STRATEGIC PLANNING by wulinqing

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									         National Pro Bono Resource Centre

          Consultation Paper on Strategic Plan 2005-2009
INTRODUCTION
This Paper has been prepared by the National Pro Bono Resource Centre (the Centre) for
distribution amongst the Centre’s key stakeholders to seek ideas, feedback and input into
the Centre’s strategic directions over the next four years.

Stakeholder’s input will be considered by the Board and Advisory Council of the Centre
before the final strategic plan for 2005-2009 is settled which is required by the Centre’s
contract with the Commonwealth to be done by 30 September 2005.

The organizations that the Centre is distributing this paper to include most national peak
bodies who are involved in, or have an interest in, facilitating better access to justice for
socially and economically disadvantaged people but many others involved in pro bono
legal service provision. They include National Legal Aid, the National Association of
Community Legal Centres, the Law Council of Australia, Australian Council of Social
Services, National Association of Indigenous Legal Services, Council of Australian Law
Deans, Attorney-Generals, law societies and foundations, bar associations, State and
Territory based associations of CLCs, pro bono coordinators, pro bono clearing houses
and schemes, court based referral schemes and a broad range of community peak bodies.

We would like to consult you on three issues.

ISSUE 1
Are the principles for prioritisation of the Centre’s activities set out at
ATTACHMENT 1 appropriate? Are there other principles that should be
considered? What are the most important principles?

ISSUE 2
What projects or activities would you like to see the Centre undertake? What
priority should they be given and what possible sources of funding might be
available to undertake these activities?

ISSUE 3
Please comment on the NPBRC Draft Strategic Plan 2005-2009 at ATTACHMENT
2 to this paper. Are the suggested strategies appropriate to meet the Centre’s key
objectives?

PLEASE PROVIDE ANY COMMENT BY TUESDAY 23 AUGUST 2005 BY
EMAIL TO INFO@NATIONALPRO BONO.ORG.AU. Comments received after
this time will be taken into account as far as possible but the Centre is required to finalise
its plan by 30 September 2005. ANY QUERIES PLEASE PHONE (02) 9385 7381.



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         National Pro Bono Resource Centre


BACKGROUND
The Centre commenced operation in August 2002 following a recommendation for its
establishment made by the National Pro Bono Task Force to the Commonwealth
Attorney-General June 2001. The work of the Centre has been informed by the
recommendations of this Task Force. It is a company limited by guarantee based at the
University of NSW with its core funding provided through the Commonwealth Attorney-
General’s Department until July 2009 and accommodation provided by the Faculty of
Law at UNSW.

The Centre’s chairperson is Tony Fitzgerald QC and chair of the Advisory Council is
David Weisbrot, president of the Australian Law Reform Commission. Details of
members of its Board and Advisory Council can be found at
http://www.nationalprobono.org.au/about/index.html .

The Centre’s functions and activities are broadly speaking prescribed by a Contract
between the Centre and Commonwealth that requires the Centre to operate to further the
following key objectives:

        (i)     to promote pro bono work throughout the legal profession;
        (ii)    to provide practical assistance and support to existing and potential pro
                bono service providers (including reviewing and reporting on the pro bono
                work being undertaken nationally);
        (iii)   to make available information and resources to existing and potential pro
                bono service providers; and
        (iv)    to promote pro bono law to the community organisations and the general
                public.

The Centre seems to have always been in the position of having more ideas and project
plans than resources to fulfill them. The real challenge in arriving at a 4 year strategic
plan and a work plan for 2005/2006 is to prioritise these items and to be realistic about
the time involved to complete each activity and to match the workplan to the available
resources.

The staffing profile of the Centre is as follows;

Director (full time)
Senior Policy and Project Officer (3 days a week)
Administrator and Project Officer (3 days a week)
Publications Coordinator (2 days a week)
Law students (2 per semester 1 day a week)




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         National Pro Bono Resource Centre
          2.      CURRENT WORK
In looking forward, it is useful to look back as to what has been achieved and take
account of the current work program.

Centre’s key achievements to date
The Australian Pro Bono Manual: A Practice Guide and Resource Kit for Law Firms
Now in its 2nd edition, the Manual contains practical information, recommendations,
commentary and precedents. It is also available, and regularly updated, online.

Regional, rural and remote (RRR) pro bono project
The RRR pro bono project has partnered 3 community legal centres in RRR areas of
NSW with city based law firms to provide ongoing pro bono legal and non-legal
assistance to those CLCs. The project has also facilitated various networking forums
between firms and CLCs. A project report will be published shortly.

Government lawyers
The government lawyer’s project aims to have pro bono work policies introduced by
Commonwealth, State and Territory government agencies to encourage and facilitate
their lawyers to do pro bono work and for the Centre to identify and promote
opportunities for this to occur. The Centre’s Information Paper was launched in October
2004. This project is ongoing.

