Dan Creasey - Former board member and Chairperson 2013 - 2015
Currently leading King & Wood Mallesons Pro Bono & Community Impact team, Daniel Creasey was an IMCL board member then Chairperson between 2013 and 2015, and oversaw IMCL’s transformation from North Melbourne Legal Service to Inner Melbourne Community Legal.
Conveying a law firm skillset
“I got involved initially as a board member so as to, firstly volunteer and give back to the community in which I live, work and operate which is in and around the North/Inner Melbourne area,” explains Mr Creasey.
“I also wanted to be able to use the skill set that I have working in a law firm and give that back to a community legal centre.”
In approaching the board member role, Mr Creasey’s skills focused on engagement with corporates (particularly law firms) and building relationships with other CLCs to bring a more holistic and strategic approach to the future direction of IMCL.
“Accessing good pro bono support, knowing how to tap into good, ongoing sources of income and being able to communicate the work of the CLC is really important work,” says Mr Creasey.
What’s in a name?
“One of the things I brought to the board was about a longer term vision about who the legal centre was and where it wanted to be positioned in 5 and 10 years’ time.”
During Mr Creasey’s time on the board, the North Melbourne Legal Service ushered in a new era in changing its name to Inner Melbourne Community Legal.
“It was more than just a name change; it was very much about us wanting to be able to take the CLC into the next phase of its life and to be able to properly reflect the area in which it provides a really critical service to the community,” reflects Mr Creasey.
“At that time there was also the opportunity to rebrand – obviously the logo and the colours of the organisation changed, which I think reflected a new and modern era.”
Mr Creasey reflects that the rebrand was one of the most difficult decisions to be made during his time on the board, particularly making sure that staff felt empowered by the new name and direction, and just as importantly, that it reflected the community and client base.
“A name is a really subjective thing – there are so many different viewpoints that people have, but I believe the name that we ultimately settled on (after much discussion and debate) has really positioned the legal centre to take things to the next level.”
An ongoing, uphill battle for CLCs
Mr Creasey recalls the main challenge faced during his time on the board was funding, the perennial challenge that remains with CLCs.
“It was particularly difficult during 2014/2015 where there was the funding cliff that IMCL and other CLCs around the country were facing,” he explains.
“Fortunately we survived that, but funding for the CLC sector still remains very low and it is something that we need to continually come back to. It is a distraction in some ways from what the organisation needs to be doing within the community.”
Leading the way with Health Justice Partnerships
Mr Creasey believes the organisation has continued to go from strength to strength, particularly with IMCL’s Health Justice Partnerships.
“The Women’s Hospital partnership was among one of the first partnerships established in Victoria, and then later through other hospitals.
“They are a leading example of addressing unmet legal need in our community in a really innovative way, and are a standout service that IMCL has provided for a long time now. Everyone involved should be very proud of its leading work in this space.”
Strengthening and evolving with the community
“IMCL has a very proud tradition of evolving and changing to reflect the community and the way in which the community has changed around it, and I suspect very strongly that the legal centre will continue to evolve over the years to come,” explains Mr Creasey.
“IMCL will always evolve with an innovative mindset, and it is an incredible service in terms of how much output it provides given how few staff it has to do what it needs to do.
“There is no doubt that IMCL will always continue to provide a very high calibre legal service to the community around it.”