Annette Beashel is Head of Risk Management for the Middle East region of DLA Piper and Risk Management Legal Counsel for the firm. Annette advises the firm and its lawyers on how to deal with ethical issues and compliance with professional responsibility standards that apply to lawyers and other regulations which apply to a law firm.
Since 2013, Annette has been involved in New Perimeter’s project, Curriculum Development in South East Asia project, a collaboration between New Perimeter, Bridges Across Borders Southeast Asia Community Legal Education (BABSEA CLE), Herbert Smith Freehills and the Australian Government Solicitor. Annette has helped develop and deliver training materials on a number of different aspects of a lawyers’ professional responsibilities as well as access to justice and pro bono. These materials are now being introduced and will eventually be used in a number of local universities across South East Asia as part of the standard curricula, where such topics are often not included. The aim of the project is to also help build the culture of pro bono and access to justice in the region by reaching out to law students.
Annette and a team of lawyers developed ten modules, each designed to be interactive and taught within a finite time. The materials were tested at workshops in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Singapore and Thailand to obtain feedback from the lecturers and the students, and to ensure that the materials worked in the local context. Participants in the workshops were comprised of law students in their penultimate year of studies, law lecturers and members of the local Bar Associations. Annette says, “it was a fantastic experience to see the hard work we had put into developing the teaching materials being realized and the positive reaction received from the participants.”
Annette has also been working to increase access to justice and raise awareness about the availability of the curriculum. She recently spoke at a plenary session of the Third South East Asia Pro Bono conference in Singapore, and is working with the team to consider other avenues to assist in improving access to justice in the region.
"Annette's in-depth and practical knowledge of ethical issues coupled with her natural teaching skills and her commitment to access to justice made her an obvious choice for this project," said Claire Donse, International Pro Bono Counsel. "Her energy and enthusiasm also allowed her to really connect with the students, making her a real asset to this project."
Annette has a strong interest in pro bono projects and how the law can empower disadvantaged groups to achieve a better standard of living and exercise their legal rights. Additional pro bono work throughout her career includes acting as a Volunteer Solicitor and Coordinator for a Legal Advice Centre in London; travelling to Ghana to work as a Volunteer and Project Leader with Habitat for Humanity; working on a research project with a team of DLA Piper Middle East lawyers; and writing advice to a charity, SOS Village, which acts as a foster home for orphaned children.
My highlight from the curriculum development project was the gratitude that the students and faculty expressed at the end of the two-day workshop, which I attended in Laos. It was very humbling, and made me realise that in just two short days we had been able to make a huge impact on the participants' lives. All those who attended received a certificate of participation, and I was overwhelmed by the level of excitement the participants had when they received their certificate, each insisting on getting a photo, shaking my hand, and holding their certificate up proudly. For many, attending the workshop would mean being able to obtain a job or a promotion. When I got home after the trip I really felt energized with the thought that something which we started working on months ago in an office meeting room in Sydney could have such an impact on someone's life in on the other side of the world. It really reinforced to me why I enjoy pro bono work and feel a responsibility to incorporate it into my career.”
Access to justice