Student wins prestigious reconciliation scholarship

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Eighteen-year-old Cairns law student Mikaela French has been awarded the John Koowarta Reconciliation Law Scholarship for 2016.

The scholarship is the only national scholarship dedicated the helping Indigenous students in becoming lawyers.

French, who is passionate about providing access to justice in rural and regional communities, wants to open up her own firm one day.
“[It means I’ll] be a good role model to other students,” she told Australasian Lawyer.

“There [are] not many indigenous people in the legal sector and it’s so important to have that connection with those people.”

Law Council of Australia president Stuart Clark AM presented the scholarship in Sydney last week.  He said she had risen above a highly competitive field to be selected.

“Mikaela’s story, at this very early stage, is already one of remarkable clarity of purpose,” he said.

Receiving the prestigious award, she said, connects her with previous recipients – valuable connections as an external student where making friends and meeting people in the legal industry is hard.

“Because indigenous people are so underrepresented in the legal system and I think having people who have been so successful in the industry is very important

Living in Cairns, French needs to travel between Cairns and Brisbane in order to sit exams and complete assessments.  She said the money will help her will assist her in her studies for that reason.

The scholarship means that French will now be able to relocate to Brisbane where there’ll be opportunities for her to begin her legal career by applying for clerkships.