Gilbert + Tobin is proudly celebrating 34 years of pro bono services, with a celebratory milestone marking the 25 (+1) year anniversary of the official establishment of the firm’s pro bono practice and appointment of a dedicated pro bono lawyer. Celebrations were held at an event in the Sydney offices on June 7th marking the 25-year anniversary – delayed a year due to the 2021 COVID-19 lockdowns.
Since day one, pro bono legal services have been an integral part of Gilbert + Tobin. In 1996, they evolved their services to become the first law firm in Australia, and one of the first in the world, to establish a practice and employ a full-time pro bono lawyer.
Kate Harrison was appointed as its first dedicated Pro Bono solicitor at a time when the firm had only 14 partners. The action changed the way pro bono was practised in Australia and paved the way for exponential growth in pro bono legal work in many other Australian firms.
Since that time the practice has acted for thousands of clients and helped many organisations. Last year alone, almost 30,000 volunteer hours were dedicated to pro bono work in over 500 matters. The practice group has grown as the firm has grown and there are now more than ten people in the team headed up by partners Anne Cregan and Michelle Hannon.
The celebratory event was attended by G+T staff and former staff members, a wealth of clients, Universities, Community Legal and Advocacy Centres, Government Agencies and Barristers.
Managing partner Danny Gilbert welcomed guests at the firm’s Sydney office, commenting “We are very proud of our pro bono practice. When Tony Tobin and I started the practice, we wanted to make a contribution to help people who couldn’t afford legal services and were locked out of the legal system. We recognised the privileged position we were in and wanted to give back to the community. Pro bono has been deeply embedded in our culture since that first day 34 years ago and it was a very proud moment 25 years ago when this evolved into establishing a dedicated pro bono practice. Our pro bono commitments and work have become powerful informants of an outward looking culture where treating people fairly is a mainstay of who we are”.
Michelle Hannon noted “I am immensely proud to play a part in a firm that is well-known and respected for its pro bono contribution. We’ve worked hard to demonstrate that a corporate law firm such as ours can support individuals in matters that transform their day to day lives. Giving back is part of our DNA, witnessed by the generous contribution in time and expertise volunteered by our lawyers. I continue to be inspired by the tenacity of the team and the support and confidence we get from the partnership, and I think that it’s fitting that we mark this milestone by welcoming our clients and supporters to join us in the celebrations”.
A visual 25-year timeline of G+T’s pro bono work can be viewed here.