My Law Clinic experience

Goulburn Valley Community Legal Centre

I have just completed my placement at the GVCLC and at the risk of sounding repetitive and cliché it really was an enriching, eye opening experience.

I found myself interacting with a lot more clients than I expected; completing initial intakes, making appointments, as well as sitting in on a number of interviews (including ones with translators and a woman who was completely deaf.)

I was given a couple of cases that were mine to manage with supervision. I was able to do the research, letter writing and provide advice. I assisted in court on the Centre's duty lawyer day, primarily in Seymour with IVO lists and even waited at the GV Public Hospital for 4 hours with a client as a representative of the Centre trying to get him admitted!

I know metropolitan centres seem more appealing, however after my experience at Goulburn Valley I honestly believe that you can gain more experience from a regional centre where you deal with a much wider variety of clients.

Goulburn Valley is a particularly disadvantaged area, and for a Centre that's supposed to focus only on advice there was a lot of case work - especially with criminal matters that VLA couldn't work and for immigrants who have trouble navigating the legal system.

One of the cases I worked was actually three separate matters against superannuation companies which is not something you would usually see worked at a CLC.

I believe it would be incredibly beneficial to students if there was the possibility of expanding our ties with regional and rural community centres, especially as they are the ones most in need of lawyers and the ones, in my opinion, who seem to be more willing to train graduate lawyers. There willingness to take on and train students was evident by the number of students in attendance.

The lawyers there were incredible and very accessible and were always up for a chat explaining what was going on or to outline future plans.

I would highly recommend to other students from the area if they wanted to do Law Clinic!

Christine Mellino
Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws

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