This podcast was recorded on the country of the Wangal People of the Eora nation. We pay our respects to Elder's past and present. As we gather for Law Week may we recognise the law, education and storytelling that has been practised on these lands for 10s of 1000s of years. Always was, always will be.
This is spotlight, a mini series where we shine a light on some of the best events and activities happening in Law Week 2022. My name is Yasmine and I'm a content creator with Legal Aid New South Wales, one of the partners of Law Week. New South Wales Law Week is an annual festival that is all about creating greater access to justice. This year's Law Week takes place between the 16th and 22nd of May. There are heaps of events happening across the state, online and in person to help you understand your rights, the law, the legal system and the legal profession. You can find out what's on via the events schedule at Law Week nsw.org.au. Today in the spotlight, we have Marrickville Legal Centre. We chat with Tu about Marrickville Legal Centre's Lunch and Learn legal webinars that are for all people to better understand their rights and for community workers to support the legal needs of their clients. Hi Tu. Thank you for joining me on the podcast today. Could you please tell us a bit about your role and Marrickville Legal Centre?
Thanks Yasmine, it's a pleasure to be with you. So my name is Tu Le and I'm the Community Development Manager at MarrickvilleLegal Centre.
And could you tell us a bit about Marrickville Legal Centre and the services that you provide?
So Marrickville Legal Centre is a not for profit community legal centre. We provide greater access to justice, particularly for people who experience social and economic disadvantage in the community. And we do that by providing free and confidential legal and other related services. So our generalist legal service that we've got - civil law, including, you know, employment issues, motor vehicle accidents, consumer disputes, credit and debt issues, discrimination. We have a family law service as well. We've got a domestic and family violence service, tenancy and strata service and we've also got a Statewide Youth legal service for people who are 25 years and younger.
Fantastic and what's one thing people may not know about Marrickville Legal Centre?
So the name can be a little bit deceiving. Even though we're called Marrickville Legal Centre, we actually service the inner west, the southwest and the southern suburbs of Sydney as well as beyond their our Statewide Youth legal service. So there's actually about a million and a half or more people living in our key catchment area. So that's about almost 30% of Sydney's total population that we serve as Marrickville Legal Centre, even though we're in the heart of the inner west, and another fun fact, we have actually been shortlisted, Marrickville Legal Centre, for recognition in the not for profit technology Innovator of the Year category at this year's Australia's not for profit technology awards. And that's for our NALA. It's called NALA, which is our legal bot that we developed using artificial intelligence to be able to improve access to justice, and help people with basic legal online queries when they connect with us through our website.
That's incredible, and definitely something that I didn't know. What do you love most about working at Marrickville Legal Centre?
so Marrickville Legal Centre, where we're situated, we're in the heart of the inner west in the heart of the community in an amazing community have called Addison road, and we've actually moved here. So we have two offices, one on Illawarra Road, which is just outside Marrickville train station, which is extremely accessible for people. And we also have a second office at Addison road Community Centre. So for those who are familiar with the area, it's where the Marrickville markets are held every Sunday, and it's where I think there's about 40, or different community organisations that are here. And we actually moved here just last year, but it was really off the back of COVID-19. And the pandemic where we were doing a lot of out-reaches and we still do a lot of outreaches. As I mentioned, our catchment area is quite large, expanding to South Sydney, Southwest Sydney and the inner west. So we were out here providing free legal advice to a lot of temporary visa holders, international students, newly arrived migrants who had no other means of support particularly by the government during the pandemic and so the need was really here were connected to all the organisations. So in terms of referrals across the centres and organisations it's really easy and it's really fantastic to be in the heart of the community and out there talking to people on a day to day basis who drop in for a food hamper or go to the food pantry and then drop by our office for information or advice regarding their legal matter.
That's a really special hub it sounds like Addison road there where people can have that access to a lot of services and to have legal services there like yourself is really, really important. This podcast is highlighting some of the events and activities taking place for Law Week. I've noticed that Marrickville Legal Centre has a really great schedule of events planned. Would you be able to give me a run through of what Marrickville Legal Centre has on for Law Week?
