Charitable work carried out by the legal profession, including pro bono legal representation, is rarely acknowledged in the community, mainly because so much of it is confidential and ‘under the radar’.
Today’s reality is that lawyers are being called on to do more work for free, and to give more generally, because of unprecedented cuts to Legal Aid budgets and the tight resources of community legal centres. Last years Federal budget cut $15 million from legal aid commissions and $6 million from community legal centres.
That aside, charities in general are struggling to keep their doors open.
With this in mind, but inspired by the likes of Malcolm McCusker QC, one WA law firm has decided to do more to help. Last Thursday, 7 May 2015, HHG Legal Group officially launched “HHG Giving Back”, a long term financial ($100,000 per annum) and pro bono commitment to four key charities:
• Freshstart Recovery Program (started by Dr George O’Neil to treat drug addiction) www.freshstart.org.au
• Hagar Australia (a specialist aftercare agency that works with women and children who have survived extreme abuse or trafficking) www.hagar.org.au
• Albany Community Foundation (addressing charitable work in Albany, where HHG has had a branch office since 1919) www.acfwa.com.au
Officially launched by the State Attorney General, Hon Michael Mischin MLC, other notable guests included the Minister for Transport, Hon Dean Nalder, MLA, John Bond, Director of Primewest and The Fathering Project and current 6PR personality and ex Fremantle Dockers Captain, Peter Bell.
The State Attorney General said “HHG Legal Group are to be applauded for setting up ‘HHG Giving Back’” and reflected that in the last year, “the legal profession across Australia, carried out over $250 million in pro bono legal work.”