Free Legal Advice Clinic – University of South Australia

Hi, how are you going? My name’s Caitlin Keage I’m currently in my final year of Law I’m doing my Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice and I have another degree in Political Science. My name’s Carly Manuel I’m in my fourth year of Law doing honours this year and I’m part of the Legal Advice Clinic. The Legal Advice Clinic is a placement option for students who are enrolled in an elective called Legal, Professional and Community Service Experience. Students can choose to be placed in the clinic as their placement. The clinic plays a very important role in the development of, not only student skills, but also the students’ understanding of client-centered practice and what it means to actually be a Lawyer. So, students learn about the role of the Lawyer and in particular they really have a day-to-day understanding of all the ethical components of what it means to actually be a legal practitioner. Well, the Law Clinic was a really good initiative by UniSA It’s just a great opportunity to provide access to justice for those in the community who wouldn’t be able to seek legal advice if it wasn’t for the service that we provide. There is a vast section of the population which simply does not get access to legal advice and then, in turn, those people don’t get access to justice. So, the Legal Advice Clinic can provide access to justice for particularly marginalised and vulnerable members of our society. The legal advice clinic here at the uni is a free service available to anyone in the community. We’re able to interview them and figure out what their legal dispute is and if they’re eligible for us to help them then we’ll do our best with the resources that we have. Researching the issues, then talking with the Solicitor there and then being able to have follow up interviews and advise the clients. Actually dealing with real people provides quite a different experience for students compared with problem solving in a simulated environment. Throughout the Law degree there are a lot of experiential learning opportunities for students but in this particular environment they’re actually able to solve real problems with real people. Our first day at the clinic was really full on. We had our client, we had to get out a letter by that night and now I’m writing letters within an hour and that is definitely going to help in my career. The skills that I’ve learned in the clinic will definitely help me in my future career. You really learn how much is involved in taking on a client. Any member of the public can come to the clinic and we will endeavour to help as many people as we can. There are some areas of law that we will be unable to help with but we will make a decision about those on a case-by-case basis.

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