b'Indigenous ReconciliationEloise Schnierer is Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Gilbert + TobinKimberley Peckham is First Nations Strategies Coordinator at Gilbert + TobinEloise Schnierer Kimberley PeckhamThe past year was dominated by the referendumbecame a highly divisive referendum campaign, to enshrine an Aboriginal and Torres Straitthese issues of justice, equity and fairness Islander Voice to Parliament in the Australianremain. constitution. We are all aware of the outcomeLaw firms played an important role in and many of us in the legal profession arethe referendum campaign, as a source turning our minds to what comes next.of authoritative information on the legal Like all Australian businesses, law firms have aimplications of the proposed Aboriginal and responsibility to drive reconciliation betweenTorres Strait Islander Voice to parliament. First Nations and other Australians, because thePost-referendum, we can expect First Nations legal and economic systems which we benefitcommunities to look to firms to continue to from continue to disproportionately impactprovide authoritative information on First and exclude First Nations peoples. As lawyers,Nations legal issues. This role is arguably more we also have a responsibility to the communityimportant in the post-referendum world because to ensure that our legal system is fair andof the level of misinformation and disinformation accessible to all. As the dust settles on whatthat featured in some quarters of the campaign.It means being willing to get on the ground and understand the local context of your clients. It means taking a long-term view of the client-relationship and working to build a strong and trusting relationship over time.Despite the referendum outcome, the Ulurufor First Nations peoples must be grounded in Statement asks still remainvoice, treaty andself-determination and a commitment to two-truth. Laws firms should review the opportunitiesway learning. This means designing services for First Nations peoples to have a voice withinaround the needs and priorities of First Nations their business, especially First Nations staff, andcommunities, as articulated by them. It means consider what a pivot to supporting treaty andtaking time to understand an organisations truth looks like. The ongoing business of closingstrategic needs in the short, medium and long the gap in outcomes between First Nations andterm. It means being willing to get on the non-First Nations also remains, and now is a timeground and understand the local context of your to refocus on delivery of pro bono legal servicesclients. It means taking a long-term view of the and employment programs that are empoweringclient-relationship and working to build a strong and culturally safe. and trusting relationship over time. However, As law firms, one of the areas where we canfirms should be cautious of relying solely on the have the greatest positive impact for Firstwork of their pro bono teams to achieve their Nations communities is through the provisionkey reconciliation goals. Efforts should extend of pro bono legal services. Pro bono servicesbeyond the pro bono team and its work and be embedded in firms operating structures.18'