Law Students get an education in Community Legal Centres

“My first days at BCLS consisted of a very quick and warm welcome followed by a very quick immersion into work. In just over a week I went from orientation to taking one-on-one interviews with clients and running my own files. Under the close supervision of the lawyers, I have already noticed an improvement in my practical legal skills, the benefits of which I am able to pass on to clients.”

 

BCLS hosts three law students per Trimester as part of the ‘Legal Internship’ unit offered by Deakin University’s Law Faculty. We have also hosted 15 graduate students this year who have completed their post graduate training in legal practice with us.

 

The Legal Internship enables students to gain an appreciation of how a legal practice operates and to extend and deepen their theoretical knowledge of the law by working under the supervision of qualified lawyers. The students enjoy taking instructions, doing legal research, negotiating disputes and building on their interviewing techniques, as it is often the first opportunity many of them have had to use their legal knowledge.

 

BCLS staff present tutorials to the law students to train them in the areas of law that they can expect to encounter when working in a community legal service. They are educated on community legal education and the various services that BCLS provides to clients. The students also attend Court with a Family Violence Intervention Order duty lawyer and the Family Relationship Centre where a weekly information session is delivered followed by one- on- one client legal appointments.

 

We are committed to educating the next generation of lawyers and giving them the opportunity to see what the community legal sector can offer them, if they choose to pursue this work as a career.

 

The feedback from students on the skills and knowledge they have gained from placement at BCLS has been very positive:

 

“This is the most positive experience I have had in any legal organisation and has re-energised my interest in the law.”

“I have learnt so much and will definitely take the skills I have learnt with me in my future career.”

“Hearing about community education projects allowed me to see another side of BCLS.”

“Being trusted to see our own clients and manage files was really enjoyable and I feel it has made me more aware of what legal practice is really like.”