Australian Pro Bono Centre

Ethics and Education as the Foundation of a Pro Bono Practice: Gilchrist Connell’s Experience

Ethics and Education as the  Foundation of a Pro Bono Practice: Gilchrist Connell’s Experience
Published on 15 June 2023 by Jilly Field and Shakti Srikanth Gilchrist Connell established a dedicated pro bono practice in early 2022 and has focused the practice on ethics, education and a commitment to critical thinking.

Gilchrist Connell had been looking to formalise its pro bono commitment and, in 2022, recruited Jilly Field to establish a standalone practice. Jilly has since been joined by pro bono lawyer, Shakti Srikanth, and part-time pro bono assistant Kristina Hatzigeorgiou.  A Questioning Approach to Pro Bono The practice is founded on a commitment to care, ethics, humility and service, with core values of learning and questioning.  

To firmly address this approach, a Pro Bono Values Statement was developed to underpin the Pro Bono Policy, Pro Bono Strategy and the First Nations Response. The Pro Bono Values Statement is based on the key values of fairness, learning and questioning. It commands us to consider the position of the harmed and the context of their lived experience when we respond from our position of privilege. It also directs us to critically think through our programs, strategies and communications. The Values Statement supports the Pro Bono Policy.  

Jilly Field is a former  Senior Associate, Pro Bono Manager at Ashurst Australia and a member of the NSW Community Legal Centre Board. Jilly managed the firm’s national practice with a focus on developing strategic solutions to address unmet legal need and law reform.

Shakti Srikanth is a Pro Bono Lawyer at Gilchrist Connell. Shakti’s recent work includes substantial writing for the front line on the areas of family and domestic violence and sexual consent laws and poverty. Prior to joining Gilchrist Connell, Shakti was a Corporate Junior Associate at Baker McKenzie. Shakti has also done victims’ compensation work for the Shoalcoast Community Legal Centre and legal work for RACS.