The National Pro Bono Professional indemnity Scheme defines pro bono as:

  1. a lawyer or paralegal who, without fee or expectation of a fee, advises and/or represents a client in cases where:
    1. the client has no other access to the courts and the legal system; and/or
    2. the client's case raises a wider issue of public interest; or
  1. a lawyer or paralegal involved in free community legal education and/or law reform; or
  2. a lawyer or paralegal involved in the giving of free legal advice and/or representation to charitable and community organisations;


As lawyers we have a privileged position in society. That privilege is the ability to provide legal advice and representation.

With that privilege come important responsibilities to ensure that everyone is able to access legal advice and to contribute to the administration of justice.

There is also a moral imperative for a commitment to pro bono since, as lawyers, we have the capacity to assist people in a meaningful and life-changing way.


In some cases, the establishment of pro bono projects and initiatives will involve both an investment of time and also a financial investment. Some businesses are more sophisticated than others in identifying the business case for investment in corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives.

While pro bono work should always be undertaken for the benefit of the client and/or the community, investment in pro bono may deliver business benefits to your organisation. The business case for pro bono includes:

  • Improved legal staff recruitment and retention.
  • Increased employee engagement.
  • Broader professional experience.
  • Improved reputation and profile.
  • A tangible legal-team contribution to your organisation's broader CSR strategy.
  • The practical demonstration of your organisation's values.

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