Why I Love Community Legal Work
When I started my law degree three years ago, I had recently returned from living my life as a ‘hippy’ in Latin America.
I knew from my experiences overseas that I would never be interested in making lots of money, driving a BMW and having lovely Gucci shoes. I knew that I wanted to study law to help people. I wanted to see how the law can be applied at its ‘grass roots.’
Last semester at uni I did a brief stint at legal welfare and had the opportunity to work on a journal article that discussed the relationship between victims of domestic violence and the injustices of the social security system. This experience really opened my eyes to the reality that some people in Australia live with. The clients at legal welfare are extremely low-income earners and in many cases have become involved with the law because they were in the ‘wrong place at the wrong time’ or due to the malicious actions of someone else.
After this eye opening experience I was offered a job at the consumer law centre, a centre that provides legal advice and support for low-income earners. I began work two weeks ago and after my first day at there I felt at home. I knew that I had made the right choice. I knew that I would be able to apply the law at its ‘grass roots.’
The clients at the consumer law centre range from victims of misleading and deceptive conduct from salespeople to victims of fraud. All these clients need legal advice and support, and in my opinion it is only fair that they get the advice and support that they deserve. The law should not be reserved for those who can ‘afford’ it. Everyone has rights under the law and these rights need to be protected to ensure that the law is upheld.
If you have an opportunity to work in the community legal sphere, it will certainly open your eyes to how the law can help others. Not only will you be able to see the law in action, you will also begin to appreciate why certain laws exist.
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