Law Week 2017 Justice Journeys

Xan

Spending the day with DJAG’s Director-General highlighted there’s more to law and justice than the courtroom.

With a long held desire to pursue a career in public service or the law, Xan got to combine these two areas of interest by spending a day with the Director-General of the Department of Justice and Attorney-General, Mr David Mackie.

Ever since I can remember it’s been my dream to one day have a career in either law or politics. After my experience shadowing Director-General (DG) David Mackie, that dream has only been strengthened. I can honestly say that I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I woke up the morning of my Journey. As a high school student, my knowledge of the inner workings of the justice system in Queensland was expectedly limited and to say that this day blew my mind is not an understatement.

On arrival at 1 William Street.On arrival at 1 William Street.

I was nervous on my way to 1 William Street, but as soon as I met my placement manager and the department’s photographer those nerves began to ease. After going through security, we headed up to meet the DG and almost instantly I felt at ease. Mr Mackie is nothing like I’d expected, he’s down-to-earth, funny and most importantly really friendly.

Given some intense political happenings in the days before my placement we went to Parliament House for Attorney-General (AG) Yvette D’Ath’s press conference. I have never felt so inspired in my life. The AG is a graceful, funny, incredibly intelligent woman, and watching her handle herself in front of the media in the way she did was so empowering—the respect held for her was incredible.

David Mackie, Xan and Judge Rinaudo.David Mackie, Xan and Judge Rinaudo.

Following the press conference, I attended a meeting with Chief Magistrate Rinaudo in which the amount of behind the scenes work and strategy within the legal sector really became clear to me. People in positions like the DG’s and Judge Rinaudo’s have so much to deal with—their days constantly mutate, with some issues lingering for months and some appearing seemingly from nowhere.

I was incredibly fortunate to meet a director in Strategic Policy, Carolyn McAnally. I spent 30 minutes chatting with this incredible lawyer and policy maker about her career and her journey through the legal sector. She gave me tips and advice for my future, my other extra-curricular endeavours and my areas of interest in the realm of law and policy making. Without the opportunity that Justice Journeys brings I would never have had the opportunity to meet someone who inspired me so much.

Following the meetings, I had the privilege of having lunch with both the AG and DG (along with Princess, the student who was shadowing the AG for the day). We talked all things law, policy, and justice. It was so special to be able to talk to these incredible public servants. I felt so lucky to be able to take in some of the wealth of knowledge they both have—whether it be about high school, university or making a name for yourself—and building a career from the ground up.

The Honourable Yvette D'Ath, student Princess, Chief Justice Catherine Holmes, student Xan and David Mackie.The Honourable Yvette D'Ath, student Princess, Chief Justice Catherine Holmes, student Xan and David Mackie.

The last stop on my Journey was a walk through the Supreme and District Courts, where I was lucky enough to meet the Honourable Catherine Holmes, Chief Justice of Queensland.

I met so many intelligent people who really love their job and what they’re working for. Nothing is more moving than seeing both a boss who loves their department and really tries to take care of his workers, and the workers themselves who, despite sometimes enormous workloads, simply love what they do.

Overall, the opportunity I had really did change my whole outlook. I know now how much more there is to law and justice than just the courtroom. I’m so grateful for the chance I was given and I can’t wait to one day start my professional Justice Journey.