Media release: Clayton Utz marks 25 years of pro bono practice

08 Jul 2022
Time to read: 1 minutes

Clayton Utz is celebrating a very important milestone, marking the 25th anniversary of the launch of our Pro Bono practice in 1997.

From the beginning, our pro bono work has been about access to justice, acting for low-income and vulnerable people who cannot obtain Legal Aid, and for the not-for-profits which support them.  

Over a quarter century, Clayton Utz has:

  • provided more than 815,000 hours of pro bono legal work and run 12,785 pro bono files;
  • acted for 6,115 people, and helped thousands more at external legal clinics;
  • advised 1,617 not-for-profit organisations; and
  • assisted clients in 513 regional and remote communities across Australia.

Our Pro Bono practice is a dedicated national practice group at our firm, led by David Hillard – Clayton Utz's first pro bono lawyer, who became the first pro bono partner in 2006.  In 2018, David was joined by Jessica Morath as our second pro bono partner –  highlighting the importance with which Clayton Utz regards our pro bono clients and work.  

As Jessica observes:

Clayton Utz has made pro bono work a part of every lawyer's everyday practice.  At its core is our belief that all lawyers have a professional responsibility to help people who might otherwise fall through the cracks of our legal system.  Pro bono work at Clayton Utz is real work, and the shared responsibility of all of our lawyers, at every level of seniority and in every area of practic.  

David added:

Twenty-five years of pro bono practice has shaped Clayton Utz and helped shift perceptions of what it means to be a successful law firm in Australia.  When I started our pro bono practice in 1997, the Australian law firm pro bono community could meet in a phone booth.  Today, structured pro bono practices acting for vulnerable clients, and led by dedicated pro bono partners and specialist lawyers, have become the norm at Australia's large law firms.  Pro bono simply is now part of what we do, and the Australian pro bono culture is one of the world's strongest.  Looking back, it has been a phenomenal transformation.  I am so proud of our firm and the real difference that our pro bono work continues to make to change our clients' lives.

Snapshot of pro bono work

You can view a snapshot of Clayton Utz's pro bono work across 25 years and during FY2022 here.

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