Volunteer Legal Assistants: Information for new and current volunteers
When you first start at RLC
Welcome to RLC as a new intake volunteer! Here are a few details about working with us.
Volunteer Legal Assistants are the first point of contact for members of the public who need legal help. So your role is vital and we cannot function without you. You work out how we can help people, and you arrange for that help to occur. You also provide some support to people at a time of crisis.
Your first shift, what to bring, dress code
There is no specific dress code. It is not necessary to wear formal gear, and we would like you to feel comfortable while you are here. But please dress for the office, not for the beach or the gym!
On your first day, please show up at the front office on time and let the supervisor know it is your first shift. (There is no gain in coming early, as the office will be closed). You do not need to prepare or bring anything (except for any training we might have asked you to complete at home).
We have a lunchroom with a fridge, microwave and coffee and tea, which you are most welcome to use.
Making it official
There are a few more forms to fill in.
Please see here and follow the instructions: https://rlc.org.au/jobs-volunteers/confirmation
Looking forward to working with you at RLC!
Rosters and shifts
Being here for the whole shift is essential.
Shift times: 9.45am-1pm and 2pm-5pm, except Wednesday there is no shift. Please check emails from RLC in case we have varied this.
Dates RLC is closed (put in your diary now if your shift is affected!):
- RLC closes on all public holidays, including Australia Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Anzac Day, June King's Birthday Monday, and the October long weekend Monday.
- We close for approximately two weeks over Christmas-New Year.
Communication and apologies
Your first point of contact is Nick Manning, Intake Manager, whose email is: volunteering AT rlc.org.au. Nick manages the front office intake and compiles the roster. If you need to miss a shift for any reason, or make any changes to your rostering, please email him (or talk to him in the office).
Phone: Please add our Admin/Professional phone number to your contacts: (02) 8037 8001. This number is answered at times when the general public number is not, so it is your best number for RLC.
Apologies (when you can't attend your rostered shift): We understand that you need to miss shifts for study and exams, holidays and illnesses. We never require a medical certificate. All we ask is as much advance notice as possible. Email is preferred:
- Apologies: Email to Nick: volunteering AT rlc.org.au
- Late notes: If you are just running late, please email intake AT rlc.org.au so your shift supervisor sees it.
RLC provides extensive training for the role. You will do most of the training during your normal shifts at RLC. We might ask you to complete some initial online training at home before your first day at Redfern - if so, details will be in an email sent to you one or two weeks ahead of your start date.
RLC works for the wellbeing of our clients, while aiming to maintain and enhance the wellbeing of our staff and volunteers.
Prayer and meditation breaks during shifts: It is OK to take breaks for prayer or meditation. Ask your Supervisor if a private room is available. And thanks to one of our ex-volunteers for donating the prayer mat which you are welcome to borrow!
Employee Assistance Program: RLC belongs to an Employee Assistance Program, which is a free and confidential counselling service available to all staff and volunteers at the Centre. This service is available for you to discuss RLC-related matters and also any personal matters you have. RLC staff are not informed when you use this service, so it is completely confidential.
Concerns, feedback and complaints: At any time if you have questions, concerns or complaints about anything at RLC, feel free to speak to any of these staff if you wish:
- Your shift supervisor
- Intake Manager
- Principal Solicitor
- Chief Operations Officer (COO)
Keeping in touch
- Please like our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/redfernlegal, to help us build our social media presence, and it will help you stay in touch with the social justice issues that RLC engages with.
- Please also join our private facebook group Redfern Legal Centre Volunteers. We use this group as a quick way of alerting all volunteers (intake, PLT, solicitors etc) about what we are doing, and about opportunities that come up. We manage the membership, as we don’t want the wider community or legal profession in this group, just the “RLC family”. So if you have a facebook account and are happy to join, search for “Redfern Legal Centre Volunteers”, or go to: https://www.facebook.com/groups/519553881397123/ and ask to join.
You will receive RLC’s regular ebulletin, Redfern Legal, so you can stay in touch with what’s happening with the Centre and stay up to date with developments in our key areas of law. We are also on:
- LinkedIn: Redfern Legal Centre http://www.linkedin.com/company/2909417?trk=tyah
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/RLC_CEO
- Instagram: @TeamRLC https://www.instagram.com/teamrlc
Can intake volunteering count towards PLT requirements?
RLC’s policy is that front desk intake volunteering cannot count towards PLT hours. This is because the structure of intake volunteering is inconsistent with a number of PLT requirements, depending on the college in question, including:
- intake shifts are sometimes only 3-4 hours per day
- intake supervision is by multiple paid and volunteer staff who are not lawyers
- the nature of intake work does not fully meet the range and level of work that a PLT requires.
RLC will happily assist you with the following:
- If you have volunteered at RLC for less than 12 full-day shifts: We will provide a standard written statement confirming that you began and finished as a Volunteer Legal Assistant on the relevant dates.
- If you have volunteered at RLC for 12 full-day shifts or more: We will write a personalised written reference and will act as a referee. Written references should be requested within 3 months of finishing your intake volunteer role.