Gala night celebrates our best

Clarissa Rayward is a wife, mum and divorce lawyer who runs a multidisciplinary family law practice, Brisbane Family Law Centre.

She is a QLS Accredited Specialist in family law, a collaborative professional and mediator. In her ‘other life’, Clarissa runs a business called ‘Happy Lawyer, Happy Life’, which provides resources for lawyers looking to build sustainable and ‘happy’ careers in law.

Clarissa has been the recipient of several national and state awards recognising her innovative efforts in law, including last year’s QLS Agnes McWhinney Award. She has a keen interest in the future of legal practice, with a particular focus on wellness for lawyers.

What did winning the Agnes McWhinney award mean to you?

A lot – Agnes McWhinney represents so much for women in law and Queensland, and some incredibly talented women have received this award over the years. To be acknowledged for my efforts in the industry, that at times are a little left of centre, with such a prestigious award was a true career highlight.

What is your advice for those nominated this year?

You will probably second-guess yourself and be thinking ‘I don’t have time to fill in all these forms and I won’t win anyway!’ That was me this time last year and I remember sitting up very late on the evening that the submissions were due filling in the online forms (only to have it all disappear as I went to press submit and have to do it all again!!)

So my advice is pour yourself a cup of tea and get to filling in that form (and maybe save a back-up as you go!)

What has changed in your life and career since winning the award last year?

I am not sure I can say too much has changed. I am still going about my work as a family lawyer and my ‘other life’ as an advocate for change in the profession. However having this acknowledgment and platform has certainly assisted along the way.

What part of the experience did you most enjoy last year, from being nominated through to winning the award at Gala?

My favourite part of the experience was the awards night. It really was a night of celebration of diversity and achievement. I heard from so many interesting and talented practitioners from around our state who I would otherwise not have known.

Last year, you wore this fantastic pink sequin and tulle dress. Tell us the story behind this fantastic frock!

I did – that dress was a ‘Clarissa creation’, thanks to having to make a whole lot of dance costumes for my kids of late. I turned those skills to my own wardrobe ‘up-styling’ a too-short sequin number to make it appropriate for a ‘mid-forties’ fashionista! 😊

Want to be a part of the legal profession’s night of nights? Come to the QLS Excellence in Law Awards Gala and celebrate outstanding practitioners, teams and organisations from across Queensland. Tickets on sale now!

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