Q&A with David Frew, W+K Sydney Pro Bono Advocate
In the next Q&A with W+K team members who are helping to drive our Community Footprint Program, we talk to David Frew – Associate and pro bono advocate in our Sydney office.
Why are you involved in our Community Footprint Program?
I have been involved with various charitable initiatives and CSR programs since before I became a lawyer. When I started my work as a lawyer, it made sense to get similarly involved with pro bono due to my passions for helping others and the breadth of opportunities and learning available in the pro bono space.
When joining Wotton + Kearney I was pleased to find the pro bono program held in high regard, with a number of programs for us to be involved in as much or as little as we had capacity for. The pro bono team are all very dedicated to their work as well as being lovely people to be around.
What pro bono projects / matters are you currently involved in and establishing?
I am currently involved in the Redfern Legal and Seniors Rights Services’ clinics and doing a variety of research tasks including refugee family reunification, review of fact sheets for not for profit law and the Australian Human Rights Commission in relation to the National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces.
The Redfern Legal service is a monthly clinic where you deal with three or so appointments at Redfern Town Hall providing general legal advice to either solve a problem on the spot, or refer the matter out to a more appropriate service provider. The clientele of Redfern are quite diverse, the kinds of matters you can deal with will often be life-changing and the matters are always very interesting.
Tell us about an instance where you feel you have had a positive impact as a result of your pro bono work.
Whilst working for the Homeless Person’s Legal Service there were various times when I was able to intervene in the process of someone being improperly removed from their home. It was highly rewarding to know that you had prevented an unfair removal and assisted vulnerable clients get time they needed to put their affairs in order.
What benefit do you personally derive from your involvement in pro bono work?
For me pro bono work is homely, it’s like chicken soup for the soul (or some other kind of soup for the vegetarians who read this). We as lawyers have a very specific set of skills which other members of society do not, and as much as I enjoy it and find the work rewarding, I also believe that lawyers have an obligation to assist those in need.
Why do you think others should get involved?
I don’t think that the impact even a small involvement in pro bono can have is able to be overstated. Some of the questions I have faced during my time giving advice in a pro bono capacity have been from a legal standpoint quite basic, but to the person on the other side of the table to me they can mean the difference between whether they can sleep under a roof for the next week, or whether they will arrested for doing something unintended.
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