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Lucas supports disability advocacy through Legal Aid internship

1 December, 2021

UWA Law student Lucas Roosendaal has contributed 100 hours towards a Legal Aid WA (LAWA) service that helps people living with disabilities access funding from the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Lucas completed the internship through the McCusker Centre for Citizenship at LAWA’s NDIS Legal Assistance Service, a team that provides advice to people appealing NDIS decisions with a priority on supporting disadvantaged clients.

Lucas, a Dalkeith resident, said the internship role was a “perfect fit”, allowing him to draw on his past experience as a support worker for people with disabilities and extend on his passion for disability advocacy.

“My background as a support worker gave me an understanding of how access to NDIS funding helps people with disabilities discover their potential, and my work at Legal Aid added an exciting new dimension to this,” said Lucas.

“The most rewarding element was seeing my work translate into positive outcomes for vulnerable people. It was incredibly fulfilling to help clients access NDIS funding, which is often lifechanging,” he said.

During the internship Lucas undertook a range of legal support tasks, including creating a database of past NDIS matters to help LAWA’s lawyers more readily access this information when assisting clients.

Lucas also undertook research into government guidelines that ensure legal decisions are made with fairness, honesty and efficacy, which he presented to disability advocates at a recent conference for the National Disability Advocacy Program (NDAP).

The internship gave Lucas insights into the complexity of NDIS cases, noting how disability often intersects with other social issues.

“My internship gave me an appreciation for the work of disability advocacy organisations in supporting vulnerable individuals, despite significant underfunding,” said Lucas.

Lucas says a highlight of his internship was the mentorship of his supervisor and Solicitor NDIS Appeals, Margaret Irvine, and the Civil team at LAWA.

Margaret said “Lucas has been a dynamic, creative and passionate member of our team. He has worked extremely hard to develop a sound database of some of the core case law involving NDIS matters, which will become an important resource for our team.”

Lucas says his internship has been one of the “most rewarding experiences” of his studies.

“My experience at Legal Aid has emboldened my passion for disability advocacy and reinvigorated my studies of law with a sense of purpose. I look forward to contributing in the areas of social justice, education and legal practice,” said Lucas.