Practising law in the NSW outback

FOR MATTHEW LYSTER, WORKING AS A COMMUNITY LAWYER IN THE NSW OUTBACK HAS BEEN HIS GREATEST CHALLENGE. BUT THE EDUCATION HE RECEIVED FROM THE JURIS DOCTOR AT SYDNEY LAW SCHOOL HAS GIVEN HIM THE RESILIENCE HE NEEDS.

Written by Matthew Lyster (BEcSocSc 2010, JD 2013) Solicitor, Far West Community Legal Centre, Broken Hill

Practising law in the NSW outback

The opportunity to study law was a lifelong ambition for me. Growing up in post-apartheid South Africa, as a young child I was acutely aware of social justice issues and the double-edged sword of the law – used as both a great tool to liberate, but also to oppress.

It was this early exposure to the power of the law which ignited my passion. My decision to undertake a Juris Doctor was guided by my interest in human rights and social justice.

Many of the career paths in this field (especially internationally) required a postgraduate qualification to be eligible for employment. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to complete my Juris Doctor at the University of Sydney.

The prestige of Sydney Law School is well established and for good reason. The facilities, courses, support and, most importantly, the lecturing staff are in my opinion unrivalled by any other domestic faculty.

Matthew Lyster

Being taught by experts has undoubtedly enhanced my learning experience. As a postgraduate student, I found it easy to engage with course materials in the structure of open lectures and discussion groups, where learning was very much a two-way conversation between students and lecturers.

The diversity of subject material, the high quality of work that is expected and the excellent foundational legal skills I gained from my Juris Doctor have equipped me to pursue a career in social justice.

Working as a community lawyer in the NSW outback is a challenging undertaking. From work in the local court, the Federal Court or dealing with vulnerable clients hundreds of kilometres from legal support, I have had to learn on my feet, be adaptive and resilient.

Overall, My ability to practise in the extremes of the outback comes directly from the quality legal education I received through my Juris Doctor.

(Matthew Lyster (BEcSocSc 2010, JD 2013))