33 BACK TO NAVIGATION 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 National Reconciliation Week activities NAIDOC Week activities Cultural awareness training Reconciliation Action Plan Procurement Probono Scholarships and Student mentoring Secondment 14 15 15 15 2 3 3 2 Employment Program 3 5 6 2 0 2 4 6 8 Reflect Innovate Stretch Elevate report progress ranging from committees, partners, directors and combinations of these. But only fifteen firms or forty-five percent had put in place a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) that was reviewed by reconciliation Australia. Firms were also active participants in initiatives and events to raise awareness and provide recognition to reconciliation and indigenous issues. Fourteen firms participated in National Reconciliation Week activities and fifteen also participated in NAIDOC week activities. Fifteen firms also provided indigenous cultural awareness training. There was a very high correlation between firms that participated in these programs and those who were implementing Reconciliation Action plans. Other support for indigenous Australians also included providing legal pro bono programs, employment and training programs, secondments to aboriginal corporations and indigenous procurement programs. Challenges and Opportunities Unfortunately, the 2016 report, “Council of Australian Government’s 2016 Closing the Gap”, shows that progress on most of their important targets to monitor health and wellbeing are not improving. Child mortality, life expectancy, school enrolments and attendance, literacy and numeracy and employment are all not on track to being met. Access to legal services is a key challenge for many individuals and organisations in the indigenous community. While pro bono services to indigenous clients is a priority in some legal pro bono programs there are still unmet needs. This provides opportunities to review pro bono programs at law firms to better meet the needs and increase accessibility for indigenous communities. Indigenous people like many minority groups, are underrepresented in the legal profession. The National Profile of Solicitors 2016 Report, conducted by the NSW Law Society found that only 1.2% of the profession nationally identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander despite being 2.8% of the population. In NSW 1.6% of the profession are Indigenous and yet are three percent of the population. In the NT, 1.8% of the profession are Indigenous, but Indigenous people comprise twenty-five percent of the NT population. There are opportunities for law firms to invest more in a range of initiatives and policies including scholarships, internships, and affirmative recruitment policies to address this gap. Participation in business is a key element that drives sustainable self-sufficiency in many indigenous families and communities. Increasingly indigenous businesses are providing supplier diversity through competitive goods and services that are used by law firms and other businesses. But for these businesses to grow and to increase their range of products and services further they need the increased demand and support from businesses like law firms. Supply Nation is the leading directory for indigenous businesses and is endorsed by the Australian Government Only forty-five percent of reporting AusLSA members firms reported having a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) in progress. While this doesn’t mean the remaining firms have no commitments to reconciliation, RAPs provide a clear public statement and a management standard. The 2016 RAP Impact Measurement Report shows that RAPs are having an extremely positive effect in workplaces across Australia and improve a firm’s chances of achieving their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander engagement objectives of Respect, Relationships and Opportunities and implementing and measuring practical actions. While having plans and policies is an important part of the challenge, it is just as important that strong leadership, commitment, diligence and transparency are brought to these plans so they can be effective in changing established beliefs, behaviors and outcomes. This requires real engagement with a firm’s leadership, employees, stakeholders and meaningful connections with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stakeholders. INITIATIVES RAP LEVEL Number of firms Number of firms