Victorian Law Foundation executive director on the 'huge' appetite for accessible legal info

In the wake of the 2024 Victorian Law Week, Lynne Haultain shares the issues that attendees cared most about

Victorian Law Foundation executive director on the 'huge' appetite for accessible legal info

Lynne Haultain brought a media and comms background to the Victorian Law Foundation when she first joined the organisation at a critical period in 2017. Today, as its executive director, she is basking in the glow of a successful, recently concluded Victorian Law Week – an event designed to help Victorians to enhance their understanding of the law.

In this interview, Haultain discusses what goes into executing such a major legal event, what issues resonated the most with this year’s attendees, and her top three takeaways from Victorian Law Week.

Can you tell us more about your role with the Victorian Law Foundation, and how you got started with the organization?

Joining in 2017 after a career in media and communications, I took the role just as Victorian Law Foundation was needing to transition from a focus on publications to building a research function. Along the way, we have always maintained our commitment to education and grant making.

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What was the process of putting together this year’s Victorian Law Week like?

Massive! It takes about eight months and serious commitment from our education team (2.5 staff). We build the website, work with event organisers to develop events, offer them guidance and resources and then manage all the marketing and media.

With Victorian Law Week over, what in your opinion was the highlight of the event?

It’s too hard to pick one, but we’ve worked hard over the last three years to get more Victorian Law Week events happening in suburban Melbourne and regional Victoria, and I think we hit our straps this year. Online events are also a boon because they are available wherever you are.

Over the week, what issues did you feel resonated the most with attendees?

Issues around housing, employment and family relations were very strong this year, as well as the perennials on wills and succession, and scams. There was a great spread of styles of events and specific issues – like a mock Fair Work trial on the right to disconnect from work; or what happens to pets in the case of a relationship breakdown; or your rights under the Mental Health Act – I learnt so much!

What are the three most important takeaways you have from the event?

First, there is huge appetite for legal information presented in accessible ways. Second, the legal profession sometimes doesn’t recognise how much it has to offer in creative ways. Third, connecting legal information and legal help with the diverse needs of communities across Victoria is a constant ambition.

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