Deakin Law School Clinical Solicitor and lecturer Michele Tucker leads a team that provides access to free legal help, and she’ll feel right at home when she brings them to Corio to help the community during Law Week in May.
Michele grew up in Department of Housing homes in Norlane and Corio. She is the eldest of five girls raised by their mother.
“Many of my family still live in Norlane and Corio and my grandparents lived in Norlane for more than 60 years,” she said. “Nan is in aged care in Norlane.”
After attending Norlane and North Shore primary schools, then Norlane High, Michele left school in Year 10 and worked as a legal junior in a Geelong law firm.
“I never considered university as an option as no one I knew went to university,” she said. “I worked for law firms in Geelong and Melbourne as a law clerk and eventually in management roles. In 2002 I applied to Deakin to study law, but didn’t get in. I was pretty disappointed.”
A lawyer working with Michele explained different pathways to study. She commenced a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2003 and was then able to transfer to a double degree: Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws.
“While juggling full-time study I continued to work part-time in law firms and was also a single mother during this time. I completed my degrees in 2007 and was admitted to practise law in 2008. To say my family was proud is an understatement.”
Michele practises in different areas of law. She also started teaching in the Law School at Deakin University in 2012 and is Clinical Solicitor and Co-ordinator at Deakin Law Clinic, as well as teaching.
Deakin University is a sponsor of Law Week, from May 16-22, which is run by the Victorian Law Foundation. Michele will be at Cloverdale on Wednesday, May 18 with students from the Deakin Law Clinic.
“I will do a presentation on Family Law and Family Violence Intervention Orders and the students will assist me with a pop-up clinic for the community, to provide information about different areas of law,” Michele said.
“I love my job. I’m very passionate about the law and enjoy helping people solve their legal problems. The legal system and processes can be overwhelming for some people, so I try and break down the issues for clients.
“I believe it’s only fair that we should all have access to legal assistance and justice, regardless of our background or financial situation.
“I also love teaching, so I have the best of both worlds with my job. It’s amazing to watch our students grow and gain such invaluable practical legal skills during their time in the clinic.”
Deakin Law Clinic is a free, community legal service with five practice areas: Family Law, Criminal Law, Civil and Commercial Law, Employment Law and Policy Advocacy Law.
The clinic opened in 2017 in Melbourne CBD and a new Geelong office, at Deakin Waterfront campus, in March this year.
Students work on real life client matters under lawyers’ supervision to gain practical and communication skills for their careers in legal practice.