Make a difference in society
Apply your skills and knowledge to real-world issues and contribute to law reform by conducting legal research for our industry partners.
The University of Sydney Law School runs a semester-length program for law students to contribute to law reform by supporting community and public legal agencies in their work. Previous law reform support projects focused on issues such as crime, climate change, migration, disability, community housing, Indigenous disadvantage, and employment.
You will work in teams of three to four people on a project of your own choosing with the advice of a Law School academic. You will need to produce a research-based report to assist our partner organisations, which are often over-worked and understaffed and lack the time or resources to carry out the research needed to pursue law reform process.
This co-curricular activity is an excellent opportunity to improve your legal drafting and research skills, while making a difference to the lives of vulnerable people and contributing to law reform. You will also develop critical thinking, communication, and collaboration skills, which are invaluable for your career.
Our Law students Joseph Jordan Black, Kajal Buhagiar, Ka Ho (Tom) Lee, Ashna Govil and Louise Press shared their experiences as part of the Law Reform Support Program.
''Through the LRSP, not only did I get to network with many other bright and ambitious emerging lawyers, but I also got to discover emerging legal issues, substantially help an organisation with a pressing problem, and try to make many other peoples' lives much better. Definitely worth it''.
Joseph Jordan Black
Master of International Law
"My project, which assessed the emerging ‘missing middle’ in the law, opened my eyes to the need for accessible legal services and the need for us to give back to the community. The opportunity to put my legal researching skills into practice and be guided by my supervisor was priceless. Not only did I gain skills that I will carry with me throughout my legal career, but I also contributed to a worthwhile cause."
Juris Doctor candidate
''My group and I work with the Aboriginal Legal Service to explore avenues where sentencing courts can impose a fine without recording a criminal conviction. The financially disadvantaged population is disproportionately impacted by a conviction as it undermines the prospect of obtaining employment, insurance, and license, etc. I strongly recommend law students to get involved in LRSP. It's an exceptional way to expand your knowledge base, network with like-minded professionals, polish your research and collaboration skills, and make a tangible impact on the most imminent social justice issue!''
Ka Ho (Tom) Lee
Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws
''Not only were Professor Simon Rice and Josh Palas a pleasure to work with, but the research topics they offered were especially intriguing. My group and I had the privilege of researching and eventually sending a proposal to the Inner City Legal Centre on how the Evidence Act 1995 (NSW) can mandate the exclusion of improperly or illegally obtained evidence gained from private investigators hired by local councils, who work to shut down brothels operating illegally. We found anecdotal evidence that has pointed to NSW sex workers who report being tricked by law enforcement officers and private investigators into having nonconsensual sexual intercourse with them - which is a serious human rights issue. I came to law school with a strong commitment to social justice and found it valuable to work with others who shared that same desire. I was, of course, able to make some good friends along the way (especially helpful amidst lockdowns/working remotely).''
Juris Doctor candidate
''Under the supervision of Dr Tanya Mitchell, our group researched and prepared a report for Community Legal Centres NSW on barriers to justice for Indigenous Australians. This opportunity not only increased my legal and socio-legal research skills, but also enhanced my understanding of particular laws and legal frameworks that pose problems for Indigenous Australians and possible areas for reform. The ability to work alongside passionate staff and students to contribute to policy and improve Indigenous Australians' experiences in the legal system was also an invaluable and rewarding experience.''
Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of International and Global Studies (Sociology major)