It is 8:44am. I sit in my car and take in my surroundings as 9:00am slowly approaches. I watch as a various assortment of people arrive, park their cars, and make their way down to the court.
My first observation is of a white station wagon which parks opposite to me. The doors open, and a typical picture book family - mother, father, and two young children - get out. The girls look unsettled, and the parents both look anxious. I feel incredibly sympathetic for this family. I don’t know what their matter concerns, but nevertheless it didn't sit well to see a family in that kind of distress.
The next character to grace my Tuesday morning arrives in a ‘done-up’ BMW, which zooms straight past me. The driver leans out of his window to spit (having a naturally positive outlook, I’ll take this opportunity to commend the gentleman on his impressive display of multitasking). Him and his partner get out of the car, and the first thing I notice is his Adidas bumbag. So 2007. It’s amazing how important first impressions are – this thought occurred to me as I secretly hoped he would emerge unsuccessful from his matter later on.
The last character of the day arrived at around 8:55am. A man, presumably in his late 20s/early 30s. He’s wearing: blue jeans, fancy dress shoes, a white untucked heavily-creased linen shirt and a flamboyantly floral blue blazer. Something tells me that the Magistrate won’t find this peacock as comical as I do.
My early morning sightseeing ends when my phone buzzes, and I remember why I’m here. Today is the second day of my second position as a volunteer paralegal at a community legal centre. I’m here at the Magistrates’ Court to shadow the tenancy lawyer I’m working with on a VCAT hearing.
The point of this story wasn’t to just describe some of the kooky characters one may find in the car park of the Magistrates’ Court, rather to encourage all of you to apply for and take these types of legal opportunities! Since I began volunteering earlier this year my grades have improved dramatically, and this is definitely not the only perk. Volunteering gives you the ability to network with other members of the legal community and to get access to valuable experience. Also (probably one of the best reasons) there is nothing more satisfying than getting thanked by one of the clients you’ve assisted – oh the feels!
So yes, take all the opportunities! Volunteer with an organisation you’re passionate about. Put in those forms and jump on a plane to a foreign country. As the all-knowing Google told me (when searching for inspirational quotes): “In the end… We only regret the chances we didn’t take, the relationships we were afraid to have, and the decisions we waited too long to make”.
P.S. If you want to ask me about volunteering at a legal centre, educate me in respect of Adidas clothing and/or accessories, or give me some information about your experiences in London Town, tweet me at @jafurolo.
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