Beaches mean a lot to Australians. They mean sun, surf, sand and good times with family and friends. Beaches are not often associated with legal advice – unless, of course, you’re from Newcastle. This post is my story about Law on the Beach.
Over the last thirteen years, every summer, the University of Newcastle Legal Centre has operated a community legal advice clinic right on the beach. The ocean views are certainly incredible, but more importantly, the location gives members of the public direct access to a service they might otherwise consider to be inaccessible.
These clinics are student-led, supported by legal professionals from the University of Newcastle Legal Centre, local firms and community organisations. This year saw the introduction of students from the University’s social work program, with at least one social work student participating in every client interview.
The first of five Law on the Beach clinics for 2016 was held yesterday. As a volunteer fifth and final year law student, I was very pleased to be offered the opportunity to assist the clinic through providing a concierge-type service. Being the initial point of contact for all client visits, I outlined the service on offer, took initial client information, then allocated the client to the fourth year law and social work student groups.
This initial day of Law on the Beach was a resounding success. It was pleasing to see that the interdisciplinary approach of bringing together law and social work students proved beneficial for clients and students alike. I felt incredibly proud to witness the professional attitude of my student peers as they interacted with clients and with the legal professionals and academics on hand to assist.
Information about Law on the Beach is available here.
Robert Bozinovski completed his Bachelor of Business program with Distinction at the University of Newcastle in 2015. He is presently a fifth and final year LLB Practice Program student with Newcastle Law School.