We sat down with Graduate, Tayla Crump, to talk about her experience working the Pro Bono team.
I started at Colin Biggers and Paisley (CBP
) as a Graduate in the Melbourne Office after completing a Bachelor of Arts / Bachelor of Laws at Monash University and a Master of Laws at UNSW. My first rotation was in the Corporate and Dispute Resolution team. I am now completing my second rotation in the Pro Bono and Responsible Business team.
My experience as a Graduate at CBP
As a Graduate in the Pro Bono and Responsible Business team, I am seconded to Youthlaw three days per week. On my remaining days, I work on internal pro bono matters for a range of clients. Some of the legal advice tasks I have completed in this rotation include providing advice to a not-for-profit entity regarding their contract with a telecommunication provider. I also assisted with advice relating to signatory risk management for a contract between a not-for-profit and a Government Department. Both matters were a great opportunity to again work with the Corporate team and utilise some of the skills I gained in my first rotation. Another highlight of my pro bono rotation was assisting a client to obtain a Working With Children Check (WWCC). Myself and another pro bono graduate drafted submissions, on behalf of the client, to the Department of Justice and Community Safety about his offending and suitability for a Working With Children's Check. I was grateful that we could assist this client as the outcome of his application would bear significantly on his career progression and employability.
Youthlaw is a community legal centre in Carlton that provides legal advice and representation to young people under the age of 25, focusing on unmet legal needs and addressing systemic legal issues. As a secondee at Youthlaw, I coordinate the Legal Pod Program. This program provides legal support for young people aged 18-25, who have exited the out-of-home care system including foster care, residential care and kinship care. At age 18, those in out-of-home care lose all their support. This makes the transition to independent living difficult for many young people. Care leavers often face multiple disadvantages, including a high number of unaddressed legal problems including fines, debts, unaddressed VOCAT claims, tenancy issues and other discrete legal queries. Each Pod client is assigned a small team of lawyers for a period of up to three years. These lawyers are volunteers from a range of law firms in Melbourne. In addition to coordinating the Legal Pod Program, I have assisted with the Daily Help Line and have acted for clients in minor criminal matters, including making appearances in various Magistrates' Courts.
This rotation has given me the opportunity to develop my interpersonal and communication skills with a range of clients, including large commercially minded not-for-profits and individuals. Assisting with the Youthlaw Daily Help Line has also given me the opportunity to work on my verbal advice skills, particularly given I have been required to give advice to children as young as 12 years old. The people management role I undertook as the Legal Pod Program Coordinator was also highly developmental. Being the point of contact for dozens of volunteer lawyers and a number of clients has been a unique challenge. However, this experience has given me great insight into managing client and professional relationships at an early stage of my career.
My time in the pro bono team has been incredibly rewarding and illuminating, particularly in light of assisting individuals and organisations who would otherwise attend court and attempt to navigate legal proceedings without any professional guidance. I would recommend a pro bono rotation to all prospective Graduates at Colin Biggers and Paisley.