Law Students and Pro Bono Students Australia (PBSA)
The Centre seeks to engender a long term pro bono ethos in law students and to promote
inclusion of issues relevant to pro bono and free legal services in law school curricula.
PBSA is a low cost program developed by the Centre that expands the opportunities for
law students to be involved in their communities by facilitating them to do law-related
work for non-profit organizations in their community. PBSA is based on a successful
Canadian program and a trial program commenced at the University of Western Sydney
in May 2004.

Current Projects
National survey of pro bono activity in the legal profession
The Centre is in the process of conducting a national survey of firms, individual lawyers
and barristers to collect information about the quantity of pro bono work done across
Australia, how it is organised. The survey instruments have been prepared and turned into
a web based form.

Discussions with law societies indicate that the process of survey will need to be
conducted State by State. The Centre plans to conduct this survey every two years so as
to provide a longitudinal study of pro bono activity in Australia.




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         National Pro Bono Resource Centre

Mapping Project
Mapping Pro Bono provides a mainly qualitative snapshot of what is going on in pro
bono across Australia and identifies the pathways by which people seek and find
assistance. This information will assist in identifying gaps in service delivery and areas
in need of further research. It is expected to be ready for publication before September
2005.

Community Legal Centre (CLC) Volunteers
This is an interactive web based resource which provides a guide to all community legal
centres in Australia, whether they have any volunteering opportunities and the nature of
those opportunities. The Centre proposes to launch the website at the NACLC Annual
Conference in October 2005.

Pro Bono Referral Schemes History Project
This publication has been prepared by students at the Centre. It provides a history of the
formation and development of the main pro bono referral schemes in Australia. It is
anticipated that this guide will assist those jurisdictions that do not have pro bono referral
schemes, encourage reflection by existing schemes and act as an information resource for
others.

Indigenous legal organisations (ILOs) and pro bono project
This is a report of how pro bono might best assist ILOs and how ILOs might better access
pro bono services. The paper is close to finalization. Follow- up brokering activity will
be a high priority. .

In House Corporate Lawyers
This is an ongoing project designed to grow pro bono capacity amongst in-house counsel
by encouraging in-house counsel to seek out ways that they can be involved in pro bono
work and address difficulties that may arise in this process.

Potential Projects
Pro Bono Referral Directory
Preparation of a working guide to pro bono referral schemes and the main law firm pro
bono programs. The guide will make information available to community legal centres,
legal aid commissions and Indigenous legal organisations, and will include guidelines for
making referrals.
The functions and contents of such a directory as well as issues of access, filtering and
updating, require further consideration and consultation.
Directory of Pro Bono Opportunities for Lawyers
An on-line guide to pro bono opportunities, especially useful for younger lawyers and
smaller law firms. This project is being undertaken in NSW by Young Lawyers (NSW)
The Centre is keen to see it undertaken in other jurisdictions.




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         National Pro Bono Resource Centre

Recognition of Pro Bono Work
There are many ways in which the visibility and recognition of pro bono work in the legal
community and in public can be enhanced. The Centre sponsors a pro bono partnership
award in the NSW Justice Awards but would like to develop a strategic approach to this
issue. This might include considering sponsoring other awards and seeking to influence
measures of the legal profession in Australia. E.g Fuji Law Awards, FMRC Legal and
BRW law firm evaluations and ratings.


Pro bono in cooperation with non-legal professionals
Explore ways to promote and provide access to pro bono or reduced fee services by other
professionals including medical practitioners, mediators, translators and financial services
industry experts.


Training
The Centre has done some work with the profession and legal aid in NSW to broaden the
audience for training. A broader project could promote the availability of affordable and
relevant training to pro bono service providers and referral agencies.


New ideas 2005 (from staff)

The Pro Bono Roadshow
This could be the new flagship project of the 2006-2009 strategic plan. The main focus
of this would be the Centre’s brokering activity. It could be a traveling show that aims to
bring together the legal community in a place, a facilitated occasion where barriers to pro
bono are discussed with follow up by Centre staff in the following days on possible new
pro bono relationships in that community.

Practical Legal Training (PLT) students
Most States have a form of PLT which, if successfully completed, qualifies a law
graduate to apply to practice as a barrister or solicitor. This project would research the
requirements of PLT students in each State/Territory and then approach each school with
a suggestion as to how PLT students could be involved in doing pro bono work as part of
their curriculum.

Disbursements as a barrier
There is still widespread reporting of the difficulty of finding money to pay
disbursements acting as a barrier to pro bono activity. The Centre believes that a large
national research project is needed – this project would fit with an evaluation of the
‘litigation lending’ schemes and the ‘no win no fee’ industry. The project could also look
at the idea of a national trust fund for disbursements (a National Task Force
recommendation.), the extent to which court fees are a barrier to pro bono and develop
guidelines on when and how fee exemptions/waivers should apply.


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         National Pro Bono Resource Centre


ATTACHMENT 1
Draft principles for prioritisation of Centre tasks and the development
of annual workplans.
    1. Activities undertaken by the Centre should have national relevance (even though
       they might only be undertaken in one or more jurisdictions).

