I was awarded the Pro Bono Individual Gold Awards by the Law Society of Hong Kong Pro in 2010-12 and 2014, and the Pro Bono Individual Award by the Home Affairs Bureau in 2012 and 2015, for having volunteered 100+ hours annually to community and pro bono services. While I am grateful for the recognition, going forward I would like to periodically take stock of my experiences as a sense check and self-appraisal. I believe I could better ground myself by doing so.
I have served marginalized groups in my voluntary services over the years. For example, I have provided pro bono services with the Duty Lawyer Free Legal Advice Scheme and the Hong Kong Refugee Advice Centre (“HKRAC” now, the Justice Centre Hong Kong). I am privileged to be able to apply my professional knowledge and skills to benefit the community at large. In this regard, I have been interviewed on my work at the HKRAC, where I advised asylum seekers on refugee status determination, and on my thoughts about pro bono services in Hong Kong.
In an interview with the Hong Kong Economic Times (年青律師為難民開路) also in February 2012, I have described how I have found the experience with the HKRAC personally impacting and rewarding.
In brief, serving individual lives to protect their dignity and basic rights is truly compelling and invokes a deep sense of compassion. This feeling nourishes and enriches one’s humanity. It’s food for the soul, if you will. But this is not the full story and I will revisit this theme in a later post.