What students do at KLC
Students attend KLC two days per week and attend a weekly 2 hour class. They interview clients; write legal submissions, go to court, speak to lawyers, draft documents and legal projects (including law reform, community legal education & community work) supervised by experienced lawyers. There is a student meeting for an hour every day where students meet and reflect on justice issues which are raised during their KLC experience. Students go out into the community and meet community members at meetings and events. For further information about assessments and eligibility please consult the Handbook.
How they learn
At KLC courses students learn experientially, that is the education is a designed, managed and guided experience including detailed debriefing and class schedule to supplement this learning. The experience is the primary method of teaching. Students 'gain a deeper understanding of lawyering as a means of helping people, where human interests and values are of primary importance. There is a significant academic component to the course which includes reflection on the experience. Students also learn peer to peer through discussions at daily student meetings. Students work on real client files and interview real clients about their legal problems. This is supervised by an experienced clinical supervisor/solicitor in a very supportive environment.
Whilst at KLC students work on legal projects as well as client files. The projects range from law reform, community development, community legal education and placement at courts. Here is a list of current KLC projects:-
- Waverley Local Court, helping Legal Aid solicitors - Two students observe and help Legal Aid solicitors with their work on mostly criminal law matters at Waverley Local Court on a Tuesday and Thursday morning.
- Community Legal Education to Community Workers Series - KLC runs a monthly cle for community workers on different areas of the law. A student is allocated to help manage this program • Research International Models on Sustaining Tenancies for People at Risk of Homelessness - A student works with our Law Reform and Policy Solicitor to research models of best practice in the international context for sustaining tenancies of people at risk of homelessness.
- UN Treaty Reporting – A student helps with research on the process for Treaty reporting and create a user friendly guide for NGO’s to use to help them engage with the UN Treaty process.
- Analysis of KLC’s Discrimination Cases - A student looks at KLC’s discrimination advice and casework to determine what are the major areas of discrimination that KLC has advised in and analyse if there are any trends. This helps us to identify law reform and policy issues.
What do students say?
“The KLC program showed me a whole new dimension to the legal world. It exposes you to the very real day to day problems of real people. It helps you to see that law is really about helping people get back on their feet. It allowed me to develop a a sense of appreciation for solicitors who work at Community Legal Centres and volunteer from the big law firms. The Solicitors at KLC really put an onus on you to take charge of the client case files while also ensuring that the work is completed with professional integrity and dependability. “
John Lee - Semester 2 2013
"Not until I graduated from Uni and started working in a law firm did I realise that working in KLC provided me with the greatest opportunity to meet clients on a daily basis, and to communicate with client in the most direct way both face to face or through the phone. From KLC, I learn to deal with clients of different characters with empathy. It was daunting at first, but definitely a rewarding experience for a student to take on board in such a supportive environment like KLC."
Grace Ip - Semester 1 2013
"There's a big difference between the law as learnt, and the law as applied. I definitely feel that my time at KLC helped me bridge that gap. Right from the start, us students were included in the life of the Centre, and got to work alongside the staff solicitors. We drafted letters, prepared submissions, and worked closely with specific client files, and on a wide variety of law reform and policy projects. We also got a really in-depth sense of the sorts of legal issues affecting the local catchment area. Having a lot of opportunities for client contact meant we got to really come to terms with the human realities of law. It wasn't always easy, but it certainly was very interesting and thought-provoking, and the staff, who are all very experienced, were welcoming and encouraging. I can't recommend a semester at KLC highly enough!"
Emma Grant – Summer Session 2013/14
“UNSW Law promotes an appreciation of the fundamental principles of the rule of law and justice for all. As part of my dual degree I undertook a semester at the Kingsford Legal Centre. It was a truly remarkable opportunity to work alongside and under the guidance of experienced legal practitioners and educators. I was able to work directly with clients, develop my professional skills, take on community legal education projects and meet interesting people. I gained a greater appreciation of the power of the law in society and the importance of ensuring that those in a disadvantaged position have access to legal help. My semester at the Kingsford Legal Centre was a rewarding experience that complemented my classroom studies in a stimulating, thought provoking and enduring way.”
Laurence Schwartz – Semester 2 2013