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Media Release

March 10 2011

UniSA opens free legal advice clinic

Students and staff at work in the new Legal Advice Clinic.Final year law students at UniSA are offering free legal advice to the public under the guidance of a supervising solicitor at a newly launched community legal clinic.

Located in UniSA’s Law Building, the Legal Advice Clinic is open weekdays and clients can book appointments by calling (08) 8302 7436.

The clinic will offer free advice on legal issues such as debt claims, car accidents and faulty goods but will not provide court representation or give advice to both sides in a legal dispute. The clinic is also unable to provide advice on matters of wills, power of attorney and personal injury claims and will not fund clients’ costs or expenses.

UniSA’s Director of Professional Programs Rachel Spencer says the clinic will have two important functions.

“The clinic will give people access to quality legal information at no cost and it will importantly give law students experience of real practice, the real problems that need to be resolved and how the law impacts on real lives,” Spencer says.

“This engagement is invaluable in equipping lawyers with the skills of client-centred practice and a better understanding of the role of law in society.”

To start with the clinic will be staffed by four final year law students with more undergraduates set to become involved as the workload grows.

The students will interview clients in pairs before researching each case and discussing it with supervising solicitor Matthew Atkinson.

Mr Atkinson, who has seven years experience working at a community legal centre and will work full-time at the clinic, says he is delighted to be involved.

“The chance to play a part in creating a new kind of advice service that is free to the public in an educational setting was something I did not want to miss out on,” he says.

Final year participating student Caitlyn Keague agrees.

“I was really excited to be part of a new clinic that provides the opportunity for diverse people to come in and feel comfortable about speaking about legal matters which they might not have otherwise been able to resolve,” says Keague.

The law clinic is currently taking appointments from the public. To find out more or to book an appointment visit the website or call 8302 7436 during business hours. Appointments can also be made in person at the Law Building at UniSA’s City West campus.

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