Listen to my story.
I have always had a strong desire to help people that are less fortunate. When I was younger my grandparents received pro bono legal help to adopt my sister and me. I can still recall how frightening it was to go to court, and how dedicated and helpful our lawyer was. The experience made me realise that the legal system, and getting access to justice, can be a complicated and daunting experience.
When I graduated from university I worked for two years as a Judge's Associate in the Supreme Courts of Queensland and Victoria. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the courts, but was unsure about the direction that I wanted to take my career in. I was always very passionate about matters in the public interest and considered going to work for a community legal centre. However, I decided to take a year off and went backpacking with my husband overseas. This gave me some much-needed time to consider my options and when I returned I knew that I wanted to work in a dynamic, challenging environment with the best lawyers in Australia, so that I could build my skills and develop as a young lawyer.
After a time I secured my dream job as a lawyer in the Public Sector group and as one of the pro bono co-ordinators in the Brisbane office. I work closely with a variety of government departments on challenging projects, go on secondments to Federal and State government departments, work on several commissions of inquiry, run my own cases, and appear in hearings in the Federal Circuit Court and Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
As a part-time pro bono co-ordinator, I've also been able to incorporate helping people into my normal work day. Not only do I get to undertake interesting case work and see first-hand the positive impact that legal assistance can have on someone's life, but I also get to volunteer with a number of organisations that give back to the community. I have found this work to be extremely rewarding.
My favourite experience so far has been taking part in the Red Cross Northern Territory Remote Community Holiday program, which took me to a remote Indigenous community in the Tiwi Islands during school holidays. We cooked meals for the children and organised activities, including circus training, face painting, softball and even mud crab hunting. I was able to learn about the local culture and help the community by giving the children an opportunity to develop new skills ‒ and even learnt some myself.
Pro bono work is a fundamental aspect of working at Clayton Utz and I really enjoy encouraging others to get involved in the important work that we do. I'm very proud to be part of an organisation that gives people who could not otherwise afford a lawyer the ability to have a voice and pursue their legal rights.
Working at Clayton Utz has truly allowed me to stay true to my direction.