Griffith alumnus wins national award

Kara Cook
Kara Cook.

Kara Cook’s working life has been committed to social justice issues.

For this, the Griffith University alumna has won the Law Council of Australia’s (LCA) 2014 Australian Young Lawyer of the Year Award.

As the principal solicitor of Women’s Legal Service Queensland (WLS), Kara’s work involves looking after legal matters for women who are victims of domestic violence or struggling with other family law issues.

Kara said she was surprised but honoured to win the award.

“It’s lovely to be recognised,” she said.

“This award recognises the work done by young lawyers across Australia to assist their communities and in my case the work provided by staff and volunteers at community legal centres to assist some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

“Being able to raise community awareness of domestic violence and women’s issues more broadly is great.”

Over the past year Kara has also volunteered her time with the Women Lawyers Association of Queensland, Griffith University’s mentoring program, LCA’s Australian Young Lawyers Committee and the Early Career Lawyers Committee. She is also currently a Councillor for the Queensland Law Society Council and sits on the Family Law Committee.

Kara has always had an interest in social justice issues and studying at Griffith fostered that interest and provided opportunities to develop her legal skills and assist those vulnerable in society with practical clinic-based subjects.

“I was able to participate in the Innocence Project which was really rewarding and I had another subject which provided me with a placement with the Gold Coast Domestic Violence Prevention Centre, working with women who had experienced domestic violence.’’ she said.

During her studies she also volunteered as a support worker for the Women’s Legal Service and continued to do so when she began working in private practice as a Solicitor.

“When the opportunity arose to work with WLS I took it and haven’t looked back.

“I enjoyed my time at Griffith and its focus on social justice issues. It gave me an opportunity to pursue those interests through my study.”

After graduating from Griffith Law School in 2008 Kara completed her practical legal training whilst working as a judge’s associate in 2009, before moving into private practice.

She has worked at the WLS for two years and is responsible for overseeing the work undertaken by the organisations employed solicitors and the 100 volunteer solicitors who provide advice and assistance to over 3500 women each year.