Supporting the NSW community through accessible employment law advice

The Inner City Legal Centre (ICLC) x Allens pro bono clinic was established in Sydney in April 2023 to increase ICLC's capacity to provide much-needed legal services to people experiencing vulnerability including those in the LGBTQIA+ community.

The ICLC runs the LGBTIQ Legal Service, Trans and Gender Diverse Legal Service, Employment Rights Legal  Service (ERLS) and family law advice (including the Safe Relationships Service). As a small community legal centre, they have limited resources to deliver assistance to the high volume of complex needs clients.

The ICLC x Allens pro bono clinic allows four Allens lawyers to attend the ICLC one day a week primarily to see clients in the ERLS stream, which provides pro-bono employment  advice to clients across NSW.

Allens Associate and ICLC coordinator Ben McLachlan says the clinic is all about capacity and access.

'The ERLS service is very popular and has a significant backlog, so a bit part of our support is helping to ensure the ICLC has sufficient capacity to assist those in need. Given the very short limitation periods that apply in employment law , it's really crucial that the ICLC has this support. We also hope to ensure that the LGBTQIA+ community across NSW has access to advice regarding employment circumstances and next steps when they need it,' he said.

'Employment law is a very complex area and, given the number and variety of employers, there are a wide variety of novel circumstances that can arise and be challenging to navigate. We hope to make that a bit easier.'

Allens Lawyer and ICLC coordinator Tushaar Garg says the clinic provides much needed support to people experiencing vulnerability across NSW and also provides Allens team members with opportunities for development.

'Pro bono work not only benefits the community – it also provides opportunities for lawyers to develop and enhance their wellbeing.  While scary at times, the opportunity to be hands on with the law (often litigation), tackling legal issues and giving advice to a client  is an experience that propels your growth. And helping vulnerable people makes for a meaningful experience that reminds us why we studied law in the first place,' he said.

The ICLC says the support responds to the needs of the migrant and LGBTQIA+ communities.

'The support from Allens through our Thursday clinic has been incredibly worthwhile, given the extent to which migrant workers and the LGBTQI+ community face issues regarding employment. The partnership ensures that the greatest number of people have access to capable and compassionate advice and assistance as soon as possible. Our clients walk away from their appointments in the clinic more empowered, well-informed, and invigorated for next steps!' said Inner City Legal Clinic Solicitor Yuvashri Harish.