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Lawyers can’t forget the ‘privileged place’ they hold in society: KWM lawyer to trek Larapinta for Starlight Foundation

In August, King & Wood Mallesons senior associate Paula Nassif is trekking the Larapinta Trail in the Northern Territory to raise money for the Starlight Children’s Foundation. Giving back in such ways, she says, is fundamental for lawyers.  

user iconLawyers Weekly 05 May 2023 Big Law
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Speaking to Lawyers Weekly about her looming trek, Ms Nassif — who has won the Banking and Finance Lawyer of the Year category three times at the Women in Finance Awards, hosted by Lawyers Weekly’s parent company, Momentum Media — said that, as lawyers, “we do hold a ‘privileged place’ in our community and society and we can often forget that”.

“The legal system is definitely not accessible to everyone from a cost perspective. I believe that where we can give back and help others, especially the vulnerable, we should absolutely try to do so,” she argued.

“Even if it is one hour a month or whatever time or money commitment you are able to give, it can make such a huge difference to one person’s or one family’s life. Even if you change only one life, or only one family’s trajectory for the better — it is so worth it.” 


This August, Ms Nassif will be trekking over six days, part of the world-famous Larapinta Trail in the Northern Territory, in support of Starlight Children’s Foundation (Starlight) Healthier Future Initiatives.

“I’ll be partnering with Starlight and fundraising to help improve the health and wellbeing of Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander kids in remote regions of Australia. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids have some of the highest levels of preventable diseases in the world and Starlight’s Healthier Futures Initiative is helping to change that,” she outlined.

“Access to health services is often limited in remote communities and clinic visits can be met with anxiety and fear — especially for kids.”

Ms Nassif has been working with Starlight, on a pro bono basis, for a number of years, she said.

“I have seen Captain Starlight in action firsthand and the incredibly positive and magical impact they have on children and their families. I’m taking part in this initiative as I’m super passionate about improving the health and wellbeing of all children around Australia and, in particular, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids,” she said.

“This will be an amazing and unique experience to not only explore the beautiful lands of Australia’s Red Centre but to understand more deeply the culture of the people of these lands.”

Everyone experiences times of hardship, or where we rely on others to take an extra step to support us, Ms Nassif continued.

“There are so many examples of this in our community, whether in the form of, for example, a health professional who takes extra care of a loved one who is sick and vulnerable hospital, a teacher or child care worker who takes the extra care to look out for a young child who is struggling or being bullied at school,” she outlined.

“At some point, we will experience kindness from a stranger, and we will stop and be grateful for this person [who] helped us. As lawyers, we should try and give back, even if just a little, always paying it forward with kindness and generosity.”