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Pursuing Justice on the Flip Side

Pursuing Justice on the Flip Side
Blenheim, 20 October 2017

Taking a leap from community advocacy to family law feels natural, says Rachel Black, who has been appointed to head up operations for Ebborn Law in the top of the South Island.

Rachel has been well known to many in community services, Police and government agencies as manager of Marlborough Refuge.

This week she started as Branch Manager (Marlborough) for Ebborn Law, a Christchurch-based law firm that for the past three years has been the largest provider of family legal aid in New Zealand.

Rachel says she has always been a staunch advocate of access to justice, especially for families.

“During my time at Plunket, before I joined the refuge movement, I saw people struggling to feed their children and themselves and so they would go hungry. Convincing my colleagues of this was an uphill battle, because they themselves had come from lives of relative privilege and found it hard to believe such deprivation existed in New Zealand.

“At Marlborough Refuge I was able to help people access resources they needed in the form of support and assistance, not only from the State, but also from the community as whole.”

“I saw the best of people, and the worst of people,” says Rachel, “But I never lost my belief in the ultimate kindness of the human spirit.”

The impact on the refuge of losing such a valued person is not lost on Ebborn Law CEO Jarrod Coburn, who says he has agonised over the decision for many weeks.

“Ultimately, though, I know there are a number of outstanding women in the refuge movement who have the leadership skills to step into Rachel’s role.

“For our part, we are a law firm that has the same holistic approach that Rachel embraces and represents. Our mission is to help people find their way through what is often a tough trek by providing legal services that are accessible, empathetic and easy to understand.

“In many ways Ebborn Law represents the future of the legal profession: working alongside other essential services in partnership for the benefit of mutual clients; being an active part of the journey people have to undertake to achieve wellbeing.”

Rachel agrees.

“I’ve already had preliminary discussions with the management team around a number of initiatives that I want to roll-out in Marlborough, Nelson and Tasman,” says Rachel. “I think if people realised the innovation Ebborn Law has delivered to the legal profession so far they would be amazed.

“Just the advent of video law for domestic violence victims saw a huge social change in Kaikoura over the past two years. It’s incredible that this could be achieved simply through a partnership between a community organisation and a private business.”

In her role as Branch Manager (Marlborough) Rachel Black will be responsible for liaising with government agencies and social services, arranging legal education for the community and ensuring clients of the firm receive the best possible service.

Her first major event will be a free family law workshop planned in Blenheim for early 2018.


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