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23 July 2020

Pro bono work is more than just responsible business practice for One Direct Advisory (ODA) and their partner law firm Priority Business Lawyers (PBL) – it’s part of the ethos, with advisors through ODA providing upwards of 450 hours of pro-bono services in the last twelve months.

In the 2019/2020 financial year alone, more than two full months of collective pro bono hours were provided by advisors across areas such as business strategy, law, finance, and corporate governance.

PBL’s Managing Director Raea Khan is one of ODA’s advisors, having provided his legal expertise pro bono to the firm long before the joint venture. Both he and ODA’s Chairman, Ron Thomsen, expect an increase in the demand for legal advice post COVID-19.

Mr Thomsen shared his views on the role lawyers will play moving into the virus recovery period, and the importance of other advisories following ODA and PBL’s lead when it comes to pro bono work.

“It is a fact that lawyers have a big role to play in the recovery post the virus – not only in terms of the economy but also in such areas as workplace law circumstances, in addressing relationship problems, and even construction and infrastructure expansions,” explained Mr Thomsen.

“Our team is excited to see the Australian Pro Bono Centre (APBC) further encouraging legal professionals to get involved in offering pro bono services, and hope many lawyers will follow in the footsteps of our advisors who have already made a significant contribution to the community through their pro bono work,” he continued.

The APBC is the organisation behind the National Pro Bono Target, an initiative that encourages lawyers to provide the community with upwards of 20-hours of pro bono work a year.

The target is aimed at both closing the justice gap by creating opportunities for the community to access to high-quality legal services and providing lawyers with a unique opportunity to make a real difference in achieving social justice objectives.

Through ODA, the joint venture with PBL has established pro bono runs on the board but is committed to increasing their support efforts in the coming months, as necessary – particularly in the area of legal advice.

The ODA business advisory was first established in 2018 by past collegiate members of the successful Westpac Project and Advisory Unit who banded together to provide their time to ultimately help Meals on Wheels Central Coast (MoWCC). Since inception, the firm’s experienced advisors have offered their services on an entirely pro bono basis.

“Over the course of two years, the advisory firm has provided the local community with high-quality advice across a wide range of complex areas, and – due to advisors providing their services free of charge to ODA – we’ve been able to do this at a discounted rate with all receipts going directly to MoWCC without any overhead administration withdrawal,” explained Mr Thomsen.

“We are very proud of the contribution we make to MoWCC each year. The funds we are able to pass on help to ensure that the prices of MoWCC meals remain price competitive for their aged, frail and disabled client base,” concluded Mr Thomsen.

For more information on the joint venture and services offered by One Direct Advisory and Priority Business Lawyers, visit www.pbloda.com.au.