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Why Alicia wants to become one the first Indigenous barristers in Queensland

 

alicia1

My name is Alicia Smyth and I am a proud Torres Strait Islander woman from Badu Island. I have recently been awarded the Joshua Creamer and Kara Cook Excellence in Law Award, which aims to support the next generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in law. I am currently in my fourth year studying a dual degree in a Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Government and International Relations at Griffith University.

Why I want to become a barrister  

I have always been interested in human rights and empowering the rights of Indigenous people and minority groups. I always knew that I wanted to do this through using the legal system but I was not always sure of the exact pathway. Recently, I started researching into the work that barristers do, specifically barristers that specialise in class actions. I was so inspired by the meaningful work that they do and was particularly inspired by the career that Joshua Creamer has established.

I am currently wanting to pursue a career as a class actions barrister so that I can make a tangible difference in the lives of Indigenous people and minority groups.

My long-term goal is to become an international human rights lawyer and advocate for the rights of minorities globally.

What the scholarship means to me

 This scholarship is so important to me as there is very little Indigenous female representation across the legal profession.

There are only two First Nations women at the bar in Queensland. This is despite there being 1164 barristers in the State and 254 of them being women.

Across Australia, there are only two First Nations Judges, Judge Matthew Myers AM (Federal Circuit Court) and Judge Nathan Jarro (District Court of Queensland) and there are no First Nations female Judges.

It is a huge honour to be selected, but it is a greater honour to know that I will be a part of increasing representation of First Nations women within the legal system. This scholarship is also extremely valuable to me due to the significant mentoring and networking opportunities it presents. In the legal industry, connections are very important and to get a head start on making those connections will set me up for an impactful career. I am so grateful to Joshua Creamer and Kara Cook for their genuine desire to want to help myself, and other First Nations women in the legal profession succeed.

alicia

My advice to other students

My advice to students who are wanting to follow a similar path is to seek out opportunities and to find people who will help support your journey.

Applying for scholarships, attending university networking events and partaking in internships will pay off in the long run.

If you don’t know where to start, reach out to your university, your lecturers or people in the community who inspire you.

Connections are so important, and people are more than willing to help you out on your journey. Overall, I personally believe that working on something that your passionate about is the most important thing, so find what your passion is and then find people with similar passions and work hard at always pursuing that.

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