LawRight and Bond University have teamed up to launch new clinics offering free legal advice to people not able to afford a lawyer or obtain legal aid.
The Director of the Bond Law Clinic Program, Dr Francina Cantatore, said the new partnership would help address access to justice barriers and give students real-world experience.
“We are very excited about launching this partnership with LawRight, which will see two new LawRight clinics being established at Bond University in the next few months,” Dr Cantatore said. “The clinics will not only help to address a real need in the community, but they will also provide great practical learning opportunities for our volunteer students.”
Dr Cantatore highlighted a statistic by the Law Council of Australia, which found that of the 13% Australians living below the poverty line, only 8% qualify for Legal Aid.
“We want our students to be well-rounded law graduates when they leave Bond, and that includes fostering a pro bono ethos which they will carry forward when they enter the workplace,” she said.
For LawRight Principal Solicitor Karen Dyhrberg, this pro bono ethos is a matter of tradition.
“The legal profession is one where the pro bono tradition is passed down – established practitioners often encourage and support their juniors to do pro bono,” Ms Dyhrberg said. “But we also see innovation and new levels of passion from junior practitioners, so it’s really important that young lawyers start opening their eyes to where there is a need for their skills.”
The clinics will include the LawRight Commercial Law Clinic and LawRight Property Law Clinic, which will be based at the Bond University campus as a community service. Client appointments will begin in August through LawRight.