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The inspiration behind this law grad’s work to better equip next-gen lawyers

Drawing from her personal experiences and firsthand observations of the legal challenges faced by young people, Chami Rupasinghe, founder of Law Wise Youth, underscores the vital importance of accessible legal education and her commitment to closing the gap for the next generation.

user iconGrace Robbie 29 April 2024 Big Law
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Chami Rupasinghe is the founder and creative director of Law Wise Youth, a non-profit dedicated to equipping the next generation with crucial legal and life skills.

Speaking on a recent episode of The Protégé Podcast, she delved into her inspiration behind establishing this organisation and underscored the significance of empowering young individuals with practical insights into their rights and legal responsibilities.

Following her graduation from Monash University with a bachelor of law and gaining valuable experience within the legal sector over several years, Rupasinghe established Law Wise Youth in 2023.


She expressed that the organisation’s concept aimed to tackle the issue of basic legal knowledge “not [being] very accessible or presented towards people, specifically young people” and wanting to address these “gaps”.

“I really thought it was an essential time for young people, no matter how you look, no matter your experience and your background, to have access to that information so they can be placed in a position where they know their options”, she commented.

Rupasinghe disclosed that the idea of Law Wise Youth had been brewing in her mind for 10 years while she pursued her law degree at university.

She explained that “it was the whole concept of learning a lot of things, whether it was tax law or employment law, where I was like, oh, I don’t know why this isn’t taught in school” due to how practical these topics are to everyday life.

Rupasinghe underscored the significance of young people acquiring legal knowledge by sharing a personal anecdote wherein such knowledge proved invaluable in her experience.

“I also remembered a time [when] I was renting, and it was because I knew my rights as a tenant and I had learnt it through law school, that I was able to spot a circumstance with a landlord that was trying to kind of get all their money out of me and trying to keep the bond.

“I was very lucky that I was like, ‘wait, actually, this is not OK, and you can’t actually do that’. So I remember keeping all these instances in my mind where I was like, well, if I didn’t have my law degree and if I wasn’t in a privileged position to actually do a postgraduate study, then I wouldn’t have known this,” Rupasinghe stated.

While working at a community legal centre last year, Rupasinghe gained firsthand insight into young people’s challenges due to a lack of awareness about basic legal principles, often resulting in unnecessary legal issues.

“What I saw [when] I went into court was so many people getting into situations that they didn’t have to because they just didn’t have the right information presented to them.

“They either don’t know where it is, [or] it’s not taught in school, even though we really would love it to be. And you’re not given a manual when you’re born, essentially, of how to live life successfully,” Rupasinghe commented.

Witnessing this catalysed her to launch Law Wise Youth. Nevertheless, Rupasinghe admitted that stepping into this new chapter of her life was a scary and daunting decision.

“It was terrifying because there [are] so many traditional views on how your career should look like. There were so many mindsets and perspectives that I had to kind of overcome to kind of get to this point.

“I was so scared that I was just like, you know what, I am very privileged enough to have money coming in for my business to have this opportunity.

“I know that I’m the most passionate now just because of what I’ve seen, but it’s very scary, and it’s definitely not the traditional narrative that you see in a legal career,” Rupasinghe said.

The transcript of this podcast episode was slightly edited for publishing purposes. To listen to the full conversation with Chami Rupasinghe, click below: