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Social Change Lawyers; Fiona McLeod SC speech

On the 8th of March of this year, I published a blog concerning the choices we make during our career, and that a rewarding career in the law only comes from pursuing broader objectives. In June of this year, the National Access to Justice and Pro Bono Conference was held in Sydney, at which time a number of prominent solicitors and barristers spoke on the topic of ‘Disruptive and dynamic lawyers: the gatekeepers of justice’. These sorts of lawyers are commonly known as ‘social change lawyers’; they seek to push the boundaries of current law and policy in the pursuit of justice.

Fiona McLeod SC, President of the Australian Bar Association and Treasurer at the Law Council of Australia gave a particularly inspiring speech on the topic. See this link for a media article of it. Ms McLeod argued that it is imperative that lawyers work to expose the injustices occurring on our doorstep in Australia, and that lawyers have a duty to ‘be creative about how we solve problems using laws that exist, using processes that exist and exploring the edges of those.’

You may, in your career, encounter an individual who has been wronged where the expected outcome in the situation seems absurd. It is at that point that you should put yourself ‘out there’, ‘think outside the box’ and ‘make visible what is otherwise invisible’, as Ms McLeod phrased it.

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