Volunteer week: Avi McCabe, Legal Support Project
Avi McCabe has volunteered with the Law Centre's Legal Support Project since January 2012. She now runs a consultancy service but continues to help when she can.
What is your background?
I am a solicitor. I moved back to Northern Ireland in 2011. My professional background was in regulation/compliance work and I wanted to gain exposure to other practice areas, in particular areas which dealt with social justice issues.
Why did you decide to volunteer with the LSP?
I was keen to keep my legal skills up-to-date and to use them to help people who would otherwise be unable to get advice or represent themselves. The LSP provided an opportunity to do both. When I met the LSP staff, their professionalism and commitment really impressed me and sealed the deal!
What have you gained from volunteering with the LSP?
Lots of positive experiences. I have developed professionally by doing social security and employment work; been able to take advantage of Law Centre( NI)’s training programme and, most satisfyingly, to develop personal and working relationships with fellow volunteers, Law Centre staff and members of various voluntary and practitioner groups.
What difference do you think your involvement has made to your LSP clients?
I’ve hope I’ve made a small but significant difference in the lives of all my clients. Tribunal procedures are complex but my clients have always impressed me with their courage and determination to have their concerns heard.
Do you think that the experience of volunteering with the LSP has or will benefit you in the future?
It has been very beneficial. I’ve had the professional satisfaction of securing many successful outcomes for clients who would not otherwise have been able to afford a legal adviser. I’ve gained the expertise and confidence to start my own consultancy, SEN Advice and Advocacy NI, which focuses on special educational needs; an area where there is also a significant unmet need for specialist advice and representation.