Most people who know me, know that I’m normally quite a private person. So, I thought I’d share a little about me and my journey to becoming a family lawyer.
I’ve wanted to be a lawyer for as long as I can remember, so much so that I don’t really remember ever wanting to be anything else! My earliest memories of wanting to be lawyer date back to when I was in primary school but I can’t remember what triggered the idea in the first place. I just remember telling everyone I was going to be a lawyer.
At the time, I did not have any real law inspirations. My only exposure to law would have been TV shows like ‘Matlock’ and ‘Law & Order’ – my dad was a bit of a fan! I saw the courtroom scenes in these show as a ‘performance’ and as a child grouping up in the performing arts world, I loved performing.
All I really knew about being lawyer was that I’d get to talk in court a lot and argue – both strengths of mine at the time. I was always in trouble for talking too much or ‘getting on my high horse’ about something.
As someone who regularly wore dresses and high heels to preschool, the childhood dream of becoming a lawyer was probably nothing more than the idea of getting to wear a fancy dress and stilettos every day.
Where it all began!
My great uncle took me to a court sitting during my school holidays when I was in primary school. Most kids were off to Dreamworld or the movies on their holidays. Not me. My holiday adventures took me into Brisbane city to the Court. My uncle thought I should see what ‘law land’ was like given how much I talked about being a lawyer.
I remember having no idea about what was going on. I couldn’t even tell you what the matter was about! All I remember is seeing a man in a dark suit standing and talking a lot, then me turning to my uncle and saying “I’m going to do that one day”.
Looking back, a school kid being in a courtroom was probably not the greatest idea but it was that experience which cemented the idea of a career in law for me. I was hooked.
Then came the hard work
No one took me seriously. I was more interested in extracurricular activities such as music and dancing. My parents thought I was attracted to the idea of the courtroom ‘performance’ (they were probably right). I’m sure they assumed I’d end up working in fashion or the dance world. But from that day in the courtroom, I set a goal for myself and from then on my focus was on one thing – to become a lawyer.
Many of us have childhood dreams which end up being just that, dreams. Life takes us in different directions and those childhood dreams become distant memories. I was a very determined (and stubborn) child. So once I had the idea in my head, that was it – I was going to be a lawyer. I didn’t have a ‘Plan B’.
I was good at school but I had to work hard. I was better with numbers than words. I was definitely not a bookworm. In fact, I hated reading and through high school, I thought that this might make law school challenging.
All of my work experience placements were with law firms or barristers. I didn’t try any other careers during work experience because what was the point? I wasn’t going to do anything else. Everything I did through school was focused towards a career in law. I still had no idea why a career in law was for me, but it just was.
So, Off I trot to Law School
Fast forward a few years and I’m in law school. I decided to study a dial degree of Commerce and Law just in case law wasn’t for me after all. Everyone around had been questioning my career path – ‘Do you want to do all that study? You hate reading.’ ‘How would you feel about representing criminals?’ If anything, this only made me more determined.
I didn’t get to choose any elective subjects until about my 4th year of university. The first few years were a bit of a slog. Study was a chore. I still wasn’t a fan of reading and there was endless reading! Many of the subjects I studied were of little interest to me. I found the compulsory subjects like Contracts or Constitutional Law boring and started thinking “is this for me?” Where was the fun from back in the courtroom when I was school kid?
I started working as an office junior at a law firm in my 3rd year of law school. This job came at the perfect time as I was starting to doubt my career path. My eyes were opened to what ‘law land’ was about. Family law was one of the practice areas at the firm. As a child of an intact marriage, this was my first exposure to family law. I was immediately drawn to its realness. The more I saw and the more questions I asked, the more intrigued with family law I became. I started to realise that law in real world isn’t just about long contracts or dissecting articles on jurisprudence. It was about so much more. Law is also about humans and finding ways to help them through their problems. From then on, I knew I wanted to work in an area of law where I could help people.
DREAMS BECOME REALITY
As a ‘baby’ lawyer, I worked across all areas of law. I was fortunate enough to have some amazing experiences very early in my career such as instructing on criminal law and personal injuries trials. While the thrill of being in court was amazing, it just wasn’t the same as family law.
I then changed jobs a few months after my admission and started practicing solely in family law. I haven’t looked back.
I still have no idea why primary school girl Alison wanted to be a lawyer but I’m glad she did! What I do know is that I love my job. After being in the game for almost 10 years, I couldn’t think of anything I rather be doing. What I enjoy most about being a family lawyer is being able to assist clients through difficult times in their lives.
If you need assistance during separation or divorce please contact our office to book your free 15 minute consult or book online HERE.
Alison is a Collaborative Family Lawyer here at Brisbane Family Law Centre. As a family lawyer, Alison helps families through separation, with a focus on finding out of court resolutions.
Alison has practiced exclusively in family law since her admission in 2009 and in this time, has helped many families through separation. With a dual degree in Commerce and Laws, Alison has a keen interest in complex property settlements. Alison also has considerable experience in assisting client with parenting, child protection and domestic violence issues.
Away from law, Alison has a passion for ballroom dancing, fashion (well, online shopping), food and the outdoors.