It is our season finale! Can you believe? Thank you for joining us once again. We were so excited to have the opportunity to speak with the self-professed iced latte afficionado and fantastic human, Trent Wallace. Trent is a Wongaibon person raised on Darkinjung Country, and has a background working in the community legal sector, government and education. Combining both legal and First Nations lived experience, Trent drives First Nations initiatives across the firm and provides thought leadership and education around cultural safety and awareness. Working across the social justice sector and corporate Australia, Trent seeks to embed key cultural considerations to create meaningful change for First Nations Peoples. In this work, Trent collaborates with a wide variety of clients to develop and execute First Nations initiatives. Trent offers cultural awareness education and advice on how to work effectively with clients and also collaborates with People & Culture on programmes of attraction and retention to First Nations employees. As a lawyer, Trent is able to identify and mitigate risks to reputation through building a strong foundation of strategies to support cultural awareness. Trent is Co-Chair of the Legal Profession Reconciliation Network and is on the Executive Committee of Just Reinvest NSW. In addition to these roles, Trent is also a Director of Metro Arts (QLD), Editorial Board Member for LexisNexis, Advisor to the Starlight Children's Foundation, Advisor to the Board of ActionAid Australia and is a lecturer in law and First Nations Peoples.
Dec 7, 2023
1 hr 1 min
In this episode, we sit down with the indelible Rachel G. Barnard - our first non-lawyer guest, but a beautiful human with a heart for justice and equity. Rachel is a speaker and facilitator who has designed 100s of sessions for 1,000s of people to step into their greatness and contribute powerfully to the world around them. As the founder of Young New Yorkers (YNY) she created the first arts-based Alternative-To-Incarceration program in NYC and assisted over 1,400 young people to exit the criminal legal system without an adult criminal record. In this role she partnered with—and created programs for—multiple criminal legal agencies including the Center of Court Innovation, Kings County DA's Office, NYC Department of Probation, and the New York Police Department. Over the decade Rachel led YNY she took it from a one-off project, to building it to be a go-to restorative sentencing option in NYC with a $1 million annual budget. Rachel has been acknowledged in the media and received awards and fellowships. She holds a Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University. Digressions in this episode include the role of public art as a dialogue, ego, Rachel's favourite kind of jokes, and many insights into the power of partnership and collaboration with diverse communities to make social justice a reality. We are so grateful for the opportunity to meet with Rachel and to have the opportunity to hear from her practice wisdom and heart.
Nov 30, 2023
1 hr 24 min
In this episode, we meet with emerging leader, and lawyer, Elizabeth Aisi (Liz). Liz was admitted as a lawyer in December 2022 after completing her Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts at the University of Queensland. In this episode, she shares about how she has worked towards building a career focussed on human rights. She was a co-founder of the University of Queensland's Human Rights Case Law Project, a resource that collates 'case notes' for case law that mention Queensland's Human Rights Act. She has then paved a career for herself at Caxton Legal Centre, initially as a paralegal within Caxton's Bail Service, and later the family law service, to eventually being promoted to a solicitor within Caxton's Seniors Legal and Support Service. Digressions in this episode include Liz's impersonation of a line from her favourite movie, Liz's open-mindedness framework, what it was like growing up in New York, and the impact of "micro-aggressions". With nearly one year post admission experience under her belt, the sky is the limit for Liz, and we think she is a lawyer to keep an eye on! We definitely left this meeting feeling energised, and we know you will too!
Nov 23, 2023
1 hr 4 min
We laugh out loud and get deep with Hsuan An (Shannon) Chen, a criminal lawyer based in Brisbane. She has been in practice for nine years and in that time has worked in private practice, at Legal Aid Queensland and is presently a director of a boutique law firm, Hodgson Lawyers. Shannon has worked predominately in criminal law and has experience working on serious crimes such as murder, grievous bodily harm, and serious sex offenses. As a solicitor advocate who appears in court almost daily, Shannon considers herself to offer and be something different from who you may consider typically seen advocating in court. She is Asian, queer, and may come across as non-binary but identifies as a female. These qualities she believes can be a blessing and a curse. She was born and raised in Taiwan before moving to Australia with her mother when she turned 18 to study at the University of Queensland. Coming into law, Shannon has encountered lawyers and mentors who have inspired her and helped shape who she is as a lawyer. She is a client-oriented lawyer and does not shy away from having frank and honest conversation with her clients. She believes this is important to determine the best strategy for her clients. Shannon was vulnerable and spoke candidly with us about many things. Some highlights for us were hearing about her struggles adjusting to the English language, her early exposure to seeing how people of diverse backgrounds shared space at her grandpa's shop, being misgendered in court, and having the courage to be who you are as a form of empowering others, and being the change you want to see.
