A LAWYER previously employed by the Peninsula Community Legal Centre has been awarded for her efforts as a volunteer.
Claire Williams was presented with the Kath Neilsen Award for outstanding contribution to the centre at the recent annual volunteer and supporters appreciation dinner.
The award is named after Kath Neilsen, a founder and long-term supporter of the centre.
It acknowledges a volunteer who has demonstrated a superior understanding of the centre’s values and the principals of social justice; along with a reliable and respectful approach to interactions with our clients.
Ms Williams was employed by the centre for six years and has since remained a volunteer.
“I found my feet as a lawyer while working at PCLC. The great staff, plus a sense of belonging to a team that are working to end family violence, made the job very rewarding,” Ms Williams said.
To support herself through university Ms Williams worked with people with a disability as a part-time job and gained an understanding of the difficulties faced by those with special needs.
After leaving PCLC, she worked in a policy role with government and then started her own practice in Frankston – Justice Crew Legal Services.
Her practice focusses on helping clients have “a low-stress journey through the legal system”.
Ms Williams says she is passionate about helping guide people with mental, physical and intellectual disabilities through the legal process.
“This can involve many hours acting as a go-between; connecting clients with support services such as psychologists and family violence workers.”
Ms Williams is one of 120 volunteers who enable the legal centre to run free legal advice sessions at five locations in Melbourne’s the south east.
“After 40 years service to the community, the work we do ensuring access to justice for vulnerable communities, is as important today as ever,” the centre’s CEO Jackie Galloway said.
“We are increasingly facing an environment where people’s human rights are being eroded and there are more and more vulnerable members of our community slipping through the safety net.”
PCLC specialises in family law and family violence, fines and tenancy issues and has offices in Frankston, Rosebud and Frankston North and its lawyers provide outreach services to Chelsea and Hastings.
For more information about free legal services, call 9783 3600 or visit www.pclc.org.au.