Two lawyers who have devoted a large chunk of their careers to public legal assistance have taken out the individual categories in the Attorney General’s Community Service Law Awards.
Veteran barrister Robert Lindsay won the Individual Award and criminal lawyer Kate Turtley-Chappel was chosen for the inaugural Legal Aid Panel Member Award.
Attorney General John Quigley presented the awards – which celebrate legal work for the public good in Western Australia – as part of a gala event last night.
Mr Lindsay is a former director of Legal Aid WA. Since becoming an independent barrister in 2000, he has continued to represent Legal Aid clients and acted for others on a pro bono or discounted basis.
Ms Turtley-Chappel is a former Legal Aid and Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia lawyer who in private practice remains committed to serving clients of both agencies.
The Legal Aid Panel Member category was introduced this year to recognise private lawyers who have made exceptional contributions assisting disadvantaged people.
The Not-for-Profit Award went to Kimberley Community Legal Services, which assists clients free of charge across a vast region reaching remote communities where no other general legal services are regularly available.
Clayton Utz won the Legal Firm Award. In the last financial year, 93 per cent of the firm’s lawyers and partners in Perth acted in pro bono matters at an average rate of about 52 hours per lawyer.
This is the 16th time the awards have been held.
As stated by Attorney General John Quigley:
“The lawyers and organisations honoured in these awards have been outstanding in selflessly providing their services to vulnerable Western Australians.
“I’m pleased that the invaluable work being done for clients of Legal Aid has been prominent among those recognised.
“Robert Lindsay has inspired junior practitioners to follow his example in taking on pro bono work and been assiduous in seeking justice for refugees and asylum seekers.
“Kate Turtley-Chappel is the principal of a private practice, yet frequently takes on challenging and difficult matters for underprivileged and sometimes contentious clients.
“Kimberley Community Legal Services during the COVID-19 pandemic continued to handle hundreds of cases despite strict travel limits being in place.
“Clayton Utz’s pro bono work has covered the spectrum of legal matters and includes 19 successful compensation applications for survivors of sexual assault and family violence.”