Career opportunities for indigenous students

Friday, 4 April 2008

A Law Career Day for indigenous students will be held in Port Augusta today in a bid to improve the numbers of indigenous lawyers practicing in South Australia.

President of the Law Society of South Australia Grant Feary says that in 2007, no new indigenous law students started studying law.

"Each year, less than 10 indigenous students enrol in law and there are only eight graduated indigenous lawyers in SA. As a percentage of graduates, indigenous lawyers make up 0.002%," Mr Feary says.

"Concern about fluctuating law enrolments has resulted in a two-day forum to identify possible causes and explore opportunities to attract indigenous students. The Career Day is directed to students, teachers, career counselors and social workers," he says.

Final year indigenous student Nicole Bichard from the University of Adelaide's Law School says she hopes to be a role model for future law students.

"I chose law because it enables me to understand my legal rights, the legal rights of my family and friends and gives me the ability to stand on my own two feet. My law degree will put me in good stead for a successful career and a bright future," Nicole says.

Supreme Court Judge and the Chair of the Law Society's Indigenous Law Student Mentoring Program Committee, The Hon. Justice John Sulan, encouraged students to consider a career in law and said that support was available to help students succeed with their studies.

"We want as many indigenous students as possible to access education and obtain jobs in the areas they want. Law provides opportunities to communicate with all kinds of people and solve all kinds of legal issues. It is a discipline that can also open doors to many other fields of work," Justice Sulan says.

"Partnerships between schools, universities, employers and the State Government have been formed and support networks established to ensure South Australia gets the indigenous lawyers it needs," he says.

The Indigenous Law Student Forum is a joint initiative of the Law Society of South Australia - which runs an Indigenous Law Student Mentoring Program - the State Government, the University of Adelaide and Flinders University, and is sponsored by BHP Billiton, Finlaysons, the Government of South Australia, Corporate Health Group and the University of Adelaide.

The event will include a donation of bicycles to the Mimili Anangu and Indulkana Anangu Schools in the APY Lands.


Contact Details

Dr Matthew Stubbs
Senior Lecturer
School of Law
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 3530

Mr David Ellis
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762