find the latest legal job
Corporate/Commercial Lawyers (2-5 years PAE)
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Specialist commercial law firm · Long-term career progression
View details
Graduate Lawyer / Up to 1.5 yr PAE Lawyer
Category: Personal Injury Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Mentoring Opportunity in Regional QLD · Personal Injury Law
View details
Corporate and Commercial Partner
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Full time · Join a leading Adelaide commercial law firm
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Sydney NSW
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
Hear hear

Hear hear

Three lawyers whose lives have been changed by cochlear implants talk to Lawyers Weekly ahead of Hearing Awareness Week.

Three lawyers whose lives have been changed by cochlear implants talk to Lawyers Weekly ahead of Hearing Awareness Week.

Gary Donovan’s career and professional life were falling down around him.

It was 2010 and the lawyer’s worsening hearing loss was curtailing his career and impacting on his family life.

“I had been a barrister for seven years but because I couldn’t hear effectively I was no longer able to appear in court, which is a key part of my job,” he said. “Eventually I was unable to do the fundamentals of working; converse with colleagues; participate in meetings and interview people. I even avoided the use of the telephone. 

“I became very socially withdrawn and even talking to my children became impossible. I was at my wits end,” said Donovan.

Eventually, Donovan, now the managing partner of Chinese firm W&H Lawyers’ Sydney office, received a cochlear implant on his left side in 2011 and one on his right side in 2012. That has meant the 62-year-old has been able to return to teaching law, where he is an adjunct professor at the University of Technology, a lecturer in Commercial and Company Law at the University of Western Sydney and a teacher in Law and Management at the South Western Sydney Institute.

Helping legal careers to flourish

Donovan’s story resonates with two young lawyers forging successful careers with two of Australia’s best-known law firms.

Calvin Shaw is a graduate lawyer at Freehills. The 2011 University of New South Wales graduate was awarded the Graeme Clark Scholarship last year, which provides financial assistance to cochlear implant and bone conduction implant recipients to help them excel academically.

Shaw developed profound deafness after getting Meningococcal meningitis prior to his first birthday. He received a cochlear implant shortly afterwards.

“There are so many technological advances to support a legal career, with more in the pipeline,” said Shaw, who is currently in the litigation practice group at Freehills. “The fact is there is absolutely no barrier to making the most of your abilities to get where you want to go – people will recognise that.”

Holly Taylor (pictured), the inaugural winner of the Graeme Clark Scholarship in 2002, is now a corporate lawyer with Mills Oakley.

In 1987, aged four, she was the youngest (then) cochlear implant recipient.

“I decided I wanted to be a lawyer rather than an economist (a passion at high school) after being a summer clerk and graduate lawyer at Clayton Utz and really enjoying the work, the clients and the challenges,” said Taylor.

Taylor said that, while her hearing condition has never been a barrier to her legal career, lawyers with hearing difficulties who don’t have a cochlear implant still face barriers in forging legal careers.

“I believe that a deaf or severely hearing-impaired person without a cochlear implant would have great difficulty in successfully pursuing a similar career,” she said. “It is difficult to imagine how the profession could change this, particularly in respect of corporate law, which is competitive and fast paced.

“On a micro level, the best thing anyone in the profession can do is to support and train those they work with.”

One in six Australians is deaf, deaf/blind, hearing impaired or has a chronic ear disorder.

Hearing Awareness Week runs from Sunday 19 to Saturday 25 August. Hearing Awareness Week provides an opportunity for the 22 per cent of Australians aged 15 and over who are deaf or have a hearing impairment to share their experiences and knowledge and help to create a greater understanding of their needs, aspirations and the contributions they can make to our nation.

More information can be found at www.hearingawarenessweek.org.au

 

 

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Hear hear
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Scales of Justice
Dec 15 2017
Timing ‘critical’ in unusual contempt of court ruling
A recent case could have interesting implications for contempt of court rulings, according to a Ferr...
Dec 14 2017
International arbitration and business culture
Promoted by Maxwell Chambers. This article discusses the impact of international arbitration on t...
Papua New Guinea flag
Dec 14 2017
World-first mining case launched in PNG
Citizens of Papua New Guinea have launched landmark legal proceedings against the country’s govern...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...