10 Years of Tesimonial Accounts (Then & Now)
2012 APBC&A2JX, Laos
As well as having been an inaugural member of the group which co-founded the conference in 2012, I was a member of the APBC&A2JX program committee each year from 2012 until 2018. In 2018 I was also Co-Chair of the local organising committee for the conference which was held in Hong Kong, where I lived between 2016 and 2020. At that time I was DLA Piper’s Pro Bono Consul – Asia, strengthening the firm’s pro bono practice and the access to justice ecosystem in Asia.
Over this past decade I have continued to work as a pro bono lawyer, firstly with Herbert Smith Freehills and then DLA Piper. I have collaborated on projects covering capacity building, creation of legal clinics, delivering legal education, governance and mentoring in the Asia Pacific region.
Since 2020 I have been a Senior International Pro Bono Consultant. My current project is developing a low fee, not for profit law firm in Sydney for people in the ‘missing middle.’ That is, lower income people who earn too much to receive government funded or pro bono legal assistance but not enough to afford standard private law firm fees.
What I value most about APBC&A2JX is that it has always strived to include justice advocates from widely diverse backgrounds. Long may it continue to connect people who want to share ideas and ideals about increasing access to justice, to make life more equitable for everyone.
Hien Bui Thu
It has been a decade since I started to take part in the truly global Pro bono & Access to Justice Network. Back then in 2012, I was still a trainee-lawyer who hadn’t made any promise as in what exactly I would pursue for my legal career. Although I knew somewhere in my heart, I wanted to do justice work, I wasn’t always certain if I would make it my profession. Ten years later, I am still doing justice work – with no breaks in between! The Pro Bono & Access to Justice Network of capable, inspirational, resilient and humble legal professionals from around the world has kept me grounded with my career path. In this Network, I have found expertise, professionalism, collaboration, appreciation, friendship & a lot more. It has inspired and encouraged me to get going.
I was CEO of the Australian Pro Bono Centre from 2004-2019 and have attended and participated in every Asia Pro Bono Conference since it started. I am proud to be part of the Asia Pro Bono movement!
The APBC has helped me gain a broader understanding of the meaning of the concept of pro bono in practice! I have learnt about the varied legal systems and diverse range of experiences of legal service providers in the many countries that have attended, and so actively and enthusiastically participated in, each APBC & A2J exchange.
From the 1st Asia Pro Bono Conference, which was held in Laos and I attended as a student, to the current time, this event has help to strengthen my focus on achieving access to justice and strengthen Rule of Law.
That first Conference exposed me and inspired me to do pro bono, and enter the movement of persons who I saw doing such amazing work.
I am so thankful for having had the continuous opportunity to be doing what I am doing, both in Laos, and globally to assist others with justice needs, and the APBC &A2J has been instrumental in assisting me to do this.
2012 APBC&A2JX, Laos
By seeding and connecting legal empowerment initiatives across the region to address unmet legal needs of vulnerable communities and building partnerships with and between frontline practitioners and communities to advance access to justice for all.
It’s been a place where old and new justice champions can physically and virtually connect/ come together, build new and deepen existing relationships, develop and take forward ideas!