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Stories sought for community legal service’s 40 year history

Stories sought for community legal service’s 40 year history

By Karin Derkley

Access to Justice Voluntary Associations/Pro Bono 

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Calling all 2000 lawyers who have volunteered at the Inner Melbourne Community Legal over the years – the service wants to hear your stories.

The IMCL is celebrating its 40th anniversary in August and wants to collect stories and anecdotes for its “40 Years 40 Stories” project.

"We want to build a picture of our history from the stories of those who have worked with us over the years," says CEO Dan Stubbs.

Mr Stubbs says he's lost count of the number of lawyers over the years who have told him their time at the service was one of the highlights of their career.

"So many lawyers have come through this place - law students, volunteer lawyers who assist with evening clinics, lawyers who do pro bono work during the day - and they say this is where I really learnt about the law," he says.

The centre started as a night-time service run by volunteer lawyers, and has expanded over the years to provide a range of services to the local community, including homelessness law services, family violence, health justice partnerships and community legal education.

"The experience of working at the centre gives volunteers insights into the law they would never have had. They have to learn to deal with whoever and whatever walks through the door,” Mr Stubbs says.

“It might be a woman escaping family violence, someone in a dispute with their neighbour, or a person with an acquired brain injury dealing with debt issues. They learn to give everyone equal time and respect."

"But at the same time the contribution those lawyers have made to the service over the years has been profound and we'd really like to recognise that," he says.

Anyone who has been involved in the IMCL over the past 40 years as a volunteer, staff member, intern or client is encouraged to submit their story or relevant anecdotes for selection in the 40 years 40 stories project.

Submit stories here.


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