Carlita Bloeker, a solicitor in our Melbourne office, topped CBP’s pro bono honour list this year with an outstanding 310 hours of pro bono work. The Foundation sat down with Carlita to find out why she is so passionate about this work and how she manages to do so much and balance other work matters and life.
Why are you so passionate about working on pro bono matters?
I enjoy working on pro bono matters because it is comforting to know that I have been able to assist at least one person or charity navigate their way through an often-complex legal system and to know that they are able to focus on their personal lives or managing their business/charity, while we can assist with their legal problems. I think being able to share that burden with another person can make a considerable difference to the client’s wellbeing.
What are some examples of pro bono work you have done that you are most proud of?
I’ve been fortunate enough to work on a variety of matters and in various jurisdictions in my pro bono work, including the Supreme Court, County Court, Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal and also the Building Appeals Board, and I have also been able to assist with some front-end work such as contract reviews and constitution amendments. The clients have primarily been individuals or charities, with the disputes relating to claims for compensation, allegations of monies had and received, professional negligence and the issuing of occupancy certificates. It has really been a broad exposure to all areas of law.
What area of commercial law do you practice?
As a solicitor in the insurance group, I am currently engaged in multiple areas of practice, although my primary focus is acting on behalf of marine and transport insurers, including conducting subrogated recovery actions arising from the carriage of goods by road and sea. In the course of my work, I am also acting on behalf of insurers in the areas of personal injury, motor vehicle accidents and shareholder class actions. It is an incredible interesting variety of work, which allows me to gain experience at all levels and understand the perspectives of insurers from all sides.
You reached 300+ pro bono hours this year, how did you manage this in addition to your regular work?
I was really motivated to assist each of our pro bono clients and I understand how tempting it can be to let the pro bono work fall to the side when there is considerable amounts of commercial work to complete. I would often complete my commercial work during the day and then focus on my pro bono work afterwards. Breaking the time up in that manner assisted with keeping track of both my lines of work.