By volunteering with Women’s Legal Service WA you have the opportunity to make a huge difference to our work.
Volunteers enable us to provide legal services to more women and increase our capacity to contribute and drive policy and law reform for issues affecting women. Volunteers also ensure the quality of our services is kept up to date and relevant.
Our volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds, ranging from first year law students and law graduates undertaking their Practical Legal Training, through to retired lawyers and professionals from non-legal backgrounds.
The nature of our work is varied, so the work volunteers do depends on specific projects that occur. The type of work our volunteers undertake includes:
- Legal research on client matters
- Assisting on client files –this may include meeting clients with a lawyer and assisting to prepare court documents and work on files
- Attending court with a lawyer in a non-legal support capacity
- Assisting with research and drafting law reform submissions
- Scanning and uploading documents to our client database
- Drafting and formatting legal information materials for our website or for use in community legal education sessions
- Assisting with administrative and operational tasks (non-legal). This may include data entry, filing and typing or other tasks regarding higher skill levels such as policy and procedure development and help with funding submissions.
Our Principal Legal Officer or another senior lawyer with delegated responsibility supervises all volunteer work. The type of work you carry out may depend on your individual skill set, experience and expertise.
The Senior Executive Officer supervises all non-legal work.
To ensure your work is properly supervised, we limit the number of volunteers we take at any one time. All volunteers are offered volunteer agreements for a fixed period (for law students it is usually the term of each semester) as we recognise that volunteers have other commitments and responsibilities.
Legal Clinic volunteers
Only with the assistance of volunteer solicitors can we run our specialised low-cost Legal Clinic. Our dedicated volunteers gift their time to this service, providing one-off advice, information and referral for women in relation to family law property matters.
Legal Info Line
We provide law students with the opportunity to volunteer on our Legal Info Line and gain practical legal experience working with clients, and in particular victims of family violence.
During school terms, our state wide Legal Info Line operates from 9:30am-11:30am Monday to Thursday. Incoming calls are triaged by our Client Services Officer. Clients needing straight forward legal information or those seeking information prior to an advice appointment, are sent on to our Volunteer Hub. Law student volunteers then provide limited advice and information under the supervision of the Principal Legal Officer.
Sometimes students assist our lawyers with the intake process to ensure that the lawyer has all the available information at hand prior to their appointment. This ensures each client gets the most value from their time with the lawyer.
The calls are up to 20 minutes in length and volunteers are provided with a comprehensive Practice Manual containing the limited advice and information they are allowed to convey.
What we ask from you
- Your availability at Women’s Legal Service WA either all day, from 9:00am to 12:00pm or 1:00pm to 5:00pm
- Your commitment to the same day(s) of each week to ensure we can cover the Legal Info Line. Intake periods being Semester 1 (February to May), Semester 2 (July to November) and End of year holiday period (November to February).
- Advance notice if you are unable to make a day so alternative arrangements can be made.
- To ensure our clients are not let down we ask that you treat your volunteering seriously.
What you can expect from us
- Volunteer students walk away with a practical insight and understanding of working with clients, how a legal practice operates and a practical application and understanding of our main practice areas.
- All volunteers will be provided with a written reference outlining how skills they developed and their attitude towards the experience and our workplace.
- All volunteers are provided with training and a Practice Manual, which they can keep, outlining the basic legal advice and information needed for our main practice areas.
- Training will include dynamics of family violence, how to communicate safely (in a trauma informed way), risk assessment and screening, how to identify the client’s legal and non-legal needs and make supported referrals to other service providers and the primary areas of law we deal with – family violence restraining orders, family law (parenting), care and protection and criminal injuries compensation from our in-house lawyers.
If you are interested in volunteering with us, please email your resume and a cover letter explaining why you want to volunteer with us. Our Principal Legal Officer will be in touch to discuss any potential opportunities.