It’s not always easy coming in to volunteer at Caxton Legal Centre after a full day in a busy legal job…but that’s what all of the lawyers who contribute to Caxton’s evening advice sessions do. Our lawyer volunteers call on years of education and legal experience to provide Caxton’s clients with accurate, immediate and practical advice. We understand that advising in a community legal centre context is very different to what many practitioners do in their day-to-day work and appreciate that breaking down legal problems, and their solutions, into bite-sized actions is a skill in its own right. The lawyers who volunteer at our evening advice sessions make an enormous difference in the lives of our clients, which is reflected in the grateful feedback we receive from clients on a regular basis.
Law students also play a pivotal role as volunteers at Caxton, primarily in the front desk role where they answer the calls of people seeking help. Sometimes callers present with distressing stories, others have complex scenarios which take patience to unpack. We require our students to rapidly build knowledge about what we offer and our sector in order to answer call after call – the reality of working on the frontline in a busy community organisation. In 2016-7 we answered 141 calls per day at Caxton, and Caxton’s administration team readily admit that we are reliant on the law students who volunteer with us in order to keep up with demand.
The theme for National Volunteer Week 2018 is ‘Give a little. Change a lot.’ It’s clear that Caxton Legal Centre’s volunteers do this, changing things for our staff and our sector as they bring a spirit of selflessness and the value of contributing to the common good. Most importantly, our volunteers change things for our clients – for the reality is simply that without our volunteers more of them would miss out, and be left to navigate their legal dilemmas alone.
Caxton Legal Centre is delighted to recognise the work of our volunteers in National Volunteer Week – we truly value your contributions. Thank you!