report on the review of Parramatta City Council’s Social Enterprise Pro Bono Legal Panel. The review was conducted by the Centre after the first 12 months of the panel’s operation, and identifies issues relevant to the delivery of pro bono legal services to social enterprises, particularly in the start-up phase.
October 2011 (24 pages – PDF 1.54MB)
The first in an occasional series, this paper aims to promote an understanding of the concept of ‘social justice’ by examining it both in a historical and current policy context, and identifying the key themes which are emphasised by different views on what social justice means.
October 2011 (29 pages – PDF 814KB)
Discussion paper exploring the role that pro bono lawyers might play to assist in the ADR process, as presented by Leanne Ho at the National Association of Community Legal Centres Conference in Hobart, October 2011. A Research Paper on this topic was produced in June 2012 (see above).
August 2011 (20 pages – PDF 2.29MB)
Guide to finding volunteer opportunities and employment in the social justice sector. The accompanying website, which includes listings of current employment and volunteering opportunities, is located at www.sjopps.net.au.
June 2011 (29 pages – PDF 758KB, Part 2 only: 9 pages – DOC 95KB)
Resource to assist the Australian legal profession in each State and Territory to prepare a disaster response plan in readiness for any disasters occurring in their jurisdiction, consisting of a research paper and a guide to preparation of a disaster plan.
December 2010 (65 pages – PDF 587KB)
Final Survey Report on the state of pro bono in large law firms with more than fifty full-time equivalent lawyers. Firms were surveyed in relation to the 2009/2010 financial year. This survey is conducted every two years.
August 2010 (16 pages – PDF 823KB)
Interim Survey Report on the state of pro bono in large law firms with more than fifty full-time equivalent lawyers. Firms were surveyed in relation to the 2009/2010 financial year. This survey is conducted every two years. Followed by the Final Report in December 2010 (see above).
June 2010 (12 pages – PDF 164KB)
Paper on the increase in international pro bono legal assistance provided by law firms around the world, as presented by John Corker at the Meeting of Senior Officials of Commonwealth Law Ministries in London, October 2010.
March 2010 (37 pages – PDF 644KB)
Introductory guide to pro bono legal services in Australia, including information on who provides these services and how the are delivered, prepared for the use of students in Practical Legal Training.
July 2009 (142 pages – PDF 1.59MB)
Guide to the pro bono programs of 30 of Australia’s largest law firms, for the use of students and other potential applicants when considering a career. Published in conjunction with NSW Young Lawyers.
February 2009 (20 pages – PDF 207KB)
Discussion Paper prepared for the purpose of providing background for a series of roundtable discussion forums held in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne in February/March 2009 as part of a research project conducted by the Centre.
November 2008 (2 pages – DOC 101KB)
Speech given by John Corker to a Community Engagement Forum held at Bond University in Nov 2008. This paper is also published in “Community Engagement in Contemporary Legal Education: pro bono, clinical legal education and service-learning,” edited by Patrick Keyzer, Amy Kenworthy and Gail Wilson, Halstead Press 2009.
November 2008 (71 pages – PDF 851KB)
Survey Report on the pro bono legal work undertaken by barristers in Australia. 355 barristers were surveyed between December 2007 and June 2008 in relation to the work they had undertaken in the previous 12 months.
September 2008 (58 pages – PDF 463KB)
Survey Report on the state of pro bono in 25 large Australian law firms. Firms were surveyed in May 2008 in relation to the work undertaken in the previous 12 months. Surveys of Australian firms with more than 50 lawyers have since been undertaken every 2 years.
June 2008 (4 pages – PDF 196KB)
Report summarises responses to the survey of the Victorian Government Legal Services panel members in relation to the ‘pro bono condition’ in the panel arrangements. The report was prepared in April 2008 and made publicly available in June 2008. Related documents include:
January 2008 (92 pages – PDF 2.72MB)
Guide to the pro bono programs of 22 of New South Wales’ largest law firms, for the use of students and other potential applicants when considering a career. Published in conjunction with NSW Young Lawyers.
December 2007 (15 pages – PDF 492KB)
Account of the state of the legal assistance sector in the UK during November 2007 as described by John Corker, Director of the National Pro Bono Resource Centre (with photos).
December 2007 (99 pages – PDF 596KB)
Survey Report on the pro bono legal work undertaken by individual solicitors in Australia. 887 solicitors were surveyed in 2006 and 2007 in relation to the work they had undertaken in the previous 12 months.
