Staff stories: Heidi Bradburn

My journey towards studying and practicing the law began with a false start following a very uninspiring work experience placement that I had at a small law firm when I was in Year 10 at High School. That placement taught me that being a solicitor involves filing and filling out forms. I had more creative aspirations so decided to pursue a BA (Mass Communications) degree rather than a law degree.

While completing that degree, I regularly performed as the singer with an indie-pop band on the Sydney live music pub scene which was flourishing at the time. Upon completion of the degree, I set off to explore the world on a working holiday visa that saw me working in various locations around Scotland in between travels over the course of 4 years. During that time, I also joined a few bands and performed at festivals and venues around Scotland and Ireland, including the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. My favourite venue at the Edinburgh Fringe, the Spiegeltent, was run by a team of Aussies and featured an amazing eclectic groups of bands and performers predominantly from Melbourne. Inspired by the Melbourne music scene, I moved to Melbourne myself and began performing with several groups there as well as at festivals around Australia and the Pacific.
Throughout my studies, work, and travel experiences, my understanding and appreciation for social and environmental justice causes had been steadily developing. Initially, I took action through song-writing and performing at rallies and fund-raisers before undertaking a Diploma in Environmental Management. As part of that Diploma, I studied aspects of environmental law and undertook a placement at the Environment Defenders Office (EDO), a community legal centre for environmental issues. I loved that the EDO not only provided legal advice to individuals and community groups but also conducted community workshops, produced public information resources, undertook research projects and contributed to public inquiries.

When my placement at the EDO finished, I was offered and accepted the position of Administrator there. Working at the EDO, I discovered that although lawyers do fill out plenty of forms and produce a massive amount of filing, they also undertake a range of other interesting and challenging tasks, including research, analysis, drafting, client interviewing and much more. I was inspired to undertake a law degree after all!

During the course of studying my law degree part-time, I began working in the vocational education and training (VET) sector as an elearning project manager, consultant and mentor. This involved facilitating and delivering workshops and mentoring opportunities for trainers in the VET sector who were keen to modernise their training and increase their reach through the use of technology. Around this time I also met my partner, John, who likewise worked in the VET sector.

About half-way through my studies, John and I welcomed our first child into the world and we moved to beautiful Port Stephens. Two years later, our second child was born. In an effort to balance motherhood with work and study, I decreased my study load. As a result, it took far longer to complete my degree than I had ever imagined. There were certainly times when I was tempted to give it up but I am so pleased that I didn’t. I completed my law degree with honours and went on to complete a graduate diploma in legal practice prior to being admitted as a solicitor.

In an industry that is often criticised for its out-dated traditionalist approach to work-life balance, I have been fortunate throughout my career thus far to have been given the opportunity to work family-friendly hours, including here at the Law Office of Conrad Curry. Working primarily as a personal injury practitioner, I find it very rewarding to work each day toward helping individuals navigate complex legal systems in order to obtain the financial assistance they need in difficult times. In my role here at the Law Office of Conrad Curry, I am developing experience in assisting victims of medical negligence in obtaining fair compensation for the traumatic ordeals that they or their loved ones have suffered. I am particularly inspired by the potential for systemic change that can flow from such matters through impacts on hospital policies and professional best practice.

Staff stories: Jasmine Foster

Staff stories – Lauren Faulkner

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