More and more, lawyers in the corporate sector and in-house legal units are looking for opportunities to contribute to the community using their legal skills.
We are confident that corporate legal departments are well placed to contribute to and benefit from a relationship with QPILCH. Your involvement can be limited to making a financial contribution of the membership fee, or you may also wish to financially sponsor a QPILCH project or participate in or sponsor forums and other services provided by QPILCH.
You may feel able to second an in-house lawyer to assist us with case assessment or project work, creating an opportunity for developing staff experience while contributing to the profession's pro bono work. Or a corporate legal department may accept case work referrals from QPILCH within the expertise of its staff, either on its own or through co-counsel arrangements with a QPILCH member law firm.
The benefits of becoming involved
- QPILCH assists your legal department in establishing a pro bono policy and procedures to best suit its corporate identity and philosophy
- The opportunity to demonstrate your legal department's real support for the ideal of good corporate citizenship
- Public recognition for pro bono work by your involvement in public interest policy issues
- Improved recruitment possibilities with many graduates and lawyers seeking out employers with real commitment to pro bono lawyering
- Wide experience for lawyers, with exposure to diverse legal issues and regular contact with the broader sections of the legal and general community
- Increased staff satisfaction and retention by involving lawyers in community legal work
- Regular publication in the QPILCH newsletter and other publications of the pro bono activities of its members
- The knowledge that you are helping people with real problems in practical ways
- Recognition of the full professional responsibilities of lawyers, wherever they work.
Many law firms second solicitors to QPILCH and corporations have also seconded legal staff to our counterpart in Victoria. If you would like to broaden the experience of your staff, please contact us. Secondments can be of any frequency and duration.
Involvement in our projects may be of particular interest. For example:
- We received a philanthropic grant from the English Family Foundation to develop legal services for people with mental illness. We coordinate the Open Minds Legal Clinic in coordation with DLA Piper, and have trained students to appear as advocates for clients in the Mental Health Review Tribunal.
- Through our Rural Regional Remote project, we help RRR law firms wishing to do pro bono work, by partnering them with larger Brisbane law firms which can provide specialised expertise and resources.
- In partnership with a number of community organisations, such as the Salvation Army and Mission Australia, we operate the Homeless Persons' Legal Clinic (HPLC). Through the HPLC, volunteer lawyers with the support of their employers assist people experiencing homelessness during work hours at community host agencies. Ashurst seconded a solicitor to set up and initially coordinate the HPLC, and now over 300 lawyers from 24 firms across Brisbane, Toowoomba and Townsville volunteer with the HPLC. In Victoria, corporate legal units participate in the HPLC.
Our membership package demonstrates practical reasons why corporate involvement in pro bono cases is increasing internationally. The membership package also provides further detailed information that will help a corporate legal department decide what its association with QPILCH would involve.
In addition, QPILCH's insurance covers involvement by a corporate legal unit participating in our services. The National Pro Bono Resource Centre has introduced a Professional Indemnity Insurance Scheme to encourage lawyers that work in corporations and government to undertake pro bono legal work. Cover is available at no charge to the applicant.