Peter Lynch is a solicitor who has been practising in Victoria since 1978. He’s specialised in both Criminal Law and Family Law. Peter has been involved with Fitzroy Legal Service for over thirty-five years and he’s worked with the service in two capacities. Firstly, Peter worked as a volunteer lawyer from 1978 to 1984 and then again from 2012 to the present. Secondly, he’s been an annual contributor to The Law Handbook since 1981. Peter has also achieved the impressive feat of surviving as a sole practitioner since 1990.
Peter grew up in Ballarat and studied law at Melbourne University. One aspect of working with the law that Peter finds enjoyable is that it’s a profession focused on problem solving, and has the rewarding nature of trying to resolve a client’s problems. Peter has worked for many years as a specialist in Criminal Law and Family Law, though recently he’s been doing more Family Law. Over the last four years, he has once again been a volunteer with Fitzroy Legal Service. When asked what brought him back to volunteer again, he said, ‘There was an enormous number of people that were unrepresented in the Family Courts and in need of some advice, and Fitzroy Legal Service provides that on a weekly basis.’
Peter has been an annual contributor to The Law Handbook since 1981, providing the chapters ‘Sentencing in the Magistrates’ Court’ and ‘Driving Offences’. In addition to being useful for members of the general public, Peter says that The Law Handbook is also a valuable resource for law practitioners. When he finds himself being asked about a subject outside of his area, he also finds himself grabbing The Law Handbook as a handy reference. ‘It’s pretty well up-to-date,’ he says, ‘and written in a way that you can understand.’ Peter also believes the fact that it’s a popular resource that can be used by professionals really shows the effort that Fitzroy Legal Service and the contributors put into its creation.
Peter has been with Fitzroy Legal Service for a long time. He’s watched it come full circle from its days in the basement of the Fitzroy Town Hall in the 70s, to its Johnston Street location and now back to Level 4 of the Fitzroy Town Hall. His long history with Fitzroy Legal Service is explained by his value of community legal centres and the service they provide. Working as a volunteer lawyer is an important part of a person’s practise. For young lawyers, it’s a valuable way help them find their direction in the law. For older lawyers, it can also be a good way to use the extra time that they might have now that they may not have had mid-career. Most importantly, the availability of volunteer lawyers makes all the difference to those who fall between the people that Legal Aid can provide for and those who can afford to pay for lawyers. ‘There’s a whole mass of people in between who don’t have access to legal and law services, nothing like a community legal centre can offer then,’ he says, ‘So I think it’s a very important service provided by the volunteer lawyers.’
Outside of work, it’s hard to get away for a holiday when you’re a sole practitioner, but Peter is aiming to make time next year. He’s hoping to travel overseas to Europe, though it’s hard to set plans in stone. Peter’s time away from practising law is still hectic; he has four children that do a great job of keeping him and his wife busy!