Attorney General visits West Heidelberg Community Legal Service
‘Another typical day for me. Got to clinic, did a crash course, saw a new client, had lunch with the Attorney-General of Australia!! Just a typical day…’ writes law student Scott Shepherd of his day in clinic in September 2009.
Attorney-General McClelland ‘dropped in’ to West Heidelberg Community Legal Service, interested in how the legal service, Banyule Community Health Centre and La Trobe University’s clinical legal education program worked together to provide an integrated service to the community. He was also keen to hear from La Trobe law students how the experience of working in a clinical legal environment assisted law students. Clinical legal educator and La Trobe law lecturer, Peggy Kerdo, explained that “for many law students, this is the first time that they have the chance to raise their heads from their books and see how the law works (or doesn’t work!) in real life”. The course also actively encourages the development of students’ emotional intelligence, giving them a firm foundation on which to build their careers.
The Attorney-General was impressed both by the integrated model of service provided to the community and by the La Trobe law students.
La Trobe University, as part of it’s commitment to working with the wider community, has been working with West Heidelberg Community Legal Service and Banyule Community Health Centre for over 30 years. Associate Professor Mary Anne Noone was one of the founding clinical legal educators and is now a board member of the legal service, and the new director of West Heidelberg Community Legal Service Dr Liz Curran, ran the La Trobe student clinic for over seven years before Peggy Kerdo took the helm.
Attorney-General McClelland (Centre), with La Trobe School of Law students and Peggy Kerdo (Right)