When I passed my Bar exams in England in 1995, I swore blind I would never sit another law exam again. Except when my wife and I came to Australia in 2012, I had to complete another 9 academic units to be admitted as a lawyer over here.
Do I get nervous? Every. Single. Time. You hear of footballers having pre-game rituals, every time I got to court, I practice in my car and pretend the windscreen is the judge. If I don’t, I’m convinced I’ll stuff up and pronounce my own name wrong or call the judge ‘Mum!’
When I first started studying law, I had no understanding of legal concepts or how the industry worked. I’m now one of only a few barristers in Queensland who speak fluent Mandarin. I’m glad my language skills have been able to assist Mandarin-speaking litigants and the solicitors acting for them.
Mid last year I had to ask my boss if I could work from home a couple of days a week. I was feeling exhausted and starting to struggle physically. I felt like I was failing and giving into my disease, and I hated it. Turns out my boss was completely supportive and accommodating. Really, that’s what working with a disability is all about – transparency on both sides.