Russell McVeagh has engaged in pro bono activities for much of the firm’s history. It’s important to give back to the communities in which we work and live and our strong commitment and focus on pro bono also makes good business sense.
Since the 1980s, we have had a formal arrangement with the Mangere Community Law Centre (and since 1988, a similar arrangement with the Wellington Community Law Centre) to provide pro bono assistance on a one person, one day per week basis. There is no compulsion to our lawyers to participate; however, we have always had a large number of volunteers willing to contribute and make a difference to those who otherwise have no access to legal counsel.
The pro bono efforts of our team often make a significant difference in our communities. In 2015, a team in the Wellington office advised late Wellington lawyer Lecretia Seales in litigation under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act, designed to clarify the legality of her end of life decision making. Although the judge ruled against her, the case attracted widespread public and media attention and generated significant debate around euthanasia laws in New Zealand, and personal choice.
Our Auckland office works with Glen Taylor School in Glendowie, a multi-cultural, decile one school, to provide a homework club. Staff attend the school to supervise and work with the children while they complete their homework. The goal is to provide a safe and supervised environment, assist with reading and homework tasks, and give the children access to people from different backgrounds and perhaps open their eyes to different career possibilities.
We also provide ongoing pro bono legal advice to Cure Kids, Community Law Wellington & Hutt Valley, The Breast Cancer Research Trust, and a wide range of other organisations.
There is no monetary or hours cap on the firm’s pro bono support.