The Australian Pro Bono Centre has released its latest guidance to assist companies engaging with law firms on pro bono legal work.
The centre’s pro bono questions template is targeted at companies and other businesses which use a tender process for selecting and engaging private law firms. The centre recommends these questions be asked of law firms seeking to be selected as part of the tender process, whether for inclusion on a company’s panel or list of pre-approved law firms, or in relation to a particular legal matter.
The questions are focused on:
- the impact of the pro bono work undertaken by the tendering law firm
- the involvement in that pro bono work by the lawyers who are tendering for the work, including partners
- opportunities for collaboration between the company and the law firm.
The focus on collaboration is expected to drive up pro bono work both on the part of law firms, and their corporate clients with in-house legal teams.
The centre’s Chair, Phillip Cornwell, said that, from his experience in private practice, law firms could “spend considerable time and resources responding to legal panel tender requests”.
“This can be an inefficient process when questions covering substantially the same ground are asked in different ways and seeking subtly different information. These model questions on pro bono are not intended to deter clients from seeking information that is important to them, just to avoid wasteful minor differences.”
For further information, please contact the Australian Pro Bono Centre CEO, Gabriela Christian-Hare, at firstname.lastname@example.org .