Parallax pair does things differently

Cassie Lang and Stephanie Parkin shared their experiences at the International Women's Day breakfast. Photos: Event Photos Australia

Stephanie Parkin and Cassie Lang’s motivation to start Parallax Legal was pretty straightforward – they wanted “to do things differently”.

The co-founders were part of the Count Her In: Accelerating Gender Equality Through Economic Empowerment panel at Tuesday’s Queensland Law Society International Women’s Day breakfast at City Hall, Brisbane.

The panel topic tied in with this year’s United Nations theme, Invest in women: Accelerate Progress.

And the university friends shared their journey to starting their own practice, which is in essence was about investing in themselves and their communities.

“The reason we wanted to start our own law firm was to do things our way and on our terms,” Stephanie, a Quandamooka woman, told the audience.

“Doing things differently to our previous experiences and I think for us always knowing that we are giving back to our communities.


“That’s why we have established Parallax Legal to make sure our clients and our communities are able to understand and exercise their right to self determination.

“So if we are talking about this idea of financial literacy, I think that in itself is an act of self determination, having choice to be able to play in this space and set up our own law firm, and to do that with integrity and respect.

“And that’s how we operate and that’s how we do things at Parallax Legal.”

Stephanie and Cassie on the panel.

Cassie, a Bundjalung woman, said they were fortunate to be able to rely on family, friends and networks in setting up their firm.

“We made sacrifices in our personal lives to bankroll ourselves with the support of our families and our partners before we could then generate enough income to start taking a small salary,” she explained.


“And after having gone through all that, we talk often about how conservative we are about the management of our budget and our finances.”

Facilitator Midja Fisher asked Cassie and Stephanie about the “ripple effect” their firm was causing.

“It starts with the work that Cassie and I do. We have always said this is not the Cassie and Steph show, although it sort of might be as we’ve been the ones who have taken the leap,” Stephanie joked.

“We’ve gone there, we’ve taken the leap, we’ve done what we needed to do to get where we are right now, and we will continue to do that.

“But we always know it is bigger than us. It’s not us, it’s not just about us as individuals. We are the vehicle, hopefully, that will effect change for our people, for governments who want to work with our communities and corporations, for non-government organisations who want to work with our people as well.

“That’s the type of client base that we work with. We know that when we engage with our clients and communities in that way we are not only helping our clients directly, if we are advising artists or community groups or native title bodies, we know that when we are advising them it’s not just impacting them as individuals because of the way in which our communities work.


“We are relational people, it’s not just about us, not just about immediate families, it is about the wider family and community because that’s how we operate.

“So we know if we are impacting just one individual or one organisation we know the ripple effect that that can have throughout the wider community that we service. It’s been a really important part of us realising how we can give back, how we can try to empower our clients in that way.

“We realise Cassie and I are in a privileged position to able to go to university, to be able to do the practice management course, to sit in this space. We recognise our privilege and I think it is incumbent on all of us to as well. We bring people along with us in the work we do.”

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