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The financial challenges faced by Community Legal Centres (CLCs) in Australia are jeopardizing their ability to retain legal talent. Katie Green, a managing solicitor at Inner City Legal Center (ICLC) in New South Wales, is grappling with staff turnover as better-paying job opportunities draw lawyers away. Salaries at CLCs fall short by 10-30%, leading to a brain drain in the sector.

To bridge funding gaps, CLCs like ICLC are resorting to creative measures such as organizing fundraising events like sausage sizzles. However, the issue of underfunding extends beyond New South Wales, affecting CLCs nationwide. This financial strain is causing experienced lawyers to seek more lucrative positions elsewhere, leaving CLCs with inexperienced staff unable to provide quality legal services.

A review by Dr. Warren Mundy on the National Legal Assistance Partnership’s funding is anticipated to bring about fundamental changes to address the financial struggles of CLCs. The hope is for comprehensive reforms in the upcoming funding agreement starting in 2025 to ensure the retention of experienced legal professionals in the community legal sector.

The sector is in dire need of increased funding and support to prevent the further loss of legal expertise and to enable CLCs to continue offering essential legal services to vulnerable members of society.


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Article Title: Lawyers are leaving the community legal sector due to low pay, creating an experience gap
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