Recently I wrote a piece for the Law Institute Journal about ways lawyers were developing the practice area of not-for-profit law. So many great ways and places lawyers were applying their skills to assisting the NFP sector. Most inspiring of all was Luke Geary - the founder of Salvo's Legal. Unafraid, unassuming and a true innovator who has clearly thought seriously about how to 'do' the law in a way that is consistent with his moral compass. The piece published in the LIJ this month. Please read it - online or hardcopy here.
How to effect real change in an imperfect world? Some champion human rights, one case and cause at a time; some shine lights on wrongs, the whistle-blowers, investigators and journalists. Some, like Professor John Tobin, share knowledge, inspire and create the next generation of change agents.
How impressive is Gillian Triggs – President of Australia’s Human Rights Commission? She inspired another reallyinterestingperson (Fiona McLeod SC) to take up a legal career. Triggs is promising to be an antidote to the Orwellian Immigration Minister. She is a voice of reason, measure, logical and calm morality and humanity. But more than that, she’s one hell of an experienced lawyer – “a woman of formidable intellect whose unlikely career and personal tribulations have honed an instinct for human suffering and the rights of the neglected.” Invest some time to read this piece by Tim Elliot “Meet Gillian Triggs, the woman taking on Immigration Minister Scott Morrison” re-published in The Age on-line today.
Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote “…to know even one life has breathed easier, because you have lived. This is to have succeeded”. Getting into law or medicine at uni has long been a badge of success - but for some of those chosen few, it never was, and it never will be. Meet four law graduates who divert considerable energy in their own time to the greater good - helping young people have a voice & an education, animal welfare and activism & LGBTI communities. That old Transcendentalist would approve.
At the end of June, a former “fairly bolshy” student activist will take up a position mostly formerly held by military men at the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva. She will be the first Australian, and the first woman, to hold the position in the organisation’s 150-year history.She was the inspiration of one of Australia’s biggest hit songs of the early 90’s by a band that’s just completed a 25th anniversary tour.
A few weeks ago Dr Rodney Syme confessed on radio he supplied a drug to a dying man - specifically the one that would allow the dying man to hasten his own death. The man, Steve Guest, died at his home two weeks later (in 2005). This is one of those issues that tears people apart - but listening to Dr Syme, I heard an honest and careful man who struggled under the burden of two sets of rules - those of his conscience and the black letter variety. He could not longer keep his struggle to himself - and was prepared to deal with the consequences.
Some dreamy kids, who spend hours with their nose in books and happily absorbed in their own imaginary worlds grow up a little and explore the world of theatrical performance and harbor dreams of being a great actor. Then sometimes they dump that idea and decide to study law, fight human trafficking and slavery in their spare time, do stints in leadership positions in the legal world, and then get a gong on the Victorian Women’s Honour Roll.