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Young Guns 09: Melanie Schleiger

Young Guns 09: Melanie Schleiger

One holds a pilot's licence while practising aviation law, another brings his entrepreneurial spirit to his f

irm, while others are breaking new ground in their ambitions to promote justice. No matter what their speciality, these ten young lawyers profiled by Lawyers Weekly represent just a sample of the talent an emerging generation of lawyers has to offer the legal profession.

Melanie Schleiger, workplace relations lawyer, Lander & Rogers

Pursuing a legal career appealed to Melanie Schleiger because she always felt compelled to speak up if something was unfair and because she wanted to work in a profession that strived to promote justice.

Schleiger now works as a lawyer for Lander & Rogers advising on employment and industrial relations and human rights, including the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities (VCHRR).

She completed a six-month secondment at the Human Rights Law Resource Centre (HRLRC) in 2008 and was also appointed a director of the organisation.

In May 2009, Schleiger was the only commercial law firm lawyer to accompany the HRLRC as part of an Australian human rights delegation, which briefed a UN Committee about Australia's compliance with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Over the past 12 months, Schleiger has also contributed a human rights perspective to a number of Parliamentary law reform inquiries. This includes providing written and oral evidence as an expert witness to the Senate's Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee into the Sex Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) and the Disability Discrimination and Other Human Rights Legislation Amendment bill 2008.

Schleiger provides advice and training on the VCHRR and human rights law to government departments, local councils, public authorities and community service organisations. This involves educating organisations about how to build a human rights culture and use the VCHRR and human rights law to assist clients or effect social change. She says she hopes to continue making a difference. "I hope that in 10 years' time I will be contributing to the creation of a sophisticated human rights culture in Australia, including in the private sector. This will involve working closely with clients and colleagues, and also mentoring junior lawyers who are passionate about human rights law and employment law," she says.

Click here to visit the profiles section of the website for the full profiles of all our 2009 Young Guns.

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