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Annette Bain

Annette Bain

Pro Bono Counsel, Asia

Annette Bain's role is to identify unmet legal needs in communities and develop appropriate legal responses, such as legal outreach clinics or new secondments, with DLA Piper lawyers and the firm's clients.

Her current projects include assisting victims of sexual assault and other mistreatment in seeking compensation, advising people in a refugee camp on their rights, advising a LGBTI organisation on law reforms that may adversely affect its clients, and preparing a report on community legal services.

To help build pro bono culture, Annette collaborates with local legal institutions such as Bar Associations, Law Societies, law schools, legal NGOs and Pro Bono Roundtables to nurture and develop awareness of pro bono work in the region.

Annette is a regular speaker on pro bono topics and a mentor to new pro bono lawyers.

Annette Bain started in July 2016 as the inaugural Pro Bono Counsel for Asia at DLA Piper Hong Kong, covering offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo, Seoul, Singapore and Bangkok.

Professional QualificationsSolicitor of the High Court of AustraliaSolicitor of the Supreme Court of New South Wales


Annette has over 20 years' experience as a pro bono leader working with marginalised communities in Australia and South-East Asia. After working as a lawyer for marginalised women, she has lead law firm pro bono programs in Australia and Asia. She has significant expertise in raising awareness of pro bono and building pro bono opportunities which increase access to justice for the community. This has included, working with NGOs in Australia to create legal clinics and secondments, such as the first law firm flying lawyer program to remote NSW; establishing the first legal clinic for homeless women, in Victoria; establishing the first business law clinic for unemployed entrepreneurs, which evolved into a model which provided advice to Indigenous business owners; collaborated with corporate counsel to deliver pro bono legal services.

Annette has mentored many law firm pro bono leaders and NGO leaders, and is a Company Director. She has often advised on governance, establishment, operations and other issues relating to pro bono or corporate responsibility relationships by the legal sector, business, NGO and academic communities in Australia, the USA and Asia.

She has collaborated in effective collective impact projects such as a Legal Ethics Curriculum being delivered with BABSEA CLE in Asia, and Project 90 - a collective of law firm, NGO, bank, property company, mental health Ngo and the city council to reduce the number of people with a mental illness who were sleeping rough in Sydney.

  • Graduate, Australian Institute of Company Directors
  • Macquarie University, Bachelor of Legal Studies
  • Macquarie University, Master of Arts


Regular speaker and commentator on pro bono issues, including:

  • National Access to Justice and Pro Bono Conference, Australia - Program Committee Member in 2015
  • Asia Pro Bono Conference - which she co-founded in 2012
  • Pro Bono Institute Conference, Washington DC - since 2002

Prior Experience

  • 2015-2016 Pro Bono Law and Corporate Responsibility Consultant 
  • 2013-2015 Head, Pro Bono and Community, Herbert Smith Freehills, Asia Pacific
  • 2006-2012 Pro Bono Counsel and Executive Director, Freehills Foundation, Australia
  • 2001-2006 National Pro Bono Coordinator, Freehills, Australia
  • 1996-2001 Solicitor and Educator, Women's Legal Services NSW
  • 1993-1996 Barrister, Forbes Chambers, Sydney, Australia

Memberships And Affiliations

  • Registered Foreign Lawyer, Hong Kong
  • Law Society Of Hong Kong (Registered Foreign Lawyer)
  • Law Society of New South Wales, Australia
  • Australian Institute of Company Directors
  • Association of Pro Bono Counsel (USA)