Ruth Storer

Community Legal Centres
Summer 2017

I highly recommend an Aurora Internship to all law students. This experience has forever influenced my view of what legal advice should be, and helped me to understand some of the challenges facing Indigenous clients in their interaction with the legal system.

During my time at KCLS I was inspired by the skill and dedication of the lawyers there, as well as the wide range of knowledge they are required to have to practice successfully in a Community Legal Centre. The work was fast paced, and I was able to be involved in a wide range of matters. I expressed an interest in family law, and the staff were extremely accommodating and made a point of involving me in family law matters where possible.

KCLS runs a drop in service which sees clients attend with a whole variety of matters. I was able to sit in on these appointments, and take client instructions in some matters as well. This was great experience, and I really enjoyed the opportunity to meet the clients and hear their stories. KCLS staff are involved in the community, and in this way are able to provide a holistic style of advice to clients, which was different to my conceptions of what legal advice is.
I undertook work on a range of matters from debt to an appeal of a criminal injuries compensation award. KCLS is involved in preparing submissions to inform policy decisions, and my time in Kununurra coincided with the trial of the Cashless Debit Card in the region. I helped to interview clients and community members, and collated some data for a project KCLS was undertaking to understand the community experiences of the cashless debit card and highlight the limited community consultation that occurred in the roll out of this process.
Kununurra is a stunning location, and although a number of places were closed during the wet season I did not feel in the least bit cheated by what I was able to see. The Kimberley had experienced record rainfalls, and waterfalls were flowing and the waterholes were full. Coming from South Australia, I had never experienced a tropical storm and that in itself was exciting for me!
You will not regret coming up to the Kimberley and working in KCLS. There is meaningful work if you show that you’re interested, and you are able to help time poor staff to make a real difference in the local community.