Queensland has 34 not-for-profit community legal centres dotted across the state.
They have a long, established history of harnessing volunteer support and providing pro bono legal advice and assistance to society’s most disadvantaged and vulnerable people and communities.
Volunteering Queensland – the state’s chief non-profit volunteer and community engagement organisation – estimates that as many as 700,000 of the state’s 5.18 million people give freely of their time each year to make an extraordinary impact on the people, communities and environments in which they live.
Many of these are lawyers.
QLS Proctor is featuring some of the many selfless members of the profession who regularly give back to their local communities.
Ebony Morris – solicitor at Australian Family Lawyers and volunteer at Women’s Legal Service Queensland
What does your volunteering role involve?
Providing legal advice to some of the most vulnerable members of our community.
What motivated you to volunteer?
I am passionate about helping vulnerable clients navigate the complexities of the legal system.
What do you most enjoy about volunteering?
Being able to physically see and hear the sense of relief from those clients who are relying on my advice, often in high-risk situations.
What have you gained – personally or professionally – from volunteering?
I think it is really important that, wherever possible, our personal and professional values are aligned. Volunteering at the Women’s Legal Service has allowed me to fulfil my passion in helping vulnerable clients whilst also expanding on my professional skills. I have improved on my ability to think quickly and provide clear and concise advice to clients who are often feeling extremely overwhelmed and emotional.
Do you feel your volunteer work is significant or impactful or rewarding?
Volunteering at the Women’s Legal Service is both impactful and rewarding and I encourage anyone who has the capacity to do so, to give it a try.
It’s not often that you are confronted with clients who, for example, are in the height of a domestically violent relationship and need assistance navigating their way out. For these clients, you are often one of the first (or the first person) they have disclosed their experiences to, and there is a sense of both responsibility and privilege attached to being able to assist them.
I have never left the Women’s Legal Service feeling like I haven’t been able to assist someone.
For more information about Women’s Legal Service Queensland, visit the website.