Dan's story

Dan Stubbs - Chief Executive Officer

A long-time social justice advocate on all sorts of social justice issues from disability to gender equality to LGBTIQ, Dan leads, manages and represents IMCL to promote our high quality work and keep the doors open into the future.


The power of a community legal centre

 “I believe community legal centres make a real difference for people when they have contact with the justice system.  Often people’s lives can be negatively impacted from this interaction.  Working in a community legal centre allows us to change that, so people end up better off overall. That’s really important for me.

“We see a lot of issues come through our door – different people with different legal problems, allowing us to see the application of the law in the real world. We can then use these experiences to lobby government and seek for unfair laws to be changed. It’s a powerful and privileged position to be in as community lawyers, and we take that responsibility seriously.

The chosen path: community law

“My work in the disability field is a big part of why I chose to work in the community legal sector. Because of my own disability, I’ve done a lot of work with people with a broad range of disabilities, particularly people with mental illness and cognitive impairment. I’ve so often seen people with those kinds of disabilities have awful experiences with the law, and that’s absolutely not their fault. We can actively assist them in their plight, help keep them safe, allow them to be compensated, stop them from being discriminated against, or stop them from going to prison.

Dealing with difficult and traumatic cases

“The particularly tough cases we see are those involving women who are experiencing or escaping family violence.  Securing safe outcomes makes the difficult work worthwhile. We can help stop the cycle of violence for any children involved, who now have the prospect of growing up free from harm.

“It can be hard not to take the trauma of these cases home with us at the end of the day – we’re only human. So, I work hard to remember the positive impact that we’re having, that we’re securing fairer legal outcomes for individuals and that we’re changing the system so it operates more fairly. And what we know is that this also improves people’s health.

At the helm of an inspiring and dedicated team

“It’s a privilege to work with the IMCL team, including the volunteer law students, lawyers and administrative staff. All around this organisation, there are extremely impressive people who are clearly dedicating their time to promote justice in Victoria. It’s the people that you get to work with that make it so rewarding to be part of this organisation.

Volunteers:  a crucial cog in the IMCL machine

“Volunteers are crucial to IMCL. We do so much more because we have volunteers coming in to work for us, whether it be assisting lawyers in court, helping with file work, answering the phone and triaging inquries, or in the case of pro bono lawyers, providing legal advice to people. All those things that volunteers do leverages what this organisation is all about – to be able to provide more assistance to more people.

“But it’s a mutually beneficial relationship. We provide, particularly to law students, an experience of the law that’s quite different to where most of them end up working. This helps them become better lawyers because they see what the justice system is really for: the people.

IMCL’s 40th Anniversary: discovering the rich history of the community legal service

“It is quite incredible to keep meeting people who volunteered here 20 or 30 years ago and have gone on to do really interesting and impressive things, and each one still holds this organisation in such high regard. Some were here as law students, and this was the beginning of when they really learnt to apply the law. Or some of them came here as a volunteer lawyer, and it was the first time they interacted with disadvantaged or vulnerable people, and that has influenced the rest of their career and how they view the justice system. It makes me realise the great pedigree this organisation has and, importantly, its enduring importance.”

You can find out more about IMCL's current staff here.  

"It’s a powerful and privileged position to be in as community lawyers, and we take that responsibility seriously."