On Monday this week, we began working from our new offices at 575 Bourke Street in the centre of the Melbourne CBD. Several of our clients were really impressed with the layout and the facilities, including (or especially!) all the free drinks and snacks : )
Next week we'll sort out final furniture arrangements and other details. It will be so good to have a permanent place to work from after months of seeing clients in coffee shops, at McDonald's restaurants and literally on the street and standing on the steps of the Supreme Court.
Last Monday was exactly six months from day on which I saw my first client as a volunteer helping people with their legal and official documents.
On 20 November 2021, at around 11am, I received a call from Alice* who was at that time standing inside the Chemist Warehouse on William Street. She needed a witness for her divorce application, and a pharmacist had given her my card. Alice was, and always will be, my number one (which she still delights in reminding me!)
As I have done with most of the 230-plus clients I've helped since that day, I met Alice in the afternoon at the Brunetti coffee shop at 250 Flinders Lane. I sat there, as I would for the next several months, at the long wooden table located in the glassed-off area just to the right after entering through the sliding doors.
There I met so many fascinating people, both clients and Brunetti customers who became joined in the spirit of what I was doing. I was even able to find a law graduate there who worked with me and is now a lawyer himself.
All of that was for a season, it now appears. After these last 6 months of trial and error, learning on the job, talking with hundreds of people and sometimes making a big difference in their lives, we are now beginning a new chapter at a permanent office address. It feels great to take this next step. But I will always be incredibly grateful for all the wonderful experiences - both good and bad - that have led us to this point.
Please feel free to call and visit us. You don't need a reason other than to say hello and check out our new space. The tea, coffee and snacks are all free as part of my office rent, so there's no excuse. Simply swap one of your usual coffee shop visits with a visit to see us!
I am looking forward to that very much.
* Not my client's real name, to protect their privacy.