Nov 16, 2023
1 hr 16 min
In this episode, we sit down with Daniel Ajak. Daniel believes in using his law degree to impact positive change in society, be it in representing his clients or mentoring and creating opportunities for aspiring law students in his community and beyond. Daniel is a criminal lawyer based in Melbourne. He founded his firm Ajak & Associates which now boasts offices in Melbourne and now in Adelaide with dreams to expand nationally. After graduating from Flinders university with a Bachelor of Laws, Daniel was admitted as a solicitor and a day later began working as a lawyer at Thomson Geer in Adelaide. However, in 2017 after seeing regular media coverage on African youth crime in Melbourne, he felt called to move to Victoria to be a role model for the younger people in his South Sudanese community. He has largely worked as a criminal lawyer working with Papa Hughes Lawyers, Victoria Legal Aid, Salvos Legal before becoming a Director at Ajak, Wolan and Tut Lawyers which later became Ajak & Associates. He credits one of his greatest achievements to be the co-founding of the African Australian Legal Network (AALN). The AALN seeks to is creating opportunities for aspiring law students and graduates from his community to get a foot in the door. The AALN was first convened in July 2018, and is now an incorporated association, the AALN is focused on the skills development, recruitment and retention of people of African descent in the Australian legal community. The group has enjoyed success and support from oragnisations such as Victoria Legal Aid and the Office of the General Counsel, Department of Premier and Cabinet (Victoria), Castan Chambers and the Leo Cussen Centre for Law to name a few. Daniel was awarded a 2020 Early Career Alumni Award by Flinders University for his significant contribution to the African-Australian community in Australia, including the development of professional networks and advocacy for African-Australian legal students.
Nov 9, 2023
1 hr 7 min
In this episode, we sit down with Rose Inglis. Eight years ago, Rose left her "sensible" solicitor job and moved to London with her best friend, one suitcase, and a legal career she doubted she was cut out for. Almost five years later, she returned to Australia with an LLM from UCL, a husband, a global friendship network – and a whole new career. In 2021, she founded Rose Tinted Law, a consultancy where she curates ‘alternative’ professional development content and sessions for confused, doubtful, jaded (or just plain curious) early-career legal professionals. Her aim is to inspire confidence and purpose in the next generation of legal leaders.If you’re an early career legal professional asking yourself ‘what next?’ or 'what's my why?' then Rose is someone you can turn to for unlocking your potential. As a lawyer, Rose has worked in litigation and dispute resolution across multiple jurisdictions and has held multiple roles in legal education, where she created leadership and professional development programs for early career legal professionals. Her work has been recognised as innovative and trailblazing by the legal profession. The program, “Physically different: Professionally close - How to stay connected in a virtual working world” led the Law Institute of Victoria Young Lawyers to be awarded Young Lawyer Organisation of the Year by the Law Council of Australia in 2020. In 2021, she was shortlisted as a Thought Leader of the Year finalist at The Australian Women in Law Awards in 2021. Digressions in this episode include a random connection to Sarah Davidson of 'Spoonful of Sarah' fame and Rose gets really real about her mental health journey so if you're on your own healing journey at the moment and have limited bandwidth to hear about that, then please consider this our trigger warning for you or gentle note to take care. As a result of her experiences, Rose is empathetic and compassionate disruptor.
Nov 2, 2023
1 hr 16 min
In this episode, we sit down with the effervescent and fabulous, Sheetal Deo (she/her). She is passionate about leveraging platforms and privilege to connect ideas, people, and opportunities that amplify and empower underrepresented experiences. Sheetal is a lawyer by qualification and an advocate by choice. She is passionate about access to education and legal services. She occupies several roles which she uses to facilitate her passions and drive social impact. Sheetal has a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy and political science from the University of the Fraser Valley (Canada), and a Juris Doctor, Master of Laws and Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice from Bond University (Australia). Sheetal incorporates her political and social science training in her advocacy forequity & accessibility within the legal profession and the community it serves.Sheetal is the Principal and Founder of Shakti Legal Solutions; an innovative, award winning low-bono law firm designed specifically to improve access to legal assistance for everyday people through a unique, ‘pay what you can’ model. Outside of her legal practice, Sheetal runs a diversity and inclusion consultancy, is the Senior Project Manager for the RISE Project at the Diversity Council of Australia, an adjunct lecturer with the College of Law, and volunteers her time to various not-for-profit organisations and boards including the Centre of Legal Innovation’s Emerging Leaders Advisory Board and the Queensland Law Society where she is the first culturally and racially marginalised (CARM) woman elected to serve on its board in its 150-year history. Digressions include her Indian heritage migration story to Fiji, having a life mission statement and Olly wants to steal a quokka. This episode is a goldie!
