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It’s a lawyer’s duty to do community advocacy

One solicitor and CEO of a charity discusses her many community advocacy roles, what motivates her, and how she fits it all in.

user iconJess Feyder 03 April 2023 Big Law
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Recently on the Protégé Podcast, host Jerome Doraisamy spoke with Taylah Spirovski, solicitor at HWL Ebsworth and chief executive of Voice of Influence Australia.

Ms Spirovski is involved in several other organisations: the Law Society of NSW, where she is the vice-president of the NSW Young Lawyers branch. She is also with the Commonwealth Lawyers Association as the young lawyers representative for Australia, and she is a director of the not-for-profit organisation Women Illawarra.

Ms Spirovski discussed what motivates her to commit to so much community advocacy and how she fits it all in.


Ms Spirovski maintained that the inherent duties of being a lawyer demand that community advocacy is a part of the role.

You are an advocate,” she said.

“Lawyers are already employing some level of moral activism and ethics of care for their clients.”

“I think that that should be applied broadly,” she explained. “It is the same way it’s your duty as a lawyer to do a certain level of pro bono. It’s also your duty to do a certain level of community advocacy.”

She discussed the value she derives from service personally. 

“The value that I get from this is the privilege of serving my community. I find that extremely fulfilling,” stated Ms Spirovski.

“I’m very much motivated by people. I have a people-centric approach to all my work, no matter what I’m doing, whether it’s on a commercial basis or it’s in the various other streams of advocacy that I do.”

“I think that the world is in dire need of community-defined solutions, and I would definitely like to be a facilitator of that.” 

Ms Spirovski discussed the practical steps one could take to venture into advocacy.

“Broaden your understanding of what it means to thrive in life because work is just one part of your life,” she advised.

“However, given the capitalist nature of the working week and the many hours that you have to work merely to survive, you are there quite a lot.” 

“But,” she said, “I think there is a certain level of personal responsibility where we need to be aware of what it is we want and need and how we are going to feel empowered day-to-day”.

I think practically there is a level of self-reflection that you need to undergo,” explained Ms Spirovski. “It’s understanding what you want and need and then putting that out there.”

“At the end of the day, if you’re at a firm, wherever you are, it’s a business; it’s going to keep operating like a business with or without you, but you’re still there. 

“You’re a part of it, but you deserve the opportunity to steer the direction of your life and career in that space amongst all of those cogs,” she stated. 

Ms Spirovski discussed how she fits in all her roles.

How do I fit it all in? I think I would have to be honest and say that sometimes it is not very easy. That being said, it is more often manageable than it’s not,” she said. 

The same way that you prioritise any other commitments, whether it’s sports or any other form of recreation or whatever you just like to do with your time, is the same way that you can make time for community advocacy.” 

It definitely requires some good time management, and when it’s framed in your mind as more of a lifestyle and who you are, it becomes a lot easier to integrate it with all of your responsibilities.” 

It’s definitely manageable, and when you love what you do, it doesn’t really feel like you are working.” 

Being aware of your limits is important, Ms Spirovski maintained.

“I’m a pretty self-reflective and introspective person. I’m quite in touch with myself, my needs, my wants,” she said. 

“I very much prioritise self-care and boundaries, so I know when they’re being crossed.” 

“Understanding your limits is key, and knowing when you’re reaching them is important.”

“When I’m feeling exhausted and burnt out, I mean, that’s a clear indicator that perhaps it’s time to slow down.

“The biggest indicator is when I have left a meeting or a space, and I don’t feel like I’ve given 150 per cent or even a hundred per cent. That, to me, is the biggest indicator that I’ve crossed a certain threshold.” 

Disconnecting from work is an important strategy for working within one’s limits, Ms Spirovski maintained.

The best way to manage it is to disconnect often or as often as you can. Then you’re approaching things with a clear mind and a fresh head,” she advised.