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.