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Driving force behind Bond pro bono law clinics recognised with national award nomination

Francina Cantatore

Bond University Associate Professor Francina Cantatore has been nominated for Academic of the Year in the prestigious Australian Law Awards to be held at the end of August.

Dr Cantatore, an academic at Bond University for the past seven years, is the Director of the Bond Law Clinic and was instrumental in the University setting up six law clinics after establishing the first in 2013. 

Her passion for providing free legal services is a driving force behind the tireless work she does which includes teaching full-time and conducting academic research.

“The thing that makes our clinics unique is that it is all pro bono work,” said Dr Cantatore, who previously practiced as a solicitor and barrister in her native South Africa.

“I realised many small businesses and not-for-profits have a need for legal advice, but it is really expensive for them and a lot of the time unattainable. That is what motivated me to set up the first Commercial Law Clinic in conjunction with Minter Ellison Lawyers - because I thought there was an unmet need for pro bono work in commercial law areas."

“Ever since we started, the clinics have always been fully booked, which shows a great need in the community for this type of service. For students, participation in the clinics is strictly voluntary. They don't receive academic credit for their work, but they do get a lot of practical experience and it also helps with them with networking."

“In the Immigration Law Clinic we help vulnerable and disadvantaged people who would not otherwise be able to afford legal advice. An example would be helping people with refugee status with visas to assist family members to come to Australia.”

The Lawyers Weekly 2018 Australian Law Awards will be held at a lavish event at The Star in Sydney on August 31.

Dr Cantatore is a registered legal practitioner in the High Court of Australia and the Supreme Court of Queensland, and in addition to her academic career holds the position of Special Counsel with Cronin Litigation Lawyers.

The Bond Law Clinic and Immigration Law Clinic are now open for appointments. To arrange an appointment, call the Bond Law Clinic on +61 7 5595 1070 or email the Clinic Administrator. Appointments will be supervised by a qualified legal practitioner accompanied by a Bond Law student.

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