Aussie practices ditch pro bono commitments

By James Barnes

14 January 2013 at 11:46 BST

Australian law firms reported a drop in the number of pro bono hours worked per lawyer last year, according to a report released last week.

Pro bono time squeeze

Pro bono time squeeze

The Legal Services Expenditure Report 2011-2012 found that more than half of the top 30 Australasian firms reporting in both 2011 and 2012 registered a decline in pro bono work.
According to the web site Legal Business Online, the report also found that only 11 of the 46 firms that reported their 2012 figures hit the aspirational target of 38 hours of pro bono work per lawyer.

Merger affect

Sydney-based boutique Lobban McNally reported the highest number of pro bono hours per lawyer in 2011 with 60, while Anglo-US giant DLA Piper led the major firms by reporting 56.5 hours per lawyer –an increase of 3.5 hours on the previous year.
John Corker, director of Australia’s National Pro Bono Resource centre, commented: ‘There has been a lot of merger activity in the market, which I think has impacted the provision of pro bono legal advice, and I expect we will see that trend continue in the coming year.’


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