Dire pro bono efforts exposed at Australian firms
15 February 2013
Several large Australian firms have had their low pro bono contributions exposed in a new report. Piper Alderman
, Norton Rose, Gadens and HWL Ebsworth
all charted poorly compared to their peers.
The embarrassing figures were published in the Legal Services Expenditure Report 2011-12
, which sets out statistics pertaining to the Commonwealth and its legal services providers. One of the more laudable metrics by which the Commonwealth measures the suitability of its lawyers is the number of pro bono hours they undertake. Panel firms are strongly encouraged to send in their annual figures, which are set next to the Commonwealth's recommended benchmark of 35 pro bono hours per lawyer per year.
||A lawyer considering pro bono work yesterday|
The report reveals that some firms do place a premium on charity work. DLA Piper came top of the leage, with each lawyer putting in an average of 56.5 hours of pro bono graft during the 2011/12 period. But other firms barely spared the time to pause for a street urchin, and only then to kick it in the shins. Norton Rose and Golden Turd winner HWL Ebsworth both averaged just eight hours a year, while Piper Alderman only managed a tight-fisted 3.5. Gadens was particularly miserly. The firm pitched in with just 2.6 hours of free work a year per lawyer, some 32 hours below the Commonwealth's suggested target.
Piper Alderman told RollOnFriday that while the figure in the report represented its "officially logged pro-bono hours
", it was aware of "many more pro bono matters and projects involving Piper Alderman team members
" which it intends to capture in future. All the other Scroogey firms were too busy ignoring the needy to comment.