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Staff spotlight: Claudia Thomas

By Rae & Partners — February 07, 2024

Committed to helping all Tasmanians 

The Rae & Partners office was approached by Mr Patrick O’Connor, Chief Executive and Principal at the Tasmanian Refugee Legal Service. He contacted our firm to ask if we could partner with them, so that they could extend their legal services to the north of the state. At the time, Claudia and colleagues had established a Diversity Committee within Rae & Partners, so it made perfect sense for her to continue this work with TRLS.

Claudia Thomas 1

It was around the same time that my colleague and I established our firm’s Diversity Committee. The work we are undertaking with TRLS aligns with one of the goals of our committee, which is to support under-represented groups within the wider community. Our Diversity Committee is really excited to be undertaking this project with TRLS

Claudia Thomas

Prior to the Diversity Committee beginning their work with TRLS, there were no free in-person legal services available to refugees in Northern Tasmania. TRLS had previously only operated in Hobart, which meant those in the north of the state were not always aware of the services available, and did not always have access, due to the geographical barriers. Being southern based also meant that existing clients in Northern Tasmania needed to have their appointment by phone or video-link. With many of TRLS’s clients being from linguistically diverse backgrounds, this created a barrier in communication. Because of these various challenges, TRLS identified the need to extend their in-person services north.

“We are hopeful that by supporting the incredible work of the TRLS, we will be able to bridge this gap and address issues and challenges their clients in our local community may face.”


Claudia finds her work in this space very fulfilling. “It’s incredibly rewarding to be able to give back to and provide assistance to refugees in our community, to be able to meet with them and understand the issues they face, and to do what we can to assist them in their visa applications.”

Since the project’s official commencement in May 2023, four face-to-face meetings have been facilitated in Northern Tasmania, assisting refugees with a range of challenges including visa applications and various other legal needs.

“It is also rewarding in the sense of the positive impact it has within our firm, in boosting morale by giving back to our local community, and also by increasing our skills in migration law and trauma-informed response. It is work that we would otherwise not have been able to gain experience in.”

To learn more about the Tasmanian Refugee Legal Service, follow this link. You can make an appointment or simply find out a little bit more about their work and services.