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Tuesday, 30 August 2022

Meet the 2022 Pro Bono Service Award finalists

The ACT Law Society is very pleased to introduce the finalists for the 2022 Pro Bono Service Award.

The Pro Bono Service Award recognises the vital work done by individual practitioners in the ACT who volunteer their time and legal expertise to assist others within the community. This pro bono work often goes unacknowledged, but it provides an invaluable service to many disadvantaged members of our community, ensuring that access to justice is available to all.

The finalists for the 2022 Pro Bono Service Award are:

Chloe Curran of Hijazi Curran Cameron Lawyers, for her dedication to pro bono work in the family law space. She founded and runs a clinic at the Women’s Legal Centre ACT for domestic and family violence victim-survivors who are not eligible for the Centre’s own in-house service. The clinic helps bridge the ‘missing middle’ gap in legal services – the need for family law advice for women experiencing domestic and family violence who don’t qualify for legal aid yet can’t afford a private lawyer. Over its four years of operation, the clinic has delivered holistic, considered legal advice to more than 200 of Canberra’s most vulnerable women, equating to over $100,000 in pro bono assistance.

Pierre Johannessen of Johannessen Legal, for his innovative approach to pro bono work and his commitment to supporting socially and economically disadvantaged people in the ACT. As part of a very small team of three practising lawyers, he has provided over $300K in pro bono work in the last financial year. He has found innovative ways to reach people who might not otherwise be able to access legal advice, including offering general legal advice and guidance through his #askalawyer series on Instagram live, and running a Barbershop Law program providing free advice on criminal, family, and employment matters for young men. He has used his legal expertise to support the Sisters in Spirit Aboriginal Corporation, and currently advocates for Barnardos ACT, where he organises and runs fundraising campaigns as well as providing pro bono advice for the youth and families the charity supports.

Sayward McKeown of Chamberlains Law Firm, for her dedication to access to justice in areas not normally attracting a pro bono focus. She has been the pro bono champion of Chamberlains for more than eight years, and is currently the Associate Director of the insolvency team. She has demonstrated her personal values of giving back to the community through carriage of an extensive number of long running pro bono cases, most involving litigation, choosing clients who would otherwise not be able to access justice because of the prohibitive legal costs involved in the insolvency and litigation space. She also provides outreach to rural areas around the ACT, knowing that location plays a part in accessing legal services of any kind, let alone the specialty services that she provides. She also volunteers at Legal Aid ACT’s small business clinic, providing more than 40 hours of free advice a year.

Sam Tierney of Ken Cush & Associates, for his work tackling difficult public interest matters. He works in a range of areas, including personal injury, medical negligence, and human rights and discrimination law. In the past year, he has conducted difficult public interest cases of significance to the ongoing development of the common law of Australia. This has included successfully representing an Aboriginal man who was falsely imprisoned, an appeal for a reduced sentence on behalf of a man who suffered serious mental impairment while in prison, and acting for the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community Council in several complex cases over many years. He has provided pro bono advice and legal services through the ACT Cancer Council for more than a decade, preparing Powers of Attorney, Advanced Treatment Directives and Wills for cancer patients. He also provides legal services through the Law Society’s Pro Bono Clearing House, Legal Aid ACT, and the ACT and NSW Aboriginal Legal Service.

The final winner of the Pro Bono Service Award, as well as the other ACT Law Awards including the prestigious President's Medal, will be revealed at the Law Society’s Annual Dinner & Awards Night on 4 November 2022.

The Law Society is proud to recognise Leo Cussen Centre for Law and Lawcover as the sponsors of the Law Society's Annual Dinner and 2022 ACT Law Awards.