An army of lawyers contributed $10,000 to the Western Australia community today through expert training and donations to not-for-profit legal centres.
A group of lawyers contributed $10,000 to the Western Australia community today through expert training and donations to not-for-profit legal centres.
The Piddington Society, an incorporated association of WA lawyers that hosts events to promote collegiality throughout the profession, invited a mix of leading solicitors and banisters as well as community legal trainees and volunteers to take part in expert training commonly delivered to corporate lawyers.
Piddington convenor Nicholas van Hattem said that, in addition to the legal professionals, 20 graduates also attended the session as part of the organisation’s Justice Project, which provides practical legal training to law graduates by linking them with not-for-profit legal centres.
“Over 100 legal professionals attended the expert training, each paying up to $150 to attend,” Mr van Hattem said.
“The money raised from the training and Piddington’s crowd funding project, enabled us to skill 40 community lawyers and trainees to better deliver justice to our community.”
As a result of the sessions run this week, Mr van Hattem said a $4,000 cash contribution would be dispersed among participating community legal centres, which included The Humanitarian Group, Tenancy WA, Street Law WA, the Environmental Defenders Office, and the Aboriginal Legal Service.
Mr van Hattem said the additional $6,000 provided free training to participating community lawyers.
“The heavily-felt cuts to the community legal sector will in part be alleviated by our investment in community lawyers and trainees,” he said.
Senior lawyers from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, State Solicitor’s Office and the Aboriginal Legal Service delivered the high-end training that covered prosecuting and defending murder, drug trafficking and domestic violence crimes followed by a closing lecture from Justice Bruno Fiannaca.
Chief Justice Wayne Martin said Piddington’s Justice Project was a clever alignment between funding cuts to the community sector and the increasing number of law graduates.
“People are graduating from our law schools in bigger numbers than ever before and our profession really can’t find places for all those people,” he said.
“The other need is of course for affordable legal services – community legal centres are trying to provide legal services to people who can’t afford to pay them.”