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Intern assists community legal centre to improve experience for clients

16 February, 2021

During her internship at the Gosnells Community Legal Centre (GCLC), UWA Juris Doctor student Jacqueline Pasich reviewed and updated their policy and procedure manuals so as to ensure compliance with State government requirements and ultimately ensure clients have a positive experience using the GCLC services.


The GCLC’s overall focus is assisting people on low incomes access to legal representation. It provides a range of legal services, primarily advice in tenancy and family matters, for free. In addition it operates a mediation service for a very low cost which aids in preventing family disputes from having to go through the courts.


Ms Pasich explained her role, “I had to review the current GCLC Policy and Procedure Manual alongside the template manual issued by Community Legal WA to ensure compliance. In the event of inconsistencies between the documents it was my role to identify the provision of the GCLC manual within which it occurred and draft an alternative one which, if approved, will be put as a resolution before the general meeting of members”.


Ms Pasich said that the most rewarding part of her internship was “meeting the team at GCLC and getting to experience the invaluable work that they do for the community. The environment at the centre is very friendly and welcoming, and this definitely translates well when dealing with clients”. 


Gosnells Community Legal Centre Executive Assistant and internship supervisor Joshua Marks said Ms Pasich Jacquie was a joy to have around the office, she worked hard, quickly absorbed large volumes of information, and effectively applying it to the task at hand.


Mr Marks said, “The amendments we are making to our policy and procedure manual will allow us to have the framework to provide our services more effectively, we hope that these improvements will better our client’s experience engaging with the organisation.”


“A small not for profit like ourselves has very limited resources, especially when we need to undertake large organisational reforms. Organisations like McCusker Centre for Citizenship create the opportunity for aspiring students to gain exposure to working in a professional setting while assisting the organisation,” Mr Marks concluded.


More than 1,300 students have now undertaken their internship with the McCusker Centre for Citizenship contributing more than 146,000 hours in service to the community.


Director Michelle Scott said the “overwhelming” number of applications from students to participate in the internship program was a sign that young people were increasingly seeking opportunities to engage with and give back to their communities.


“It is clear UWA students have a great appetite for internships with a social purpose,” Ms Scott said.


“They have seen the very practical way that their peers can contribute, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, and want to do the same.”