    2. The Centre must have a clear program of pursuing and advocating for structural
       reform or long-lasting change which institutionalizes the pro bono sector and/or
       makes it easier and more beneficial to lawyers to provide pro bono services.

    3. Areas that seek to improve services to those with the greatest legal need should be
       prioritised.

    4. The Centre should aim to have a program which undertakes to promote the
       delivery of pro bono legal services periodically in every State and Territory of
       Australia.

    5. The Centre should undertake activities that complement the direct delivery of pro
       bono legal services but not those that duplicate what others are doing or should be
       doing.




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         National Pro Bono Resource Centre
          ATTACHMENT 2

DRAFT STRATEGIC PLAN FOR THE NATIONAL PRO BONO
RESOURCE CENTRE 2005-2009

        Centre’s Vision
        A strong and vibrant pro bono contribution across the legal profession as part of
        an accessible legal system that serves the needs of socially and/or economically
        disadvantaged people.

        Centre Mission
        To promote and support effective, co-ordinated and well targeted pro bono legal
        services for the benefit of disadvantaged Australians.

        Values and Principles
        The Centre has adopted the following principles in relation to pro bono services.
               The planning, design and provision of pro bono services should be
                determined by reference to the needs of socially and/or economically
                disadvantaged people.
               Pro bono work should always be done to the same standards of attention,
                priority and professional performance as fee-paying work.
               Pro bono is not, and should not, be a substitute for properly funded
                government funded legal services.
               Pro bono practice is a voluntary activity.
               Government has a vital role in encouraging, supporting and facilitating pro
                bono initiatives.

        The Centre has adopted the following principles in relation to its operations.
               The Centre will have a national focus, which includes encouraging pro
                bono activity in rural, regional and remote locations across Australian.
               The Centre will promote effective links with key interest groups including
                legal and related service providers, professional bodies and law
                foundations, pro bono law clearing houses and referral schemes, courts,
                community organisations, law schools and law students with the aim to
                improve access to justice for socially and/or economically disadvantaged
                people.
               The Centre will maximise the effectiveness of its work by working
                collaboratively with other relevant organisations and researchers.



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         National Pro Bono Resource Centre


        Key Objectives
            a) to promote pro bono work throughout the legal profession;
            b) to provide practical assistance and support to existing and potential pro
               bono service providers (including reviewing and reporting on the pro bono
               work being undertaken nationally);
            c) to make available information and resources to existing and potential pro
               bono service providers;
            d) to promote pro bono law to community organisations and the general
               public.

        Strategies to Meet the Centre’s Key Objectives.

            a) Promote pro bono work throughout the legal profession (to enhance
               and consolidate delivery of services)
                 seek institutionalisation of the key values of pro bono work within
                  professional bodies and their rules and policy statements.
                 seek to increase the capacity of the profession, paralegals and students
                  to provide pro bono legal services (government, in-house corporate
                  lawyers, practical legal training and law students)
                 promote greater visibility and recognition of legal pro bono activity by
                  the public and the profession.
                 develop and enhance the Centre’s website and other useful online
                  resources
                 promote and be a key participant in further National Pro Bono
                  Conferences
                 develop opportunities for secondment of practitioners and law students
                  to undertake pro bono work.
                 build and maintain networks within the legal profession
                 have an effective communications strategy

            b) To provide practical assistance and support to existing and potential
               pro bono service providers (including reviewing and reporting on the
               pro bono work being undertaken nationally
                 identify, address and advocate for change in relation to systemic issues
                  that would make it easier or more productive for the legal profession to
                  provide pro bono legal services.
                 devise strategies to facilitate effective pro bono practice and advocate
                  for their implementation.
                 conduct a bi-annual survey of the legal profession and its pro bono
                  activities.




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         National Pro Bono Resource Centre


                   broker or match-make between pro bono service providers and
                    community based groups or organisations in need of legal assistance.
                   promote the availability of affordable and relevant training to and by
                    pro bono service providers and referral agencies.
                   explore ways to promote pro bono or reduced fee services by other
                    professionals including medical practitioners, mediators, translators
                    and accountants.
                   devise strategies to meet identified legal need, particularly in
                    indigenous and rural and regional communities.

            c) Make available information and resources to existing and potential
               pro bono service providers
                 identify and publish information about areas of greatest legal need
                 identify and convey information to the legal profession about pro bono
                  legal opportunities
                 facilitate the exchange of relevant information within the pro bono
                  community.
                 keep current, extend and promote the Australian Pro Bono Manual

            d) Promote pro bono law to community organisations and the general
               public (to enhance access to services)
                 raise awareness amongst community organisations of pro bono legal
                  services by preparing, distributing and making available information
                  specifically for community organisations about how they might access
                  pro bono legal services.
                 promote pro bono service provider and referral agency activities to the
                  community sector (attend and talk about pro bono legal services at
                  community organisations, conferences and events).
                 participate in relevant policy development processes with government
                  and the legal profession.




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