Clayton Utz has been internationally recognised for its pro bono work.
The top Australian firm has been given the Who's Who Legal Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year 2019. The legal directory said at the award ceremony last week in London that “there appear to be few firms that can match the strength of Clayton Utz’s pro bono culture and levels of firm engagement.”
Clayton Utz said that it has provided 650,000 pro bono hours since its formal pro bono practice was established in 1997.
“It is a remarkably strong pro bono culture at Clayton Utz. The real secret is that we made pro bono work normal, a part of everyone's everyday practice,” said David Hillard, who heads the firm’s national pro bono practice. “From the beginning we made pro bono work real work, and a shared responsibility. From the beginning, we spoke in terms of pro bono being about access to justice, and being an inherent professional obligation of all lawyers.”
In 2018, one in 30 hours of legal work at Clayton Utz was for a pro bono client. It said that last year, the firm acted in 1,299 pro bono matters and provided nearly 40,000 hours of pro bono legal services to low-income and vulnerable people, as well as to the not-for-profits that support them, who cannot obtain legal aid.
“We act for people to enforce their rights to secure housing, secure employment, avoid financial exploitation or to reverse an injustice. These are the basic things we all need as citizens to have confidence in our society and of our place in it,” Hillard said.