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.
Marshall Bostock – solicitor at Fisher Dore Lawyers
What motivated you to become a CLC volunteer?
I have performed other volunteer work but when a mentor told me about the Bayside CLC, I thought this the place where my skills could be best used. I have a Bachelor of Arts, a Bachelor of Laws as well as a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice and Family Dispute Resolution. I consider myself very lucky to have the qualifications I do, and I want to use them to help those who have not been as fortunate as me.
What does your volunteering role involve?
Besides being a volunteer lawyer, advising clients on criminal and family law matters, I also sit on the Community Legal Centres Queensland management committee and assist with the overall governance.
What do you most enjoy about volunteering?
We have many clients who are nice people who either make mistakes, or they have nastiness thrust upon them. I have found that providing legal advice with some personal validation at the end, where warranted, can be just what the client needs.
What have you gained – personally and professionally – from volunteering at a CLC?
On a personal level, I find myself in a circle of like-minded people who are doing their best by their community. The volunteers are a great bunch of people and I am fortunate to share their company. On a professional level, I get to learn from my colleagues, not to mention the clients who present with unusual problems – then it becomes a mutual learning experience.
Do you find volunteering work significant, impactful or rewarding? If so, why?
It is significant for most of our clients, as the advice we provide can be a life-changing moment for them. It is impactful because the advice we provide will impact not only the client, but also the other party. It is rewarding as many of our clients appreciate the time and effort we provide – after a hard day, that handshake from a CLC client can turn a bad day into a good one.