At Gilbert + Tobin we believe that as lawyers, we are the housekeepers of the legal system. It’s our responsibility to ensure that the system is just and equitable, and that everyone in our society has access to legal representation and advice.
Gilbert + Tobin is a pro bono pioneer; we appointed Australia’s first full-time in-house pro bono lawyer in 1996. Most of our lawyers work on at least one pro bono matter each year.
In 2008, the firm broke new ground again when we appointed Michelle Hannon as our first full-time partner responsible for pro bono. We now have a dedicated Pro Bono group of four lawyers and one partner.
We are a proud proponent of social justice for everyone, and focus on providing advice and support to marginalised and disadvantaged individuals and the organisations representing them. In 2012-13, the firm completed more than 13,343 hours of pro bono work – an average of 44.11 hours per lawyer – conservatively valued at over A$5.7 million.
The Pro Bono group has a particular focus on Indigenous issues, people with disabilities, refugees and human rights matters. We engage in test and public-interest litigation and advise on corporate governance issues for NGOs. As well as taking on individual cases in areas as diverse as credit and debt, discrimination and victims’ compensation, the group takes on policy work and conducts community legal education.
We also undertake a range of outreach programs where we provide legal advice to some of the most marginalised and disadvantage people in our community. We provide advice at the Marrickville Legal Centre, Matthew Talbot Homeless Shelter and the Asylum Seeker Centre on a weekly basis. Gilbert + Tobin also acts for a number of Indigenous organisations in Cape York, Alice Springs and other remote regions.