Indigenous lawyers

For over a decade, the Bar Association has worked to improve the educational path for Aboriginal law students studying at NSW universities and to assist in providing career development opportunities and career prospects for Aboriginal lawyers through the Indigenous Barristers Trust The Mum Shirl Fund. Our primary goal is to increase the number of Aboriginal barristers practising at the New South Wales Bar. 

Indigenous Barristers' Trust - The Mum Shirl Fund 

You may choose to be mentored by a barrister, a judge or both.The New South Wales Bar Association is deeply concerned about the under-representation of Indigenous lawyers practising at the NSW Bar and seeks a legal profession in NSW that demonstrates equality and an absence of any discrimination and reflects the cultural and racial diversity of the general NSW community.

A special trust fund was established in 2001 to which members of the Bar Association make generous donations to the trust so it can meet the needs of Indigenous law students, graduates and barristers. The Indigenous Barristers’ Trust The Mum Shirl Fund is dedicated to providing relief from poverty, suffering, helplessness, misfortune or other disability of Indigenous law students and lawyers for whom such disadvantages, which involve financial necessity, impede the pursuit of a career as a barrister in New South Wales. Funding is available for:

  • Meeting immediate living expenses of Indigenous students undertaking legal or related education, for whom becoming a barrister in New South Wales is a primary career objective, and
  • Avoiding personal or financial hardship for Indigenous lawyer attending the NSW Bar Readers program or during the first five years of practice at the NSW Bar.

The range of support available is outlined here. An application form for financial assistance is available here.

Donations to the Mum Shirl Fund 

The New South Wales Bar Association encourages you to donate to the Indigenous Barristers’ Trust, The Mum Shirl Fund (The Trust), which has received endorsement from the Australian Taxation Office as a deductible gift recipient. Contributions of $2 or more are allowable deductions for income tax purposes.

Mentoring for law students

The Bar Association First Nations Law Student mentoring scheme aims to equip First Nations law students from law schools across NSW with practical legal knowledge, networks and experience through mentoring. The scheme has two segments matching First Nations law students to be mentored by:

  • a NSW Barrister – being part of the life and work of a Barrister and the role of advocacy in the justice system, and/or
  • a Judge - which is a unique opportunity to provide students with practical insights into the work of a Judge, the effective administration of a Judge’s Chambers, and more generally the work of the court and judges.
  • You may choose to be mentored by a barrister, a judge or both.

If you are interested in participating in the mentoring program you can apply to be a mentee here and return it by email to reception@nswbar.asn.au.

If you are interested in participating in the mentoring program as a mentor you can apply here.

Employment

The employment scheme aims to identify part-time employment opportunities with a barrister, group of barristers or in chambers for Indigenous law students including:

  • For first, second and third year students – doing general administrative work, filing loose leaf services, etc.
  • For fourth year students and beyond – doing research and general administrative work.

If you are interested in employment opportunities please email Ting Lim at tlim@nswbar.asn.au 

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