The Community legal sector faces a funding crisis.
Law graduates face a jobs crisis.
The Piddington Justice Project will tackle both issues by connecting graduates with community legal centres.
The graduates will get real, practical experience and new pathways to employment.
The law centres will get some help from enthusiastic graduates, and a new source of funding.
With your support, we can commence our pilot project immediately and start graduate training in January 2016.
First we'll work with community legal centres to confirm thirty supervised opportunities for graduates to get practical legal experience. Together, we'll develop policies and guidelines to ensure graduates receive support throughout their placements and exposure to all areas of legal practice.
From September 2015, final year students and graduates will be invited to apply to join our 2016 graduate cohort. We will conduct interviews to identify thirty exceptional candidates.
In January 2016, our first cohort will enrol in a special graduate course comprising a face to face intensive course and online modules. Students will pay tuitition fees, with a deferred payment option.
Following the intensive course, graduate students will commence their work placements. Our graduates can choose to attend full time or part time.
Throughout 2016, we will visit the CLCs on a rotating basis, and be available to support the graduates throughout. Students will get together throughout the year as they complete their placements and continue their course-work.
How will the Project raise funds for CLCs?
We expect to contribute at least $1000 to CLCs for each student offered a supervised placement.
We'll contribute further funds to CLCs through by expanding our continuing professional development (CPD) program. Our CPD seminars will also provide further opportunities for the graduates to meet with and learn from more senior practitioners.
Once we reach our first $10,000 milestone, the English Family Foundation will contribute a further $10,000 towards our participating CLCs.
So why do you need this campaign?
Our contribution targets are conditional on getting the project off the ground and the graduates into CLCs. There's still a lot of work to do. Nick has taken it as far as he can as a volunteer. Our fundraising goal would fund Nick to take leave without pay to work on the Project remotely in 2015, and on the ground at least two days per week in 2016.
Our $30,000 target also includes:
Our budget is as lean as possible so that our fundraising target results in the same sum being contributed to CLCs.
This means we will be able to re-invest our seed money of $30,000 back in to the community sector by contributing at least $1000 for each of our first 30 students.
To start our project off, the English Family Foundation will contribute $10,000 to participating Community Legal Centres once our Let’s Act campaign reaches $10,000. This generous and significant pledge will help us effectively helping us raise 2/3 for our $30,000 the Piddington Justice Project in total
The project is intended as pilot project to show that we can materially support CLCs with funds from graduate and continuing legal education.
Where $30,000 might be enough for a feasibility study, we think the money is better spent on a pilot project which will:
This project will help vulnerable individuals, law graduates and the general community. Fundamentally, improving access to Justice also improves the administration of Justice. PWC has conservatively estimated that every dollar spent on legal aid generates a return of $1.60-$2.25. The National Association of CLCs estimated that the return on investment is $18 (see analysis in the Productivity Commission's Report).
If the pilot project is successful, we hope to expand to multiple cohorts in multiple jurisdictions. We think this has the potential to make significant impact in the years to come.
About this Project
Nick started developing this concept in 2010 when he was at the Aboriginal Legal Service. There was always endless work, and a long list of students seeking work experience. Sadly, as with many legal assistance organisations, ALS did not have the resources to develop a volunteer program.
Coming out of that experience, the Project seeks to remove as many barriers as possible to CLCs taking on graduates for training. While CLCs will be encouraged to be involved as much as they can be, the Project intends to do the majority of the work developing procedures, taking applications, conducting interviews and training graduates so they can be useful in their placements from day one.
The Piddington Society is an incorporated association of lawyers that promotes collegiality in the profession and access to justice. Since 2011, Piddington has run events connecting hundreds of practitioners and raised more than $20,000 for community legal centres and other charities. This year, its annual conference had more than 160 delegates and featured a keynote presentation from the Chief Justice of Western Australia.
Nick commenced his legal career in 2008 as the Associate to the Hon Justice Miller of the WA Court of Appeal. Following articles at Freehills (as HSF then was), Nick worked at the ALS and Rio Tinto before joining the State Solicitor's Office in 2014.
Throughout his legal career, Nick has assisted in the development and delivery of legal education programs, including for the Law Society, Criminal Lawyers Association and Aboriginal Legal Service.
A huge amount of work is required to bring the project together. Nonetheless, the Project is receiving strong support from the legal profession, and helpful guidance from senior practitioners so as to meet the requirements prescribed by the Legal Practice Board of Western Australia. With your help, the project will become a reality.
This week, the Blacktone Society joined our Justice Project as a Founding Member Organisation. With this generous pledge, we've reached our target!
Thanks to all who have already pledged - with your support, we've raised the funds to get started. We're now confirming placement details with our first CLC partners, and look forward to announcing some more details very soon.
Our base case was to provide each CLC $1000 for every student that they supervise. We'd like to do more - and our campaign still has two weeks left to run.
We hope to raise a further $5000 so we will provide our first five CLC partners an additional $1000 in badly needed funds.
Palmam qui meruit ferat (or - let the glory of victory go to those who deserve it). We're so delighted with the support we've already received. If we can hit our additional "stretch target" we'll offer all of our supporters, premium supporters and foundation supporters an additional reward.
The Piddington Collection of Latin Maxims will:
Existing supporters, premium supporters and founding supporters can register to receive the book here.
Thanks again for your support! We look
Thanks so much to our early supporters, we're off to a great start!
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Matching every dollar raised up to $10,000
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