I studied at La Trobe University in Bundoora from 2006 to 2012 and undertook a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts double degree. I was attracted to the Leo Cussen On-site Practical Legal Training program as I felt it would be a good transition from full-time study into full-time legal work. The course exceeded my expectations on almost every level – the close-knit friendships that were formed, the support and leadership from my mentor Michael Kane and other staff was excellent and really bolstered my confidence stepping out onto the open job market and into the workforce.
I particularly enjoyed the civil litigation, criminal law, administrative law and advocacy components of the course. As a participant in the advocacy program I received the Lexis Nexis prize for outstanding advocacy which was a surprise and a real confidence booster when it came to doing my first Mentions and Pleas in the Local Court in New South Wales.
I completed my placement at the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service where I continued to volunteer up until securing my present role.
I now work for Walker Legal and Conveyancing in Taree, New South Wales in the Manning Valley which has a population of about 47,000 people. I live in Port Macquarie and commute to the office, where I work with two other practitioners, my Principal John Walker and Mishi Yarovy, an accredited specialist in Family Law.
I am privileged to work with experienced members of the legal profession in New South Wales who are training me in the areas of criminal law, family law, civil litigation and compensation matters.
I am undertaking training to become a migration agent this year and primarily practise in criminal law, family law and civil litigation.
What I enjoy most about being a lawyer is the unique capacity we have as professionals to help people through times of crisis in their lives and to support them through the legal system, and to advocate for them in Court.
To young aspiring lawyers, I would encourage you to look beyond the confines of city and suburban firms and consider pursuing rural and regional opportunities – the quality of life in such areas is of a very high standard and the level of training and opportunity for young solicitors is extremely good. Working in a smaller regional practice requires young lawyers to hit the ground running and shoulder a lot of responsibility for a variety of matters. Leo Cussen prepared me well to handle this level of involvement and responsibility. In my first year of practice I worked on several Supreme Court matters, District Court sentence and appeal matters and Local Court hearings.
Leo Cussen was an essential part of getting me to where I am now, and without that practical legal training I would not have embarked as confidently into the profession. I continue to remain in touch with colleagues and friends from the course and look back on my time there fondly.