Hear from Nathan Kennedy, Special Counsel and Director of Pro Bono and Community at Hall & Wilcox
By Cancer Council NSW
Hall & Wilcox provide vital legal support to people affected by cancer across Australia through their involvement in the Cancer Council Pro Bono Program. Since joining the program in late 2017, they have assisted 23 people on a free basis with a range of legal matters.
We spoke with Nathan Kennedy, Director of Pro Bono and Community at Hall & Wilcox, about his experience with the program.
How does Hall & Wilcox’s involvement in the Pro Bono Program fit into the firm’s wider pro bono practice?
Referrals from the Pro Bono Program form a substantial part of the firm’s pro bono practice. They provide our lawyers with a wide range of legal work in areas such as debt, employment, wills and estates and superannuation to name a few. It allows our lawyers to use their expertise to help individuals during a very difficult time in their lives and this is something that our lawyers are not normally exposed to in their day to day commercial practice.
Why do you think providing pro bono legal assistance to people affected by cancer is important?
A primary motivation for Hall & Wilcox’s involvement with pro bono work is to uphold the rule of law by providing access to justice to people who would otherwise be unable to do so. Often people are unable to access the legal system due to financial reasons but illness and disability can also prevent people being able to properly obtain the legal assistance they require.
A diagnosis of cancer can be devastating for a person both mentally and physically and can lead to financial pressures and affect them in other ways meaning that their ability to obtain the legal assistance they require during such a difficult time is limited. It is therefore extremely important that a service such as the one offered by the Cancer Council exists and that firms such as Hall & Wilcox are able to provide the legal assistance that the clients need. By providing legal assistance the client can focus on healing and not have to worry about stressful legal issues.
Talking about the highlights of the firm’s involvement in the program, Nathan explained…
It is a profound and privileged experience for our lawyers to assist those clients whose diagnosis is terminal. This usually involves taking instructions at the hospital assisting the clients to put their affairs in order before they die. It gives the client some peace in their final days to know that their wishes for their family are in order and allows them and their family to focus on their remaining time together.
Any of us, our friends or family can be diagnosed with cancer. The importance of the assistance we provide to the Cancer Council can be summed up by the following feedback from one of our lawyers:
“It is very rewarding to be able to provide some assistance to those struck by cancer and help them through such an extremely difficult time, in similar situations to which many of us have experienced more closely in our own circle of loved ones.”
We really appreciate the support of Nathan and the incredibly generous assistance that Hall & Wilcox provide to people affected by cancer.