The legal system is pointless if people don't know what their rights are or how to access them.
"Our legal system runs the risk of becoming meaningless if there are barriers that prevent people from accessing or enforcing their rights," Andrew Christopoulos said.
The Batemans Bay lawyer was recently appointed president of national advocacy group Australian Lawyers Alliance.
He wants to remove those barriers over the following 12 months of his presidency, and he said the South Coast was a great place to start.
Before, while running a firm in Sydney's CBD, Mr Christopoulos had a "road to Damascus" moment: he walked away from corporates and decided to work "for the little fella on the street".
He said there was "honesty and simplicity around need" in regional areas.
"Here you have people with real needs, real accidents," he said.
But people don't know what their rights are.
"People don't know how to claim or what they can claim," he said.
"People come to me saying things have been summarily stopped and didn't know they had rights to continue. It's a real communication issue."
He said it didn't help Australia was one of the few common-law countries not to have a bill or charter of rights.
"(A bill of rights) will go some way to reconciling the balance between what legislative reforms we have, (and) rights as individuals," he said.
"There's a lot of work going on in the background to erode rights, generally.
"We do it under the guise of statutory schemes that are supposed to promote fairness for all, but they're really not doing that."
We haven't done enough to ensure a level-playing field, as far as access issues are concerned.Andrew Christopoulos
He said Australia was "miles behind - and it's a shame" in anti-discrimination legislation.
"Not to suggest I'm taking a political or partisan approach, but it seems like the anti-discrimination legislation has taken a back seat, and I think that is inextricably tied to the question of individual freedoms," he said.
He said First Nations people were a significant priority, and the alliance was working to finalise its reconciliation action plan.
"We haven't done enough to ensure a level-playing field, as far as access issues are concerned," he said.
"I don't just mean legal aid, I mean access for First Nations people, access to proper compensation for people involved in personal injury actions."
Voluntary euthanasia, the decriminalisation of cannabis and introduction of pill testing were also on the agenda.
Why should there be a limit or risk of the tenure of someone's employment, to express their view?Andrew Christopoulos
"Governments have not kept pace with the development of us as a culture and a society," he said.
"The quicker we get used to acknowledging the prevalence of drugs in society, the better we will get at regulating their use, saving lives and having a sensible system in place that acknowledges personal use, versus trafficable amounts and criminal quantities."
He said the Michaela Banerji case "sent shock waves through the employment industry", and he supported freedom of speech.
"(The alliance is) right behind freedom of expression for an individual to speak their mind about what they think, whether it be critical or otherwise. Why should there be a limit or risk of the tenure of someone's employment, to express their view?" he said.
"These strictures or limits that are placed on freedom of expression, and the ability for the media to maintain the confidentiality of their sources and to report things in an unbiased fashion, are clearly rights that have to be preserved in this country."
While other board directors were from firms like Maurice Blackburn, Cashman and Shine, Mr Christopoulos, whose firm is on Orient St, Batemans Bay, said he was proud to be the "little bloke heading up the organisation for 12 months".
He took on the presidency from July 1.