University of Sydney Law School - Social Justice program
Want to gain frontline experience working with clients at NSW’s oldest and most respected community legal centre?
About this program
The Sydney Law School Social Justice Program at Redfern Legal Centre provides students with a unique opportunity to take on the role of Legal Assistant – the first point of contact for people seeking legal advice at RLC.
This program is a fantastic way to build your client interviewing skills and enhance your legal knowledge with practical experience in a real-world environment.
Redfern Legal Centre works with a wide range of people, including:
- public housing tenants
- First Nations people
- International students
- people in marginal employment
- people in financial difficulty
- people with disability.
We specialise in:
- tenancy and public housing law
- police accountability
- employment law
- credit, debt and consumer law
- issues affecting International students.
As a Legal Assistant, you will develop your skills in communicating with the public, working with people in crisis, conducting client interviews, and identifying the wider legal aspects of clients’ situations. You will also gain knowledge of referral services and the practical application and constraints of the law.
What previous student participants said
“Meeting such a variety of people, gaining the confidence to interact with them and knowing how much the clients appreciate someone being willing to listen and actually making a difference to their outcome!”
“It's a great experience - and it will make you realise that the law is not just fancy and glamorous, but that it affects real people with real problems.”
RLC offers a busy, team environment where you work with other students under the supervision of an experienced staff member.
- Legal information and referral: Legal Assistants staff RLC’s front office and respond to public inquiries, and support RLC clients and staff. They also provide legal referrals to other agencies.
- Client intake and interviewing: The Legal Assistant interviews the client in preparation for their appointment with the solicitor, identifying the legal issues and writing up a background narrative for the solicitor.
- Additional duties: The Legal Assistant liaises with clients, solicitors, and government and community agencies and may conduct research to support ongoing casework. They also help with administrative work.
Legal Assistants have the opportunity to observe solicitors giving legal advice, in several areas of RLC legal practice.
Opportunities after the Social Justice placement has ended: You may apply to continue as a Legal Assistant after the semester has ended. And after six months in total at RLC, you can apply for other roles that become available from time to time, such as:
- Volunteer tenancy advisor: Provide tenancy advice to the public, under the supervision of an RLC Tenant Advocate.
- PLT: Some Legal Assistants apply to undertake their PLT at RLC.
The information below is subject to change. Please check with the university once enrolments open for the time period you are interested in.
- Semester 1 placement students work at RLC one full day per week for the semester.
- Semester 2 placement students work at RLC one full day per week for the semester.
- Summer Intensive and Winter Intensive - RLC is no longer offering an intensive program.
More information and how to apply
Eligibility: Eligibility requirements are set by the university. Being a current or past volunteer at RLC does not affect your eligibility either way.
Applications: Do not apply directly to RLC - please apply to the university.
More information: University of Sydney Social Justice Legal Clinic.
Enquiries: Nick Manning, email: volunteering AT rlc.org.au, or University of Sydney Law School