Oct 26, 2023
1 hr 27 min
In this episode, we meet with the insightful and wonderful, Danielle Snell, an award-winning litigator and co-founder of Elit Lawyers by McGirr & Snell. Launching her own firm whilst seven months pregnant, Danielle is driven to support her team to also embrace the multiple roles they hold in their lives. Through creating and successfully implementing bespoke and future focussed IT solutions, Danielle empowers her diverse team to continue to provide outstanding client service whilst balancing personal and professional commitments. Danielle’s firm challenges the traditional law firm model in order to provide a transparent and authentic legal service to clients. Danielle believes that people involved in litigation should be at the centre of solutions and it’s about the journey for them during the litigation process rather than only the outcome. It is for that reason that Danielle’s firm has superior efficiency in e-litigation and offers clients a web-enabled client portal to allow them to directly connect with their litigation file 24/7. Danielle’s trailblazing leadership initiatives were recognised at the 2023 Australian Law Awards where she was named “Managing Partner of the Year”. At the same awards in 2022, Elit Lawyers was awarded “Boutique Law Firm of the Year”. As of the time of this podcast, Danielle is a finalist in the Women in Law Awards under the category “Executive of the Year” - congratulations, Danielle! Our conversation touches on many things, including a sweet anecdote about her family's pilgrimage to her grandmother's home in Sicily, how award ceremonies can promote diversity, the Law Institute of Victoria's Charter for the Advancement of Women, and her take on growing up in the law.
Oct 12, 2023
1 hr 9 min
We meet with, Jahan Kalantar, a Sydney-based lawyer, university lecturer, and entrepreneur who describes himself as a ‘little guy lawyer’. He attributes his human rights leanings to his proud Persian heritage, a dislike of bullies and a genuine belief that one person can make a difference. Leaving a successful career in finance in order to pursue law, he was admitted to the NSW Bar at the age of 25 before establishing the firm of Executive Law Group where as the managing partner he oversees some of Australia’s most complex criminal, family and commercial matters. He has been retained both domestically and internationally by individuals and organisations when everything is on the line. His work in advocacy, evidence, criminal law and human rights as well as his subject matter expertise have seen him featured frequently on television and in media and have helped him grow his social media following to over 363,000 followers on TikTok and a highly regarded expert who is often quoted in professional publications. He was invited to speak on the Tedx main stage in 2018 and has since When not in practice, Jahan is a sought after speaker and workshop facilitator who brings his practical skills from the courtroom to help people take their skills to the next level. He frequently speaks to groups of entrepreneurs, high performers, students and the community about storytelling, community building, mental health and the power of communication. Jahan’s keynote work focuses primarily on the skills and expertise developed while working in the law and how to tailor your communication for the audience. His work was recognised by TedX Sydney who invited him to speak on the main stage and his talk has been viewed over 386k times. Digressions in this episode include a discussion about Jahan's coming to terms with his neurodivergence, his journey into social media and some really great life advice. You can see all of Jahan’s work and learn more about him at www.jahankalantar.com.
Oct 5, 2023
1 hr 9 min
Our guest this week, Theresa Jennings, began her legal career as a student volunteer at Cancer Council Queensland, and after Admission, she was offered a role within the Legal Team. Theresa has been a member of the Legal Team since 2016 and provides advice broadly across the organisation including advice on contracts, intellectual property, deceased estates, and privacy compliance. She is a founding member of the QLS Diverse Abilities Network, which is a network that champions equal opportunity and inclusion for people with disabilities within the legal profession and wider community. She discusses an Accessibility Guide for workplaces developed by this network. Theresa has been a panellist speaker at events advocating for inclusivity of diverse abilities within the legal profession, including International Day for People with Disability and Global Accessibility Awareness Day. She has been invited to give presentations for LegalWise Seminars and to University students on the topic of diversity. In 2020 she contributed to the QLS submission to the Joint Standing Committee on the National Disabilities Insurance Scheme about her experiences with applying for NDIS funding and the lack of reasonable accommodations available to people with hearing impairments. Theresa is a manager and mentor to law students, and she is proud to encourage future lawyers to be understanding and open-minded about working with people with disabilities. In this episode, we canvass what allyship looks like to her, remember that disability is an important form of diversity, and a Proctor article, “Motherhood, disability and career” that she co-authored. Digressions include her adoration of author and disability advocate, Helen Keller, a funny but impressive MacGyver-esque moment and her delight making frozen delights.
Sep 28, 2023
1 hr 5 min