find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (3-5 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Dynamic organisation ·
View details
Legal Counsel
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: North Sydney NSW 2060
· 18 month fixed term contract · 3-5 years PQE with TMT exposure
View details
A Mighty Heart: Claire Hammerton, Deacons

A Mighty Heart: Claire Hammerton, Deacons

Claire Hammerton is part of a vanguard of young lawyers who are seeking hands-on ways to engage with human rights and social justice issues, writes Laura MacIntyre

Claire Hammerton is part of a vanguard of young lawyers who are seeking hands-on ways to engage with human rights and social justice issues, writes Laura MacIntyre

Deacons lawyer Claire Hammerton
Claire Hammerton is living proof that commercial acumen and a social conscience can happily co-exist in the heart and mind of a corporate lawyer. A dispute resolution lawyer with Deacons by day, and Vice-Chair of the NSW Young Lawyers' Human Rights Committee after office hours, Hammerton has recently returned from a once-in-a-lifetime trip to India.

As one of only two Australians chosen to take part in the PRIA International Internship Program, Hammerton packed her bags and set off for India to take part in an eight-week crash course in participatory development. This involved a week of theoretical training at PRIA's Centre for Participatory Research headquarters in Delhi and six weeks working on a field project studying ways to improve elementary education in the country.

"My motivation for applying for the internship was mainly because I felt that I had a strong theoretical background when it came to development issues and human rights, but I was really lacking grassroots exposure," Hammerton says.

"I was able to see the incredible value in running these workshops before you go ahead and make assumptions about what the community wants. It's vital that, from the outset, you engage with the people that you are attempting to help."

Nothing, however, could have prepared her for the level of poverty encountered among the communities she spent time with.

"I have travelled to some developing countries in the past, but the poverty in India is really far more prolific than any other developing country I've been to. It really just engulfs you from the moment you step foot into the country.

"From the minute you step foot in the country the poverty is everywhere, and you are immediately talking to people who are in really dire circumstances ... [but] through the various discussions that we had with the local communities I feel I gained a lot in terms of my knowledge and skills in participatory development and community engagement."

Now that she's back in Sydney, is it a challenge to combine her passion for human rights with a career in commercial law? Not at all, Hammerton says, because of the supportive approach of management and the involvement of her colleagues.

"I really feel that there's a culture here of social conscience, and being aware and having a perspective of what else is out there, and [an understanding] that you don't have to focus all your time and energy on the work you do with the firm.

"Everyone I work with is aware of my interest in this area - my supervising partner in particular has been very supportive, and has said to me that I should never feel that there's a conflict there."

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

A Mighty Heart: Claire Hammerton, Deacons
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
LCA president Fiona McLeod SC
Aug 17 2017
Where social fault lines meet the justice gap in Aus
After just returning from a tour of the Northern Territory, LCA president Fiona McLeod SC speaks wit...
Marriage equality flag
Aug 17 2017
ALHR backs High Court challenge to marriage equality postal vote
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) has voiced its support for a constitutional challenge to ...
Give advice
Aug 17 2017
A-G issues advice on judiciary’s public presence
Commonwealth Attorney-General George Brandis QC has offered his advice on the public presence of jud...
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 & ...