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Sydney lawyers joining race for Wentworth

Sydney lawyers joining race for Wentworth

Now that lawyer-turned-politician, Malcolm Turnbull, has announced his retirement leaving his seat of Wentworth up for grabs, it seems the trend of lawyers pursuing politics is as strong as…

Now that lawyer-turned-politician, Malcolm Turnbull, has announced his retirement leaving his seat of Wentworth up for grabs, it seems the trend of lawyers pursuing politics is as strong as ever.

And this begs the question - do lawyers make the best politicians?

When news broke last week that Turnbull would not be re-contesting his seat of Wentworth, the race for pre-selection began immediately with more than a few lawyers' names popping up.

It's well known that Turnbull, a Rhodes Scholar, started out as solicitor and barrister in the 1980s after working as a journalist, and then left the legal profession to pursue other business interests before joining the world of politics.

And although the pay in politics is not relatively high, as pointed out by Turnbull in the past, there are still a number of lawyers putting their hands up.

With big shoes to fill, among the growing list of contenders who are said to be seeking to replace Turnbull are lawyer Steven Lewis of Slater & Gordon, lawyer Gabrielle Upton and barrister Mark Speakman - who has reportedly been "urged" to run.

As a Labor party contender, Lewis is currently the head of Slater & Gordon's commercial litigation team and has confirmed his intention to run for pre-selection for the traditionally Liberal seat. It won't be the first time Slater & Gordon has produced budding politicians - Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard was a former partner at the firm before pursuing politics.

Also rumoured to be joining the race is Liberal lawyer Gabrielle Upton who was formerly a lawyer at Freehills and DLA Phillips Fox, and is currently the pro-chancellor of the University of New South Wales and legal counsel for The Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Although speculation continues as to who will be put forward to secure the seat, the Australian Labor Party and the Liberal Party are yet to finalise candidates for pre-selection.

The traditionally conservative seat of Wentworth is expected to attract high calibre candidates and the pre-selection race is expected to be intense.

Whether or not another lawyer will take the reins from Turnbull will be revealed next month when the ballot is held.

What's your view? Do lawyers make good politicians?

Like this story? Read more:

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

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Sydney lawyers joining race for Wentworth
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