Pro Bono Requirements in Government Tender Arrangements for Legal Services
In order for law firms to secure legal work from Australian Commonwealth and state/territory government departments, they must first tender or apply to be included on the department’s “panel” or “list” of pre-approved law firms. In order to qualify to be included on the “panel” or “list”, these firms must meet certain requirements.
Both the Victorian and the Commonwealth governments include pro bono requirements in their tender arrangements for legal services. While the arrangements in the Commonwealth and Victoria differ from each other in various ways, both have been successful in increasing the pro bono contribution made by participating law firms.
For example, in Victoria in 2005-2006 the Victorian Government Legal Services Panel (Victorian Panel) arrangements resulted in pro bono legal services with a value of $5.2 million being performed. This contribution increased to approximately $7.7 million in 2006-2007, $12.4 million in 2007-2008 and by 2010-2011 had reached $22.08 million. The trend for the Commonwealth Legal Services Multi-use List (LSMUL) reflects a similar increase on an hours of pro bono legal work per lawyer per year basis for many firms.
For further information on the two models please see: