DEBBIE IRELAND

Qualifications: Solicitor LLB (Hons)

Professional Memberships: Australian Lawyers Alliance, Law Institute of Victoria and Law Society of NSW

What is your area of expertise?

The area of law that I work in is personal injury law. I mainly handle WorkCover claims for people who have been injured at work and TAC claims for people who have been injured in a motor vehicle accident. I also assist people with Superannuation Total and Permanent Disability (“TPD”) claims.

I started work in a legal office as a receptionist after I completed Year 12 in 2008 and quickly moved into a role as a personal injury legal assistant. I have now completed my law degree and am admitted as an Australian Lawyer in the Supreme Court of Victoria.

By starting out as a personal injury legal assistant and working my way up, I’ve gained so much valuable knowledge and experience that I believe gives me a better understanding of the area I’m working in.

Why does personal injury law appeal to you?

It is an area of law where I feel like you really get to help people.

I deal with vulnerable people who are suffering from an injury or illness, which has such a big impact on their life. Unfortunately, it often involves dealing with the pain and restrictions an injury or illness can bring, as well as being faced with the prospect of not being able to return to work or do the things in their personal lives that they used to be able to do.

I do feel that this area of law is very personal. It really hits at the heart of someone’s life, so to be able to help them is very rewarding.

In what ways do you assist your clients?

I assist my clients in many different ways – both big and small. While obtaining lump sum compensation payments is very important and gives injured people financial support, I find it’s the smaller, everyday things where I can be of most help.

For example, there are stages during the claim process where a client may feel quite anxious about the situation they’re in. If I can do something as simple as taking the time to explain the process to them or even take over communication with WorkSafe or TAC for a while to allow them to step back from the process and reduce some of their stress – that’s where I feel I really help my clients.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

My husband and I love to travel. We’re big travel people and love getting away – even if it’s just for a day trip around the North East region or a weekend getaway.

North East Victoria is such a beautiful area to explore and it’s great to get to know the region you live in. There are some fantastic things to do – even if it’s just trying out a new local café.

I also enjoy the country life at Chiltern. It’s nice to walk down the street and have people wave at you. I like the strong feeling of community that small towns have.