First Nations

Working to support First Nations Peoples in Australia

Artwork by Mandy Braddick, First Nations Artist from the Wandandian tribe and Gumea and Dharawal language groups.

We deliver culturally coherent, effective and durable pro bono legal advice to First Nations Clients. Our legal support for, and with, First Nations Peoples and First Nations led organisations began in the early 1970s when lawyers at the firm helped to establish an Aboriginal Legal Service in Redfern. The Aboriginal Legal Service, NSW (ALS), was the first free legal service in Australia.

Key themes across our First Nations work:

  • Economic participation and prosperity
  • Prioritising community ("grass roots")
  • Policy and advocacy
  • Learning and healing
  • Cultural safety
  • Looking forward: doing better and doing more

Underpinning this vision are key principles guiding our approach:

  • Work needs to be First Nations led
  • Relationships are critical and need to be placed at the centre of all we do
  • Work needs to be culturally safe
  • First Nations people should not be expected to do the "heavy lifting" to achieve change
  • We need to take a "business as usual" approach every day in all we do, right across our business. This means that we practice reconciliation as a matter of course across our day to day business functions
  • We need to approach the work we do with humility and candour, and always start from a position of listening to affected individuals and communities
  • Our responses to community needs should always be informed by the community affected
  • We need to be honest about our learnings and failings as we go about this work; and constantly work to improve our policies, strategies and approaches
  • Reconciliation is a process each of us undertakes every day, and is dependent on actions, our work is underpinned by commitments made within our Reconciliation Action Plans, which we've had in place for several years 

Our First Nations work includes:

Mentoring Programmes: 

  • ABNC
  • CareerTrackers


  • First Nations Legal Internship – Eagle Street
  • First Nations Pro Bono and Social Impact Cadetship


  • Yala
  • First Nations Scholarship (Qld)
  • First Nations Scholarship (Mel)

Cultural Safety/Support and Thought Leadership:

  • Monthly Let's Yarn blogs that provide learning opportunities for staff globally
  • First Nations Employee Network
  • Reverse mentoring opportunities
  • Cultural Leave Policy
  • Regular social media posts/articles/events that acknowledge and celebrate First Nations Peoples and work
  • Cultural learning opportunities and advice for functions across Ashurst (i.e. People & Culture, Events, Procurement) to promote First Nations initiatives and advancement across the business
  • Providing advice and support to commercial clients to further strengthen relationships and collaborate on initiatives


Latest work, awards & rankings

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Key contacts