Owen Egbenoma’s family always hoped he would become a lawyer, after he showed promise as a public speaker throughout his schooling.
Now the 25-year-old is growing into the profession as a volunteer at Marrickville Legal Centre.
Owen initially started his legal career as a paralegal in a practice specialising in property law, but decided to do his Practical Legal Training (PLT) at MLC to find his direction.
“There’s great diversity in the work we do here, which is good,” says the graduate of Western Sydney Law School.
“Applying soft skills, being empathetic with clients and being able to have that initial rapport is really important. Trust is vital - it’s very significant given the background and circumstances of some our clients,” he says.
What are you trying to achieve from your PLT role at Marrickville Legal Centre?
Ever since I completed my degree, I’ve been trying to settle on what exactly it is I want to do within the profession, which area of the law my interest truly lies. The two practice areas I’ve worked in, I’ve realised they’re probably not for me -- property is okay, but it is perhaps too transactional.
Marrickville Legal Centre presents a fantastic opportunity because of the diversity and breadth of work, and the different types of clients we assist.
Why did you choose to travel to Marrickville for your PLT?
I’ve always heard really positive things about the Centre, and have been intrigued by the activities of CLC's since my fourth year of Law School. During my studies at the College of Law, I interacted with several former MLC volunteers who gave glowing recommendations.
Where are you working most of the time?
I’m currently a retail consultant at Optus. I have been employed with the company since my time at university.
From these experiences, I've developed an intrigue in consumer protection. I did the Consumer Law elective at university and found the concepts interesting. I’m particularly looking forward to doing some employment law work at MLC. I have a commerce degree, with a major in Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations, so I feel I can view these types of matters from multiple perspectives.
What do you remember about growing up in the Hills District?
Just a great place to grow up really, with an increasing mix of cultures. My family have lived in the Hills District for the majority of the time we've been in Australia. When my father arrived here from Nigeria, he started work as a cabbie. I was two years old when we arrived, and despite leaving quite young, I’ve still grown up with a lot of the Nigerian culture, and consider myself a proud Nigerian-Australian.
I look forward to going back over there soon.