Herbert Smith Freehills has celebrated the tremendous contribution its pro bono clients and champions make to their communities at an event with guest speaker Edward Santow, Human Rights Commissioner of the Australian Human Rights Commission. The key theme emerging from the lunch was the ongoing courage and hope of those working in the not-for-profit sector to continue to address issues affecting vulnerable members of our community.
The event launched the firm’s Global Pro Bono Week which commences today, Monday 6 November, across the network. It brings together a variety of people and organisations tackling complex social issues and championing human rights, including through legal advocacy and community engagement.
Mr Santow reflected on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Mabo decision and discussed the ongoing impact of pro bono legal work on the human rights landscape: “Human rights change comes about as a result of optimistic and tireless hard work by those in the sector and the community who are dedicated to making change.”
He went on to add that “issues such as marriage equality, Indigenous recognition, refugee welfare and reducing modern slavery are being addressed by passionate and dedicated professionals in community legal centres, not-for-profit organisations, advocacy groups and their partners in the corporate sector. This network is essential, and we thank them for the continued impact they have on improving our communities.”
Head of Pro Bono at Herbert Smith Freehills, Brooke Massender, thanked the organisations the firm works with through pro bono and community relationships:
“We are proud to partner with such a diverse and vibrant group of organisations that make an ongoing and significant contribution to the communities in which we live and work. Two of the key characteristics that are shared by all of our partners are courage and hope. We are defined by these, and they motivate us to continue to address problems that can sometimes seem insurmountable.”
“Pro bono legal assistance is an essential element of our professional responsibility, and Herbert Smith Freehills remains committed to partnering hand in hand with groups that are delivering positive social change for the betterment of all.”