What's it like to volunteer at Flem Ken?

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Volunteering in the Generalist Practice exposes you to a diversity of legal matters. On any given day, volunteers could draft a memo to counsel for a client implicated in the criminal justice system, undertake a legal research project on the Migration Act, draft a letter of demand in relation to a consumer issue or prepare an application for special circumstances in relation to infringements. It is hard to think where else young, eager law students can acquire such valuable experience.

In addition to exposure to a raft of different legal issues, volunteers develop the ability to conduct client interviews under the supervision of Sue Brown, Principal Solicitor. In my view, the most satisfying aspect of volunteering at the Centre, it also can be particularly challenging considering language barriers, financial realities and the emotional stress which confront clients going through increasingly complicated legal processes. This experience is a timely reminder of the importance of maintaining empathy and compassion when working in this field.

Furthermore, as a current law student, the breadth of skills I have developed through volunteering in the General practice include, but are not limited to, communication and written skills, preparing formal correspondence and administrative skills. These skills have provided me with a solid foundation to further pursue a passion for access to justice.

Outside the abundance of legal experience, the ability to chat with other lawyers, support staff and fellow volunteers on topics as diverse as current police review practices to 20th century lunch-time trivia to the many ups and downs of law school means the Centre remains a friendly and supportive environment for all those who pass through its doors.

Overall, it has been a pleasure to work in a supportive environment and a privilege to support clients who live, work or study in the Flemington and Kensington area.

Charlie Schaffer, Volunteer law student 2018

If you would like more information about applying to be a volunteer with us head to our Volunteer Application page

Volunteering for the Somali Women’s Project has been very rewarding for a variety of reasons. As a Somali-Australian law student, I was given the opportunity to work alongside one of the legal centres solicitors, Nimet. The project was to develop an outreach to assess legal needs and consultation combined with targeted community legal education for Somali-Australian women in the Flemington-Kensington area.

I was able to work within the Somali community, and to provide an ‘inside’ perspective to allow for a holistic approach in assisting Somali women of the Flemington and Kensington area. The project objectives included engagement with Somali women to exchange information and knowledge, and to learn the legal needs met/unmet by the community. It was important to address the areas of the law that Somali women felt needed additional attention as relating to their circumstances.

As a current law student, the Flemington and Kensington Community Legal Centre provides an opportunity to absorb a wealth of knowledge and a variety of skills. Volunteering at FKCLC is undoubtedly a valuable experience.

Hodan Ali, Volunteer law student 2018

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