Volunteering is a fantastic way to gain invaluable experience

Marissa Tripodi

Marissa TripodiSchool of Law student, Marissa Tripodi, tells the story of her positive volunteering experience at the Loddon Campaspe Community Legal Centre (LCCLC) and how it has helped her stay on track for the future.

“Volunteering is a fantastic way to gain invaluable experience in your field of studies. I am a second year Law/Arts student and have been lucky enough to volunteer through the Loddon Campaspe Community Legal Centre (LCCLC) in Bendigo since I began my studies in 2007. This year, I am part of the Family Violence Outreach program which is run through the Legal Centre at the local court every week. My role now includes client intake, receiving initial instructions to pass onto my supervising solicitor, ensuring clients feel comfortable and safe before, during and after their court appearance, assisting my supervising solicitor with court documents and, amongst other things writing follow up letters to our clients.

Through the program my knowledge of legal processes has grown immensely and I have been able to gain first hand experience of what it really means to work as an advocate solicitor. Volunteering at the LCCLC has been one of the highlights of my studies thus far. The placement I have undertaken this semester has contributed to my ‘Rural and Regional Issues in Justice’ elective in which the effects of living in a remote area have on an individual’s access and experience of the justice system is evaluated.

Working within the Family Violence program has sparked my interest in this area of the law and opened my eyes to the positive role lawyers play in enabling victims to feel empowered through seeking legal assistance. The program has allowed me to relate my studies to my experiences at court and has given me the opportunity to work closely with clients, solicitors and court staff.

If I had not taken up the opportunity to volunteer at the LCCLC whilst studying at La Trobe in Bendigo, I doubt I would have the same level of motivation or enthusiasm for my studies or the goals and direction for the future that I do now.

My involvement has meant more than mere work experience or placement; it has allowed me to meet practitioners in my field of study who are happy to share their knowledge with me and it has left me sure that I am in the right course, going into a career I will enjoy.”