Joel Garrett first volunteered at Oxfam in the Supporter Services team in November 2011 and returned in May 2017 to assist the legal team.
Who are you?
My name is Joel. I in born and raised in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne and still currently living there. Growing up I always enjoyed a balance of academic and recreational pursuits, having always played some form of weekly sport while working towards my goal of going to uni to become a lawyer and try to make my mark on the legal world
Why did you choose to volunteer/intern at Oxfam?
I chose to volunteer as a Paralegal at Oxfam for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I’d previously volunteered in a general administrative capacity years earlier and really enjoyed my time there and appreciate the work Oxfam does as a whole.
Secondly, the opportunity to gain additional legal experience within an in-house legal team would be valuable for professional development and hopefully help me find full-time employment in the industry (which it did!)
What was the purpose of your role?
The purpose of my role at Oxfam evolved during my time there. I was essentially the guinea pig Paralegal volunteer for Oxfam and I worked side by side the legal team there to figure out how best I could assist them in their daily function.This ranged from creation of a knowledge management system of historical data and legal advice, carrying out research on various legal issues relating to the NFP sector and being responsible for the input and maintenance of the current matters listing for the legal team.
We also worked on developed a triaging system to assist in allocating legal requests from internal departments to the in-house team.
What are some positive outcomes of this experience?
Volunteering at Oxfam saw many positive impacts for me! I was able to make connections both as friends and professionally. Both Sari and Heidi from Oxfam attended my admission ceremony when I finally hit the milestone of becoming a lawyer and have both been great advocates for my future success.
The role gave me my first real foot in the door of the legal world and I do think my experience there is a big reason why I was able to get my first permanent role in a legal capacity. The in-house team were always very accessible and willing to take time out of their day to help train and develop my skills and knowledge and I am still grateful for the experience today.
What would you say to someone thinking of volunteering with Oxfam?
Go for it!! If there is a professional volunteer role available at Oxfam and you’re looking to get your foot in the door of a specific industry, Oxfam is a great place to start. The working environment is positive and you will have the opportunity to learn and take that to whatever future roles you end up getting.
Most importantly, where are you now?
At the time of writing this I am working at Stockland as a Senior Legal Graduate in the Victorian conveyancing team.
However, I have recently accepted a new role as an Associate Solicitor at a firm in the CBD working in the property sector and I am incredible excited to start my adventure there and take on all the new challenges that I will face there!