What is Public Interest Law Clinic?
Public Interest Law Clinic (PILC) offers students an opportunity to develop their practical legal skills by moving beyond the classroom to make a real difference in the lives of the most vulnerable members of our community. Students support lawyers in public interest law organisations and directly assist in the delivery of legal services to clients.
PILC combines practical learning with academic support through complementary seminars. The seminars encourage students to consider and reflect on their own level of competence and concepts of their professional responsibility as future legal practitioners. PILC offers students the opportunity to engage in dialogue about broader questions pertaining to law and access to justice.
Learning by doing and reflecting
PILC provides students with hands-on experience in public interest law environments that complements their JD studies and allows them to acquire and consolidate practical skills. Seminars and assessment tasks prompt students to reflect on their practical experiences, and the relationship between the theory and practise of law.
Employability and pathways
PILC endeavours to increase awareness of the broad variety of public interest law career opportunities available to students upon graduation. Through their practical placements, students interact with a wide range of public interest practitioners.
PILC seeks to provide context for some of the complex concepts and processes that form part of the JD curriculum. The opportunity to work directly with clients, hear their stories and watch their matters progress adds a human dimension to the study of law, which can illuminate and strengthen the classroom experience.
Through their practical experience, PILC students are able to identify the challenges that clients encounter in accessing justice. Students are encouraged to consider whether existing laws and institutions meet the aims of the justice system and to draw on their practical experience to propose solutions.
Where can I go?
MLS has strong partnerships with a number of partner organisations. Current and previous organisations include:
JobWatch (Employment Law Clinic)
At JobWatch students are trained in substantive employment law and work with live clients to provide a range of legal services including information, advice, referrals, support and casework. Students also participate in the centre's community legal education and policy work.
Students at Refugee Legal work under supervision to assist asylum seeker and refugee clients with a range of legal casework and advice, as well as contributing to the Centre’s policy and law reform work.
Flemington and Kensington Community Legal Centre (Police Accountability Clinic)
At Flemington Kensington Community Legal Centre students provide assistance, referral, support and casework to victims of police misconduct. Students also contribute to the Centre's policy and community legal education work.
Victoria Legal Aid (Civil Justice Clinic )
- Kate Fischer-Doherty
Director, Melbourne Law School Clinics and Subject Coordinator, Public Interest Law Clinic
How do I apply?
Details available on the JD LMS Community.
Handbook details: LAWS50116