We established the first Social Work Service in a private law firm in Australia in 2009
For years, lawyers at Slater and Gordon firm were seeing clients and their families distressed by injury or illness trying to grapple with, not only the emotional effects, but social consequences of their situations. The majority of these clients had been seriously injured in work or motor vehicle accidents or as a result of medical negligence or public liability situations. Others too had been adversely affected by asbestos related diseases. Slater and Gordon's lawyers noticed that an increasing number of their clients were getting lost in the community as they tried to deal with the significant chronic impact of illness or injury, unable to navigate through systems to access assistance.
Senior management were pioneering in their holistic perspective, recognising the significant psycho-social difficulties their clients face within the legal context, identifying a service gap and making the decision to employ a social worker in 2009 to provide free social work services to its injured and ill clients.
Our Social Work team celebrated the 9 year anniversary of the service in May 2018. During this time we have had more than 2000 clients referred to our service for assistance. Of these referrals, 93% were from our personal injuries practice groups: Workers’ Compensation; Motor Vehicle Accident Compensation; Superannuation – Disability Claims; Public Liability; Medical Law; and Asbestos Compensation Claims.
If you would like to know more about our service or have a query, please do not hesitate to contact our team via the email firstname.lastname@example.org
Where Social Work and the Law meet
Since our Social Work Service was first established, we have been raising social workers’ awareness of the legal issues that impact on social work practice via:
- Provision of education about different areas of law
- Our Social Work + the Law Newsletter that is sent numerous social workers on our national mailing list
- Development of legal glossaries and other resource materials
- Articles and conference presentations
- Provision of an access point for social workers to use legal professionals as a resource regarding their practice issues or queries on behalf of their clients.
We have also focused on raising the awareness of insurers, insurance agents and health practitioners on the psycho-social impact of serious injury in the compensation context via:
- Participation in lobbying insurers and government
- Participation in submission writing to government
- Education via meetings and presentations.
The Slater and Gordon Legal Education Program
Our program for social workers 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 include:
- Issues of capacity in the health arena
- Confidentiality and privacy
- Documentation, reports and court appearances
- The Psycho-social Impact of Serious Injury in the Compensation Context.
Our 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. Our program is accredited annually by the AASW nationally.
Social Work Newsletter
Our Social Work e-newsletter, Social Work and the Law, is sent to numerous social workers on our national mailing list. It includes articles written by our lawyers of relevance to social workers’ daily practice including changes to legislation and legal entitlements relevant your clients. If you would like to be added to our mailing list, please email email@example.com stating your location by state or territory and the relevant social worker will email you a registration form to join our mailing list. Please note that you will only receive information from our Slater and Gordon Social Work Service.