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Solicitor - Family Violence Practice

SCALES Community Legal Centre

SCALES seeks to employ a part time solicitor in the Family and Domestic Violence practice for a period of 12 months.

The Family and Domestic Violence practice assists women experiencing family violence with essential legal and non-legal support in various areas of law. The service prioritises safety, including safety planning, Family Violence Restraining Orders and arrangements for children.

One of the areas of high demand (after the immediate legal issues have been addressed) is advice about property disputes.

We want to develop ways to provide the clients with information and advice about property disputes and financial arrangements without impacting on our current resources and capacity.

The purpose of the contract is to:

  1. Develop a Evening Legal Clinic for experienced private practitioners to give advice to SCALES clients with a property law dispute; and
  2. Provide advice and casework to individual clients on an as needed basis, with a focus on financial arrangements; and
  3. To develop a Community Legal Education session to present to FDV clients to inform an empower clients who may be able to self-represent; and
  4. Develop pro bono relationships with private practitioners.

The successful applicant will have experience in the practice of family law and family and domestic violence including property settlement and will also take responsibility to develop and coordinate a new pro bono legal service for advice on property settlement matters.

SCALES is a not for profit community legal centre and the site of the Murdoch University Law Clinic operating from offices in Rockingham and providing legal services to the south coastal metropolitan region of Kwinana and Rockingham.

Intrinsic to SCALES’ work is the promotion of Human Rights and equality of access to social justice. SCALES recognises that not all members of the community have equal access to or ability to participate in the legal system. We also recognise that for some members of the community, traditional methods of legal service delivery are not appropriate.

Consequently, SCALES is always striving to provide highly accessible services. This requires that consideration be given to physical access of premises, times of service delivery and the delivery of services in a culturally appropriate way.

SCALES provides information, advice, advocacy, some representation in courts and tribunals, referral and community legal education in various areas of law, including:

  • Domestic Violence (restraining orders, criminal injuries compensation, child protection and so on)
  • Family Law matters
  • Tenancy Disputes (tenants only)
  • Criminal Injuries Compensation
  • Traffic Offences
  • Criminal and civil law matters

SCALES hosts the Murdoch University Law Clinic where law students enrolled in Clinical Legal Education units, through the School of Law, participate in the delivery of legal services under the close supervision of solicitors in a practical legal placement.

SCALES is an active member of the Community Legal Western Australia, the Domestic Violence Legal Workers Network (DVLWN), Women’s Legal Services Australia, the Rockingham and Kwinana Family and Domestic Violence network and many other networks. Through these networks, SCALES participates in many law and policy reform strategies.

Funding for the Domestic and Family Violence practice comes through the National Legal Assistance Program (NLAP) for the DVLWN position and the Family Violence Unit. This position is funded through a COVID-19 grant.

The service links closely with local community services and the legal profession. It will be the responsibility of the successful applicant to represent SCALES and to work collaboratively with them.

Whilst this service provides a high level of direct service in the form of advice and document preparation, it is expected the successful applicant will have a strong commitment to developing educational materials, both for workers and the community and participating in relevant law and policy reform strategies. The successful applicant will also be required to supervise and support the work of students, volunteers and paralegal workers.

As the position is for a fixed term, we will consider a secondment arrangement.

POSITION DESCRIPTION

POSITION: Solicitor, Family Violence Practice

EMPLOYMENT CONDITIONS: Employment is in accordance with MA000100 - Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award 2010 with some above award conditions

TENURE: 12-month contract with probation period

CLASSIFICATION: 7.1

HOURS: Part time 3 days or 22.5 hours per week - Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm

REPORTING RELATIONSHIP:

This position reports to Principal Solicitor or Nominated Person.

Other positions that may report to this position are volunteers, paralegals, graduate law placements, law clinic students.

JOB PURPOSE

  • Develop an Evening Legal Clinic for experienced private practitioners to give advice to SCALES clients with a property law dispute; and
  • Provide advice and casework to individual clients on an as needed basis, with a focus on financial arrangements; and
  • To develop a Community Legal Education session to present to FDV clients to inform an empower clients who may be able to self-represent; and
  • Develop pro bono relationships with private practitioners.

KEY RESULTS AREA

Pro Bono Coordination

  • Develop a project plan to introduce a pro bono legal service for advice on family property settlements;
  • Implement project plan by coordinating the pro bono legal service;
  • Recruit and induct pro bono legal practitioners who are experienced in family law property settlement.

Legal Practice

  • Work with the Principal Solicitor to ensure that all legal work undertaken by SCALES complies with the requirements of the Legal Profession Act and associated rule, Professional Indemnity Insurance requirements and SCALES’ policies and procedures.

Service Delivery

  • In accordance with SCALES’ strategic and operational plans, provide advice, referrals, casework assistance, representation, law reform and community legal education in relation to family law and family and domestic violence and associated areas of law;

Community Development, Networking and Law Reform

  • Maintain and facilitate SCALES‘ role within the community;
  • Maintain and enhance SCALES’ public profile, in conjunction with other workers, through the preparation of media releases and articles, presentation at meetings, seminars and conferences, and represent SCALES in public forums;
  • Represent SCALES in dealings with State and Federal Governments, community and professional organisations and other organisations where appropriate;
  • Represent SCALES in family law and family and domestic committees and networks such as the Domestic Violence Legal Workers Network (DVLWN);
  • Assist in SCALES‘ publications activities, including the preparation of kits, books, submissions, reports, newsletters and other publications.

General

  • Provide learning opportunities and training to paid workers, volunteers and students;
  • Participate in professional development opportunities, including being responsible for CPD requirements to meet your own legal professional obligations;
  • Participate in the development and review of SCALES’ strategic plan and work in accordance with work plan;
  • Participate in staff meetings and other meetings as required;
  • Communicate with and inform other staff in relation to developments in your area of work and the operation of the organisation both internally and externally.
  • Maintain statistics and other records as required by funding bodies and SCALES;
  • Other duties as required by the Managing Director and Principal Solicitor from time to time.

SELECTION CRITERIA

Essential

  • Hold or be eligible for an unrestricted practice certificate in Western Australia.
  • Understanding of domestic and family violence.
  • Experience in the practice of Family Law and Restraining Orders including the provision of legal advice and conduct of legal casework and advocacy.
  • Demonstrated experience in volunteer or other personnel coordination
  • Demonstrated experience in Court work.
  • Well developed written and verbal communication skills including word processing skills.
  • Well developed interpersonal skills including the ability to communicate sensitively and effectively with clients and other persons from diverse backgrounds.
  • Well developed organisational skills – able to effectively prioritise a varied workload and the ability to respond appropriately to urgent matters.
  • Demonstrated ability to work with minimal supervision, including a commitment to working within SCALES policies and procedures.

Desirable

  • Knowledge of and experience in areas of law that relate to domestic and family violence. For example, criminal injuries compensation, criminal offences and tenancy.
  • Knowledge of and commitment to Human Rights and Social Justice.
  • Knowledge and understanding of Community Legal Centres and/or experience in working in a community based organisation.
  • Experience in working collaboratively with other service providers and networks.

For further information regarding this position please call Gai Walker, Managing Director on email g.walker@murdoch.edu.au, using the subject line: Solicitor - Family Violence Practice enquiry via EthicalJobs or 08 9550 0410 after 5 January.

A position description is attached.

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