Goulburn Valley CLC strongly believes that all lawyers can make a pro bono contribution, although this contribution will vary between individuals and firms. A strong ethic of structured pro bono is patently evident in the local private profession, with practitioners volunteering through a range of services provided or facilitated by our centre, such as evening advice services, outreach services and the palliative care legal assistance programs.
Practitioners also contribute by providing secondary consultation to centre lawyers, access to libraries, and community/professional legal education. The centre has also continued to benefit from a sustained pro bono commitment by top tier Australian law firm Clayton Utz.
Our relationship with Clayton Utz
Since the establishment of Loddon Campaspe CLC in 2005 Clayton Utz has been proactive and responsive in providing pro bono assistance. This support has been a significant contributor to Loddon Campaspe CLC’s impact, effectiveness, resilience, growth and good reputation. The support has been championed by the Clayton Utz Pro Bono partner David Hillard and the National Director of Community Connect at Clayton Utz, Daina Richmond, and has stemmed from a desire to build capacity within rural, regional and remote Community Legal Centres. Assistance by Clayton Utz has included:
- 2006 – funding the inaugural Clayton Utz Foundation Fellowship (Paula Glassborow) in 2006. Over the two year fellowship Paula established a specialist homeless persons’ legal assistance services (in partnership with PILCH, now Justice Connect) and migration assistance services. Paula was retained beyond the fellowship period where she continued to build the capability of the centre.
- 2009 – undertaking demographic analysis of disadvantage and need in the Goulburn Valley and then following a second two year fellowship (Joanne Ellis). The Goulburn Valley CLC pilot (under the auspices of Loddon Campaspe CLC) led directly to the demonstration of legal need and service impact (please see Report) and the ultimate recurrent funding of services by government in the Goulburn Valley.
- 2012 – funding a research fellowship (Peter Noble) to investigate the Medical-Legal Partnership model of integrated legal service delivery in the United States (please see Report). This research has had a significant impact on the conceptualization of legal assistance services in Australia, and in Bendigo, has been followed by additional funding from the foundation to establish a three-year pilot service in partnership with Bendigo Community Health Services at Kangaroo Flat, targeting legal needs of clients in the child-health invest team.
- Throughout – Since 2005 Clayton Utz has also provided a range of other assistance including digital dictation services, access to library services and meeting rooms, secondary consultation and receipt of pro bono case referrals (including discrimination and Coronial inquest matters), expert legal advice and assistance to settle the Victorian limitations of actions guide published annually by Loddon Campaspe CLC, legal research and policy work by Loddon Campaspe CLC, including our reform proposals regarding missing persons (please see Report).