The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has recognised lawyers providing pro bono legal advice to those in need as finalists in the 2015 Human Rights Awards.
The Colin Biggers & Paisley Foundation is one of five finalists nominated for the Law Award, which is sponsored by the Law Council of Australia and is awarded annually to an individual or an organisation with a track record in promoting and advancing human rights in Australia through the practice of law.
The finalists for the 2015 Law Award are the Colin Biggers & Paisley Foundation, Aboriginal Legal Service NSW / ACT Custody Notification Service, Genevieve Bolton (Canberra Community Law), Luke Geary (Salvos Legal) and Refugee Advice and Casework Service (RACS).
Head of Corporate Responsibility Daniel Creasey noted that the Foundation being listed as a finalist for the AHRC Law Award reflects the firm's core community strategy of assisting women and children, coupled with the dramatic increase in pro bono work being done by Colin Biggers & Paisley's lawyers.
"We want to ensure that we have the greatest possible impact through our Foundation. Our work is therefore heavily concentrated on working with, and alongside, organisations which are working to improve the rights of women and children in Australia and abroad," said Creasey.
"Last financial year, our firm donated 2,500 pro bono hours," explained Creasey. "This financial year, we are on track to donate 7,500, which is a phenomenal increase of 200%. If we continue on this path, we will exceed the Australian Pro Bono Centre target of 35 hours per lawyer per year two years ahead of schedule and progress rapidly towards our own internal target of 50 hours per lawyer per year. This is great progress."
Managing Partner Dunstan de Souza expressed his delight that the Foundation had been recognised by the AHRC: "Being named as a finalist for this prestigious award is recognition for the work of so many of our partners and staff over the past 12 months, which has helped to address unmet legal need in the communities in which we operate and provide critical assistance to disadvantaged people across Australia.
"Our success this year reflects the collective effort of so many of our people. I would like to thank everyone for their continued enthusiasm and hard work."