James and Feras are two fabulous new staff at WSCLC! Read on to learn more about them.
James Minshall- Home Building solicitor
Tell me about yourself
I was born in San Diego, California. I moved here 13 years ago. I was on a scholarship to play basketball during my undergraduate degree. In my family, everyone plays basketball! I have two kids- 13 and 9- so, in addition to playing basketball, they take up my time. My mum’s side of the family has lots of professional athletes. My girls are also very athletic. I have a very competitive family!
I worked at Law Access for 3 years, and I was studying law at the same time.
What motivated you to become a lawyer?
I have a couple of lawyers in my family, and they’re ‘fight for the good guys’ type people. I’ve always wanted to do that since when I was young. When I was on a basketball scholarship during my undergraduate, the first thing they tell you is you can’t be a doctor or a lawyer. Because you do so much travelling during the week, you miss classes. But even then I always wanted to do law.
What interested you about working for Community Legal Centres (CLCs)?
I worked for LawAccess before, and I found there were things you couldn’t do. You can only help someone up to a certain point, although they may need more.
I’m not sure if I could work in private practice. I’ve heard from friends there can be long hours. I’m not in a position where I can leave home at 6am, and get home at 9-10pm at night. My kids are still a bit small for that.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I like speaking in front of big groups of people. I’m a quiet person at home, so people wouldn’t pick that. I also want a moustache, just like Peter’s [the other home building solicitor]. Mine doesn’t grow.
Feras Suwan- Tenant Advocate, Tenancy Team
What were you doing before you started this job at WSCLC?
I was working with in a NSW government graduate program. It was a stream focused on policy. Before that, I was here at WSCLC, but in different roles. I started off giving legal information and referrals to clients at our front desk (as a staff member and volunteer). After that, I started giving information and referrals to tenants in the tenancy team. Now I work as a Tenant Advocate.
What do you like about your new role?
I’m looking forward to learning the whole process of how to help tenants –from start to finish. I like helping community members from when they first contact us us, to assisting them, then following up on their casework, and closing the case. It’s satisfying!
What interested you about working for CLCs?
CLCs play an important role in giving law graduates practical experience outside of university. They also give law students an opportunity to explore a wide range of legal fields- from criminal law to civil law. WSCLC is an important service, as we help people who can’t afford private legal advice.
What’s something people might not know about you?
Before I did law, I did exercise and sport science as a degree. But I switched halfway through. The sport science degree wasn’t delivered well, and it just wasn’t satisfying for me!