Emile McPhee is a member of the QLS Access to Justice Committee, and a Senior Associate at McCullough Robertson.
We asked Emile what access to justice meant to him, and why it was important that lawyers from all areas of practice have their say in QLS’s 2020 Access to Justice survey. Here’s what he had to say:
Access to justice and pro bono has always been critically important to me. My mother was a big supporter of giving back to the community and took me along for evening clinics she attended when my brother and I were young, which I then got to be a part of some 20 years later.
Beyond getting to use legal skills (in what can often be remarkably complex circumstances beyond what you’d see in day to day practice) to assist those who may otherwise be unable to obtain assistance, it’s also a wonderful opportunity to meet some brilliant lawyers and make connections across the legal industry. Some of my most memorable experiences in my career to date have come from pro bono opportunities, particularly at Caxton, LawRight and the LGBTI Legal Service.
It’s not even just pro bono assistance that makes a difference, and I’ve had the privilege to be involved in coordinating programs, law reform and advocacy, and participating in fundraising, each of which makes a tangible difference to organisations and those they support.
For such a small part of day to day life (the National Pro Bono Target is only 35 hours per year, or less than an hour a week – what I’d spend in line for coffee!), it really does have a substantial impact on my career and fulfilment.
More information about our Access to Justice Scorecard and the link to complete the 2020 survey are on QLS’s website.