We had a great meeting with Law for Change yesterday and learnt more about what they are doing to try and increase interest and participation in public interest law in New Zealand. There are many great organisations and individuals already doing their part to fulfil the legal profession’s responsibility to the community it serves and a key aim of Law for Change is to highlight and publicise what is already being done well, identify gaps where more could be done and assist interested lawyers to find a pathway that suits them.
It was really inspiring to see young lawyers with an awareness of the privileged position they have and a genuine desire to make a difference to the world around them. For our part we are discussing the possibility of getting a pro bono register of sorts together. The idea would be to put lawyers with a desire to help in touch with organisations that would benefit from their expertise.
There are many ways that lawyers can and do contribute to the society around them already so the first step is to identify any gaps and rather than re-invent the wheel at the very least act as a hub of information for those who would like to find a way to help, whether it be through research and policy or more immediately practical advice through a local Community Law Centre or directly to a local group or charity.
We will keep you posted on progress from our end but in the meantime for more information on Law for Change in New Zealand go to www.lawforchange.co.nz.