Rising number of Indigenous legal students is encouraging

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Though Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students are still under-represented among law graduates, the Law Council of Australia says the numbers are on the rise.

Duncan McConnel, president of the Law Council of Australia, said recent results have been encouraging when he awarded the 2015 John Koowarta Reconciliation Law Scholarships last week.

“The Law Council is committed to increased participation in the legal profession by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and some of the recent signs have been encouraging,” McConnel said in a speech at the ceremony.  “While Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students are still under-represented among law graduates, there is clear evidence that the number of Indigenous students enrolling in legal study is increasing from year to year.”

McConnel said the increase in programs run by both law firms and associations are successfully promoting employment opportunities.
“This is translating into jobs for law graduates, which is in no small part due to concerted programs run by Law Societies and Bar Associations around the country, to assist indigenous law graduates into internships, clerkships and graduate programs,” he said.

The Law Council awarded this year’s scholarships to Allison Boland and Tamara Kenny, who are both passionate about social justice and are inspirational leaders within the indigenous community.

“By studying law, I am sending a positive message to the young people in my community that gaining higher level qualifications will provide them with life changes and opportunities that are made possible by further education,” said Boland.
  • Steve Cochrane on 18/04/2015 9:04:24 AM

    Its great that the enrollment numbers are up, however the dropout rate is still a matter to be dealt with. University is an unknown place to Aboriginal people and the non-Aboriginal students have often never met or even considered the Aboriginal situation. Also why is it always for "young people"? I did law at 42, much older than the vast majority of those I studied with and lived through so many of the events that sculptured who we are today. Unlike many of my fellow students, I marched for the referendum, I met Charlie Perkins and Eddie Mabo and I faced racism when it was acceptable, now I face ageism from my own? Should me age be to my detriment? Life experience is a basis for good law knowledge and equitable law practice.

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