The University of Queensland (UQ) Pro Bono Centre acknowledged the work of community spirited law students at an awards ceremony on Wednesday 22 August.
Certificates were presented to 98 students who participated in pro bono community legal projects during 2013 and 2014.
Director of the UQ Pro Bono Centre Monica Taylor said the students uphold a core value of the legal profession by undertaking voluntary work which makes a difference to society.
“This event is an opportunity for us to recognise the immense work of our students who are responding to unmet legal need in our community through their pro bono legal work,” Ms Taylor said.
“Through the Centre, UQ students are able to apply their emerging legal skills, including legal research and writing, to a range of areas such as community legal education, law reform and legal casework.”
Ms Taylor said the event inspired other law students to get involved in the Centre’s activities, and also provided an opportunity for the students to also hear from legal practitioners involved in pro bono work.
During the event guest speaker Mr Murray Watt, senior associate at Maurice Blackburn and UQ graduate, spoke passionately about his career in the law and his pro bono legal work acting for a number of asylum seeker children born in Australia.
“A career in law can take you many places; our guest speakers always provide an inspiring example of the many paths available to law graduates, especially those with a desire to use their legal skills for the public good,” Ms Taylor said.
Professor Sarah Derrington, Head of School and Academic Dean of UQ’s TC Beirne School of Law, presented certificates to the students to acknowledge their involvement in projects ranging from public interest research and high school outreach programs, to providing casework assistance to pro bono lawyers.
Law student Ms Hannah Baldry said her placements with Children by Choice, Caxton Legal Centre and on the high school outreach program with the international humanitarian law team provided insight into the legal profession.
“My participation in a number of diverse UQ Pro Bono initiatives has enlivened me to the true meaning of integrity within the legal profession." she said.
For more information about the UQ Pro Bono Centre visitwww.law.uq.edu.au/uq-pro-bono-centre