Meet our intern – Jeffrey Weng
Jeffrey worked as an intern for PathFinders' Access to Justice Programme, which is now evolving to Equal Justice. Here he shares a very inspiring note with us.
What have you learnt from this internship?
Through this internship, I reflected about our relationships with one another as human beings through the litigation process. When an employer-employee relationship comes to an end, it seems like business as usual for clients to move on to future employment opportunities. But when a marriage or personal relationship comes to an end, nobody is a true winner regardless of the litigation outcome. Law students might be surprised to learn that despite the countless volumes of casebooks we have, pursuing a legal claim is often the last resort of our clients at PathFinders. But being able to walk clients through this obscure process is the most rewarding aspect of this internship.
It has also been a unique experience to join PathFinders during the current coronavirus outbreak. I observed first-hand how PathFinders recovered from the disruption in a quick turnaround to resume our direct services. The temporary close down of the Judiciary, in addition to suspension of services of the Immigration Department (both have reopened/resumed services now), meant that many of our clients encountered difficulties in their applications for visa extension. Nevertheless, we are fortunate to be able to collaborate with other non-profit organisations, pro bono lawyers, and our colleagues at PathFinders to secure the best interests of our clients during this difficult period of time.
What activities have you been participating in?
During my time at PathFinders, I assisted the Access to Justice team in a number of legal matters and research projects. Outside of the office, I accompanied clients to the Immigration Department, Legal Aid Department, and the office of pro bono lawyers to carry out instructions. When I was sitting at my desk, I went through multiple drafts of statements of claims, formal correspondences, and research notes. Over the internet, I worked closely with clients and colleagues through e-mails, phone calls, and messages. At our weekly Open Legal Clinic, the team gathered at the office to update and discuss open legal matters.
In addition to my daily tasks, I attended regular meetings with other teams at PathFinders to discuss solutions for a wide range of client issues. In particular, I gained an appreciation of challenges facing Case Managers who as social workers are always in the frontline of our direct services.
What kind of change in society do you hope for?
As our society continues to progress, I hope that we focus more on what we have in common as human beings rather than our differences. Our clients are no different from anyone else. We sometimes lose our jobs and move on. We sometimes fall in love and get heartbroken. We sometimes are disadvantaged because of what others perceive about us. But if we remain silent about the many instances of discrimination happening around us, we are affirming those actions that might someday also happen on ourselves elsewhere. Justice does not walk on the street, but we know injustice when we see it. It is only until our clients are no longer regarded as strangers in this city, can we finally say that our society has progressed as a whole.