Our graduate program each year incorporates a pro bono placement with our graduates completing one day a week for 12 weeks.
Our 2020 graduate cohort undertook their pro bono placements at the end of last year in community legal centres in Canberra and Sydney, and shared these thoughts and experiences from being involved in our pro bono program.
Disability Discrimination Law
'My time at Disability Discrimination Law (DDL) was fantastic and definitely a highlight of the grad program. I found my time there to be both educational and rewarding.
I found it deeply satisfying being able to help clients who, without DDL’s assistance, would not be able to remedy a situation. I am very grateful for the opportunity to have volunteered at DDL and help some of the most vulnerable Australians.'
Housing Law and Street Law
'My placement at Housing Law and Street Law at Canberra Community Law (CCL) was a very rewarding and insightful experience. I appreciated gaining an understanding of tenancy law in the ACT and the challenges that many of CCL’s clients face. I assisted Housing Law’s senior solicitor prepare for residential tenancy hearings, and conducted research into interesting areas of tenancy and housing law.'
Women’s Legal Centre
'The staff at the WLC are incredibly hard-working and committed, and operate cohesively as a team to achieve the WLC’s objectives and good outcomes for their clients. The legal and social issues faced by clients of the WLC can often be extremely complex and challenging, so the empathy and care with which the WLC staff approach all their work was inspiring.'
Consumer Law Centre
'Working at Consumer Law Centre (CLC) was a great experience that gave me the opportunity to do something completely different from my work at AGS. As a small centre, they are incredibly busy and gave me a lot of responsibility. I performed research, drafted correspondence to clients and relevant parties, attended client meetings and participated in training. My work was very rewarding and it was a great feeling to make a real impact for vulnerable clients.
The service that CLC provide is incredibly important, and they specialise in assisting clients who have experienced financial abuse and economic hardship arising from family violence. One of the best moments of my placement was having a bank waive a debt for a client in a very difficult situation. I also appreciated how supportive and passionate the staff were at CLC, it definitely made me want to continue contributing to the AGS pro bono program!'
Financial Rights Legal Centre
'Financial Rights Legal Centre (FRLC) in Sydney offers advice and advocacy to consumers in financial stress.
I was able to support FRLC’s important work in a number of ways, including by updating the FRLC Bankruptcy Toolkit publication, redrafting the FRLC legal advice factsheets published on their website applying Plain English principles, drafting case studies, and conducting legal research on the impact of COVID-19-related changes to bankruptcy law, superannuation, financial hardship, and insurance. The placement has sparked my interest in pro bono work and I look forward to participating in other pro bono initiatives in the future.'
Arts Law Centre of Australia
'I worked on a broad range of interesting matters during my placement, from preparing template agreements to assisting clients with legal disputes to advocating for the Arts sector.
My experience at Arts Law was extremely valuable. I was given lots of responsibility and discretion in how I went about my work, which helped me to develop my legal skills. Having the opportunity to work with real clients also gave me insight into the legal challenges and pitfalls faced by the general public. I look forward to putting what I learned into practice at AGS.'
For further details visit the AGS pro bono page.