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Do good, feel good

Do good, feel good

By Luisa Consiglio

Health Wellbeing 


Many young lawyers and law students dedicate hours of their time to volunteer in legal and non-legal organisations. Volunteering can be beneficial not only for gaining work experience and to assist those who are less fortunate, but it can also contribute to a balanced lifestyle. It allows young lawyers to interact with people outside their work and study circles. The LIV Young Lawyers Community Issues Committee (CIC) is a strong supporter of volunteering. To find out more about how a volunteering role contributes to a balanced lifestyle, the YLJ interviewed CIC member Elisa Turco about her volunteering position at WIRE, a support and referral service for women in Victoria. YLJ: What is your volunteering role? ET: I’ve been volunteering at WIRE since 2013. I regularly run information sessions on the process options available to women when they separate. I explain the pros and cons of mediation, collaborative law, negotiation, litigation and “kitchen table” negotiations between parties. We discuss the process the court goes through in making a decision about property settlement and parenting matters, and talk about intervention orders and child support. YLJ: How does volunteering fit with your working schedule? ET: Currently I’m running my own business so it is quite easy to fit in the sessions. The dates are set well in advance and I can plan my clients and other work around the sessions. YLJ: What are the benefits of volunteering with WIRE? ET: The team at WIRE are amazing and supportive. The acting CEO Julie Kun and all the women at WIRE are welcoming, encouraging and engaging. It is an extremely safe, supportive and caring environment. The work WIRE does in assisting women is life changing and it feels great to be involved in such a wonderful community of women. The sessions I provide have morphed into a support group model, where women feel safe to share their stories and seek guidance and advice not only from me and Kate Volard – a WIRE support worker – but from each other. I really enjoy spending time at WIRE and in my seminars. It feels great to be involved with such a wonderful organisation and to have an immediate impact in helping women to empower themselves through information and community connection. When I was thinking of separating from my husband and children’s father back in 2006 I contacted WIRE and received helpful advice, referral to legal services, and was made to feel supported in my decision. If feels great to have come full circle and now, hopefully, contribute to assisting other women. YLJ: How does volunteering help you to achieve a balanced working lifestyle? ET: I think my volunteering connects me to a community outside regular work and family. It provides a window to other women’s experiences that really helps put my life into perspective because I get just as much out of the sessions as the women do. I am privileged to hear amazing stories of survival, courage and hope. It feels great to be part of an organisation that has been actively supporting and advocating for women for so many years. The CIC encourages young lawyers and law students to take up volunteering opportunities in both legal and non-legal capacities. Personally, I have volunteered at many different organisations since beginning law, and I found that volunteering not only helps achieve balance in busy work and study schedules, it is also great to be able to assist organisations to achieve their social justice goals. LUISA CONSIGLIO is a lawyer at Maddocks Lawyers and co-chair of the YL Community Issues Committee.

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