A program that improves access to justice for socially and economically disadvantaged residents in Sydney’s east has won UNSW’s Kingsford Legal Centre and law firm Herbert Smith Freehills the Pro Bono Partnership Award at the annual Justice Awards.
The Annual Justice Awards – held by the Law and Justice Foundation of NSW – recognise the contributions of organisations towards improving access to justice in the state, particularly for those who are socially or economically disadvantaged.
For over 20 years Freehills has provided KLC with a secondee solicitor who participates in all areas of KLC service including advice, casework and community legal education, as well as educating and mentoring students.
The partnership has resulted in improved access to free legal advice and services for disadvantaged people in the Randwick and Botany Bay area.
The Secondee Program has also seen the deliverance of new and innovative legal services from the Centre, including the ‘pop up’ clinic in the South Coogee housing estate, developed in recognition that many residents are unable to travel to the Centre on campus.
The KLC forms part of the clinical legal education program for the University, giving law students the opportunity to engage in legal work for real clients while learning about the benefits of pro bono work for the community. Director of the Kingsford Legal Centre, Associate Professor Anna Cody, says the secondees demonstrate to students the importance of a lifelong commitment to pro bono work.
“This has a positive effect on the wider community, as the solicitors are positive role models and this often carries through with the students into their working lives.
“The consistency and long term nature of the program means it has become an embedded part our service,” she says.
Learning outside the classroom is a key component of the new Law curriculum at UNSW, and working at the Centre gives students the chance to consolidate their study of law with practical applications at the largest clinical law program in Australia.
The KLC and Herbert Smith Freehills received their award at the Law and Justice Foundation of NSW’s annual Justice Awards, Parliament House.
Media Contact: Steve Offner, UNSW Media Office, 9385 1583