Yeah, absolutely. So as part of Law Week New South Wales that's happening next week Marrickville Legal Centre, we're hosting a series of free webinars, so they're all online, we're calling them the Lunch and Learn series. And it's really just an opportunity for people to better understand their rights, but also for community workers to support the legal needs of their clients. And so we've got two series running side by side. So we've got five sessions directly to the community and clients on various issues, such as your rights at work, what you do if you've been in a motor vehicle accident, also what to do if you've been separated, so different areas of law.
And then we've got another series that's targeted towards community workers who are supporting clients on various legal issues such as you know, how you can work collaboratively with the police to work in the best interests of your clients are how you can support your clients with money problems, or understanding their rights when they have debt issues. So there's various topics, it's during the lunch hour. So there's one series between 12 to 1 every day for communities and clients, and then a series for community workers between 1 to 2 every day. And it's really you know, in your own home, or if you work in the office, you can have lunch at the same time and just listen in to be better informed about your rights, but also how you can better support clients who are going through these types of legal issues.
I love that. Sounds like there's a lot on and a lot of really important sessions. Why should people get involved in Law Week?
Well, the whole purpose of Law Week is really to promote community awareness and understanding of the law. We know that it's not always accessible to everybody. And as I said, the types of clients and the community members that we work with are those who experience greater social and economic disadvantage. A lot of people may not even know so for example, newly arrived migrants or refugees, or people who are new to a local area might not know about their local community legal centre, or that legal aid or community legal centres exist. There's a general misconception, I think about lawyers being too expensive, being a bit intimidating and scary. So it's really to break down those barriers to access, and particularly for people to really know what their rights are so that they can make the best decisions for themselves. But also to know too, that there is help available and there is accessible and free and confidential legal help for those who need it most within the communities.
Yeah, that's so true, it can definitely be an intimidating experience going out to see a lawyer. So I like that breaking barriers. That's really, really important. And we're gonna put all the details about how to join in on Marrickville Legal Centre's online webinars in the show notes for this episode. To sum up, if you could describe Law Week in one word, what would it be?
I'd probably have to say particularly with all our conversation, so far, it's about accessibility. And if I can make one note is that all our webinars are being delivered and run by community lawyers. So it's a really great opportunity to get to know your local community lawyer and start a relationship with them, hear from them directly about the different legal areas and topics. But also, there's an opportunity for you to ask questions. And it's going to be as fun as engaging as we can make it with quizzes and other ways to interact. So it is not just going to be a presentation, but it'll be an interactive workshop where you can ask questions directly to the lawyers as well. So I'd really highly encourage everyone to join in on the Webinars, particularly to topics that are of interest to you and your clients.
So much better when they're a lot more interactive. And how can people find out about Marrickville Legal Centre?
So if you're online, you can check out our website, it's just www.mlc so Marrickville Legal Centre so mlc.org.au all the detail about our service and how to get in contact with us is online. We also have as I mentioned, our legal Chatbot, NALA, also on our website, so if you have any questions, a lot of people don't like to pick up the phone these days and speak to someone in person you can always use our legal chat bot as well and reach out to us through that means
I am definitely one of those people that don't often enjoy phone calls. So whenever there's a chat box option on a website, I'm definitely there. So really, really good tool and we'll also have that link in the show notes. Thank you so much for chatting to us today Tu. And we look forward to Marrickville Legal Centre's awesome lineup of activities for last week.
Thank you so much Yasmine it's been a pleasure and we look forward to celebrating Law Week with the community and seeing your listeners at our webinars. That's all for spotlight today.
Thank you again to Marrickville Legal Centre and Tu for taking the time to chat with us today. You can find all the information about how to register for the Lunch and Learn series in the show notes. I'd also like to thank Marrickville Legal Centre, the State Library of New South Wales' Find Legal Answers and Tenants Union of New South Wales for supporting this podcast and Law Week New South Wales have a great Law Week.