Australian Pro Bono Centre

Positive Energy: Origin’s In-House Legal Pro Bono Program

Positive Energy:  Origin’s In-House Legal Pro Bono Program
Published on 15 June 2023 by Karen Hauff, Julia Macdonald, Josephine MacMillan and Kristina Matthey The Origin Energy Foundation is a philanthropic organisation formed by Origin, Australia’s largest energy company, with millions of customers and operations in communities across the country.

Through the Origin Energy Foundation, Origin employees have access to unlimited volunteer leave to participate in volunteering with the Foundation’s not-for-profit partners, supporting employees to give their time and skills. Origin’s in-house legal team, who have always been passionate participants in this volunteering program, wanted to explore how they could apply their professional expertise to provide greater value to the Origin Energy Foundation’s not-for-profit partners.

The Pro Bono Committee developed a framework and governance structure, with guidance and support provided by the Australian Pro Bono Centre. We also sought to rely on the National  Pro Bono Professional Indemnity Insurance Scheme (PII Scheme). This important scheme provides free professional indemnity insurance to lawyers and paralegals working on pro bono projects approved by the Centre as meeting  the PII Scheme’s guidelines.

Karen Hauff is a commercial lawyer and Chartered Secretary with more than 20 years of experience, gained in private practice at a global law firm and in-house, with a focus on energy, resources, projects and litigation. Karen has held appointments as General Counsel and Company Secretary of corporations both publicly listed and privately owned and served as a Non-Executive Director at various not-for-profit organisations. In her current role as a Senior Corporate Lawyer at Origin Energy, she provides commercial legal advice to Origin’s Integrated Gas and Generation businesses, including with respect to the Australia Pacific LNG Project and Origin’s renewables projects. Karen is a founding member of Origin Legal’s Pro Bono Committee.

Julia Macdonald is a Senior Corporate Lawyer and Deputy Company Secretary at Origin. She advises on corporate governance, project development, M&A, and joint ventures primarily in the energy and resources sector. Julia is passionate about supporting the not-for-profit sector with pro bono advice, and provides governance support to the Origin Energy Foundation. Prior to Origin, Julia had experience with an ASX-listed energy company and major international law firms. Julia holds a Bachelor of Laws (First Class Honours), Bachelor of Arts, Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice and Graduate Diploma in Management and is admitted to legal practice in Queensland, England and Wales.

Prior to her in-house role with Origin Energy, Josephine gained experience in private practice at global law firms focusing on infrastructure projects and corporate energy transactions. Josephine currently advises on matters related to renewable energy, innovative energy technology solutions and partnerships, supporting Origin’s ambition to lead the energy transition. Josephine is also passionate about contributing to the non-for-profit sector by volunteering with the Origin Foundation and as a member of Origin Legal’s Pro Bono Committee. Josephine has a Bachelor of Laws (Hons), Bachelor of Arts and is currently completing an MBA (Executive) through the Australian Graduate School of Management at UNSW. 

Kristina Matthey is a Personal Assistant in the Upstream & Development team and is also the Pro Bono Coordinator. Kristina has provided administrative support the team for 9 years and has coordinated the Pro Bono Program for 2 years.