I think modern law schools are superior to the ones in my day because they are inspiring students with the relevance of the legal qualification to society in general. I hold the view that one of the great values of lawyers in this society is they hold together the fabric of society and I think modern law students are far more aware of that than they were in my day. There’s a lot less black-letter law and that’s a significant change in the culture and philosophy of legal education. Students come out inspired with a sense of idealism and a greater determination to succeed.
The latest High Court judge, Susan Keifel who left school at the age of 15, is a very good example that you can, if you are inspired by what you see in the law and you have the inherent capacity, as she has obviously, to reach great heights.
The real reward of being a lawyer is getting personal and professional satisfaction out of doing something worthwhile — that is contributing to an ordered and regulated society that is I suppose ordered by notions of decency, fairness and justice.
The suburban lawyer with a small practice is critically important to their local community just as the Pitt Street prince or princess of the law is critical to the commercial undertakings.
Everybody is contributing within a field that they find amenable to their capacity and motivations. That’s the great reward of being a lawyer.