Meet The Volunteer - Pat
22 September 2020
I’m a barrister working primarily in the Cork circuit, in the area of conveyancing, commercial & construction.
I have been volunteering for 13 years and I have forged many friendships through Flac over that time, it’s a great way of checking in with people.
I generally volunteer one evening a month, from 6.30 until 8pm. It’s very different to the day job. The Cork Clinic is a general law clinic and there’s great variety in the queries. I once had a woman ask me about the legality of exhuming human remains! Now that was something I hadn’t come across before. It was a genuine query but I was thrown at the time!
We advise people who would not otherwise have access to a legal advisor, so we do provide a valuable service. Each of our rooms has a box of tissues discreetly in the corner. When people attend the clinic they tell us things of a very personal nature. All we can do in the time we have is give them the bare information. Often we are a referral service, as in we don’t take on cases directly but we steer people in the right direction. People are sometimes apologetic and unsure coming in but we listen we are always very careful to reassure individuals if it is worth taking the extra step. People can be very thankful and that’s what I find most rewarding.
The clinics are now done on the phone because of covid and I take the calls at home. I have to say I find it much easier in person, it’s harder to read the situation over the phone without the body language and so on. It’s also more difficult to assess the impact of the appointment.