What area at KWM do you work in and what is your specialisation?
I work in the dispute resolution team – specifically in the construction and insurance litigation team.
How long have you been with the firm?
I started as a summer clerk at the end of 2015.
Why are you passionate about our Community Impact practice?
I strongly believe that the opportunity to study and practice law is a privilege. As lawyers, we have at our fingertips a set of skills that can make a difference in the lives of those who are disadvantaged and marginalised. KWM's Community Impact practice partners with organisations that assist those who may otherwise lack access to justice.
What projects or programs have you been involved in recently?
I am a keen participant and the co-lead of the Downing Centre Duty Solicitor scheme and KWM's partnership with Redfern Legal Centre. I also regularly assist with providing ad hoc pro bono legal advice to not-for-profit organisations. For example, I recently worked on advising a number of organisations on the impact of the National Redress Scheme with Moira Saville and provided insurance advice to the RSPCA with Travis Toemoe.
Any stories you can share?
My favourite pro bono story involves assisting a client to obtain a "section 10" in the Downing Centre for a drug possession charge. The client was a teenager, he had no history of criminal behaviour, his references showed that he was a hard worker and regularly volunteered in his community, and the police report stated he was honest and cooperative. I was keen to get him a "section 10" so that this uncharacteristic lapse in judgment at a young age will not impact his future. Fortunately, the magistrate agreed. I'd like to think that I was able to positively impact this person's life, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to do so via KWM's Community Impact practice.
Why do you get involved? What are your motivations?
As a first generation immigrant, I witnessed the kind of disadvantage which may stem from a lack of familiarity with a country's legal system. A desire to protect the rights of those I care about motivated me to study and practice law. I feel extremely lucky to then be afforded the opportunity and ability to work in the legal industry, and I consider it my duty to pay it forward, and use my legal skills to assist those who have not been afforded the same opportunity as I have.
What skills or experiences have you gained through this work?
Pro bono work is deeply rewarding, and it is a good way of building one's confidence as a lawyer from an early stage of practice. Working on pro bono matters builds communication skills, problem solving skills and matter management skills.
What tips do you have for others thinking about getting involved in the Community Impact practice?
If you are not sure about where to get started, speak to one of the clinic leads – we will be thrilled to have you on board.