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Social Work Services

A free social work service since 2009

Our Story

Compensation claims can take time and Slater and Gordon understands that obtaining the correct legal entitlements is only one of the many issues people have to face on their journey through such life-changing incidents. As a community minded firm, Slater and Gordon has long recognised the value of social work in addressing the psycho-social issues that people may face as they move through the process of claiming compensation.

For these reasons, Slater and Gordon decided to establish a free social work service in 2009 to assist its clients and are proud to be the first and only law firm in Australia to offer such a service. 

Following the overwhelming success of the Social Work Services initiative in Victoria, the firm extended the service to clients in New South Wales and the ACT and most recently to Queensland. 

About our team

Olga Gountras is the National Manager of Social Work Services based in Melbourne. She has more than 28 years of social work experience which includes 21 years in the public and private health service industry in acute and rehabilitation settings.

For the past 5 years she has been supported in Melbourne by Lorraine Troy who also has 13 years’ previous experience in hospital and community health settings.

Alexis Stonebridge is based in Sydney and has been the NSW/ACT Manager of Social Work Services since 2011. She brought with her more than 10 years of experience in fields of expertise which included issues in relation to mental health, homelessness and drugs and alcohol.

Commencing in January 2016, Maggie Poole is the Queensland Manager of Social Work Services based in our Brisbane office. A social worker for 17 years, Maggie has worked in mental health, community health and acute hospital settings in Brisbane, London(UK) and in France.

Making a Social Work referral or enquiry

If your client/patient is a Slater and Gordon client in Victoria and you want to refer them to our social work service or you would like further information about our service, please contact the National Manager of Social Work Services Olga Gountras on (03) 9949 8713 or email olga.gountras@slatergordon.com.au.

If in NSW or the ACT, please contact Alexis Stonebridge on (02) 8267 0640 or email alexis.stonebridge@slatergordon.com.au.

If in QLD, please contact Maggie Poole on (07) 3331 9737 or email maggie.poole@slatergordon.com.au

If you have a legal enquiry, please complete the ‘Contact Us’ section below.

  • Information for Slater and Gordon clients

    Our Social Work Service

    The Social Work Services team is here to assist Slater and Gordon clients in crisis as they move through the process of claiming compensation for their matter. Where appropriate, the service is provided on referral from a Slater and Gordon lawyer with no service charge to the client. The Social Work Service is available to clients seeking compensation in Victoria, New South Wales and the ACT.  

    How Social Work can help

    The Social Work Services team is able to address a range of issues that include:

    • Emotional distress
    • Financial difficulties
    • Housing and homelessness
    • Mental Health issues
    • Grief and loss
    • Drug and Alcohol
    • Guardianship and Administration
    • Refugee and immigration issues
    • Domestic violence
    • Relationship/family
    • Social isolation
    • Difficulties managing at home and/or in the community

     We can provide short-term assistance such as:

    • Counselling and support
    • Referral to community agencies regarding financial, accommodation, support and care issues.
    • Negotiation with services on your behalf
    • Help to access support groups
    • Provide community information and resources
    • Advice and assistance regarding benefits and applications with community agencies, such as Centrelink and housing

    How to access the Social Work Service

    If you would like to speak to a Slater and Gordon social worker, please ask your lawyer to make a referral to our service. A social worker will then call you directly.

  • Information for social workers and health professionals

    The Slater and Gordon Legal Education Program

    Our program for social workers and health professionals provides legal education and information seminars covering a range of legal topics that will assist you in your daily practice and in understanding the legal system that affects your clients. The program is available in Victoria, NSW, ACT, Queensland and Western Australia. Some of the topics covered in the program include:

    • issues of capacity 
    • confidentiality and privacy
    • documentation, reports and court appearances

    The seminars are cost and obligation free and can be provided upon request at your workplace where there is a Slater and Gordon office nearby with available staff for your topic/s of choice. The program is accredited by the AASW nationally. AASW members will receive 2 CPE points per learning hour.

    If you would like a copy of the legal education program please email socialworkservices@slatergordon.com.au stating your geographical area.

    If you would like to register your interest for legal education sessions that may be offered in your area or if you would like to request a legal education session for your workplace, please email socialworkservices@slatergordon.com.au 

    Social Work email newsletter

    Our social work e-newsletter is sent out to more than 900 social workers on our national database. It includes information about our service, client stories, changes to legislation and legal entitlements relevant to your clients. If you would like to be added to our database, please email Olga Gountras at olga.gountras@slatergordon.com.au.

    Social Work articles and conference papers 

    Since 2009 we have written a number of articles and conference papers. These include:

    • ‘Do You Know a Good Lawyer?’ published in the AASW Bulletin 2009
    • ‘Social Work Is A Caring Profession But Why Should You Care About Lawyers’ presented at the AASW Queensland and North Queensland Conference November 2009
    • ‘Social Workers and Lawyers: Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility?’ published in the AASW Bulletin 2010
    • ‘Bridging the Gap – Social Work in Law’ published in the Spring 2011 Edition of SWIFT – the AASW NSW Branch newsletter
    • ‘And Justice For All: Pioneering Social Work in an Australian Law Firm’ presented at the  10th Biennial National Rural Remote Social Work Conference July 2011
    • ‘Legal Claims for non-Occupational Asbestos Exposure’ published in the OSWA Oracle 2012
    •  ‘Social Work and the Law: Three Years On’ published in the AASW Bulletin 2012
    • ‘New Directions in Social Work for Those Affected by Mesothelioma’ presented at the Oncology Social Work Australia conference April 2013

    If you would like a copy of any of the above, please email socialworkservices@slatergordon.com.au.

    Sponsorship opportunities

    The Social Work team has facilitated the sponsorship of a number of social work events that are also aligned with the work of Slater and Gordon.

     These have included:

    • OSWA conferences
    • AASW North Queensland and Queensland conferences
    • Biennial National Rural Remote Social Work Conferences
    • Royal North Shore Hospital Cancer Ball
    • Practice Makes Perfect – Masterclass for Social Workers in Counselling and Private Practice
    • Mental Health Social Workers Conference – Dignity Hope and Recovery

    If you have a sponsorship enquiry please contact socialworkservices@slatergordon.com.au.

    Slater and Gordon Health Professionals Microsite

    Slater and Gordon has developed a microsite to assist Health Professionals in working with their patients where legal issues may impact on assessment and treatment planning and provision. We believe that a better understanding of some common legal issues will result in timely and informed communication and a better outcome for both Health Professionals and Patients.

Make an enquiry

If you have a question, want some more information or would just like to speak to someone, make an enquiry now and we’ll be in touch with you very soon.

Enquire now