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Collaboration is key

Collaboration is key

By Jennifer Holdstock

Human Rights 


Ensure your contribution is directed where it is most needed. Giving back to the community is very important. After 11 years in law firms and in-house roles, I became a sole practitioner in January 2013 and took on a business partner in October 2015. The biggest attraction to setting up your own shop is having the freedom to set your own hours, be as flexible as your clients require, and make the most of the quiet times by doing things you love. In my case, that involves delivering pro bono assistance to causes I care about. For lawyers in smaller firms, collaboration is key to ensuring your pro bono contribution is directed where it is most needed. This can be achieved by tapping into a broader network of pro bono professionals, or by working directly with the community legal sector. For example, I recently joined the pilot program run by Maurice Blackburn and Russell Kennedy in conjunction with the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre to progress asylum seekers through the fast-track application process. It was important to be able to turn my frustration about asylum seeker policy into something constructive, so I decided to volunteer my time and utilise the skills gained over more than 14 years in the law. The program welcomes lawyers from outside firms and once a fortnight for four hours we help asylum seekers (some of whom have been in detention for four years) prepare their applications. I have found it to be a humbling and educational experience.

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