June 2007 (135 pages – PDF 2MB)
Report that provides a snapshot of the Australian pro bono landscape as at the beginning of 2007. It is also intended to highlight areas of interest and concern and to stimulate further discussion about how pro bono can be resourced, directed and supported to provide better access to justice for disadvantaged Australians.
January 2007 (2 pages – PDF 161KB)
Brochure prepared for the National Access to Justice and Pro Bono Conference 2006. It foreshadows a voluntary aspirational pro bono target to start on 1 January 2007.
September 2006 (12 pages – PDF 326KB)
Paper identifies barriers to pro bono assisting with litigation, covers such issues as court pro bono referral schemes and litigants in person and suggests ways to move forward with the issues. John Corker, the Centre’s director, presented this paper to the 24th Australian Institute of Judicial Administration Conference 2006.
May 2006 (45 pages – PDF 688KB)
Information Paper that provides information and ideas to encourage the creation, uptake and expansion of pro bono work across regional, rural and remote (RRR) Australia. In particular, it focuses on providing pro bono legal assistance to disadvantaged communities by working in partnerships with community legal organisations in RRR areas.
March 2006 (2 pages – PDF 65KB)
Notes, prepared at the 2006 US Pro Bono Institute (PBI) Annual Seminar held in Washington DC from 2-4 March 2006, which outlines tips from a law firm, a community organisation and the director of the PBI, Esther Lardent on how to pitch a new pro bono project to a law firm or in-house legal team. Whilst the US pro bono environment is more developed than it is Australia with a range of ‘signature projects’ that exist there, these basic tips are still highly relevant to the development of new pro bono projects in Australia.
July 2005 (10 pages – PDF 326KB)
Paper on the Pro Bono Students Australia (PBSA) program, which was designed to place law students to do law-related work in a broad range of community organisations that are involved in the delivery of services to the disadvantaged in our community. The Centre established PBSA in conjunction with the University of Western Sydney based upon the successful Canadian model. This paper, presented at 8th Australian Clinical Legal Education Conference, discusses how Clinical Legal Education and pro bono can be complementary concepts within law schools.
May 2005 (online – also available in hard copy form (264 pages)
‘How-to’ Handbook for law firms that provides detailed practical advice to law firms and legal practitioners on topics ranging from promoting a pro bono culture within a firm to budgeting, accounting, taxation and record keeping, through a mixture of commentary, advice, precedents and background information. The Manual aims to assist law firms wishing to establish, develop or expand their pro bono practices. It will also be of value to individuals who are seeking resources and ideas about pro bono.
The Australian Pro Bono Manualis subject to copyright. With the exception of section 4.7 “Advising and acting for Indigenous Clients” for which specific permission is required from the copyright holder, reproduction in whole or in part is encouraged.
October 2004 (23 pages – PDF 361 KB)
Resource for governments and government lawyers that addresses barriers to government lawyer pro bono activities and describes initiatives in USA, Canada and England and Wales.
August 2004 (25 pages – PDF 292KB)
Paper for law schools and law students that addresses the issues to be faced in establishing pro bono programs at law schools. This resource details all clinical legal education and pro bono programs at each of the 28 Australian law schools as at August 2004.
November 2003 (2 pages – PDF 52KB)
Article (published in the Victorian Law Institute Journal, November 2003) on ways in which pro bono law reform and community legal education schemes can benefit disadvantaged client groups.
July 2003 (2 pages – PDF 60KB)
Article (published in the NSW Law Society Journal, July 2003) as part of a series addressing the issue of ‘unbundling’ legal services. Titled “Pro bono opportunity in discrete task assistance”, the article from NPBRC advocates discrete task assistance as an essential tool for pro bono and publicly funded lawyers to extend access to justice.
June 2003 (16 pages – PDF 260KB)
The growth of pro bono in the last decade has included the development of ‘multi-tiered relationships’ between law firms and pro bono partners in the community, particularly community legal centres. This Paper explains what multi-tiered relationships might involve and demonstrates their operation through a variety of case studies.
March 2003 (4 pages – PDF 166KB)
Consultation Paper proposing that Governments in Australia adopt a Protocol aimed at minimising reluctance of law firms and private lawyers to provide pro bono legal services in matters against government agencies due to the perception that this will prejudice them in securing or retaining government legal work. Includes draft protocol for comment.
February 2003 (5 pages – PDF 588KB)
Article in the Alternative Law Journal describing some aspects of current pro bono practice in Australia, the role of the private and public sectors, the benefit of forging links between pro bono service providers, publicly funded legal service providers and community organisations and the objectives of the National Pro Bono Resource Centre.