Nights spent watching Judge Judy inspired Griffith University Indigenous law student Keeley Hughes to pursue a career in criminal law.
Now, the fifth year Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and Criminology and Criminal Justice student has secured a scholarship to help her achieve that goal.
The Joshua Creamer and Kara Cook Excellence in Law Award aims to support female Indigenous law students and increase diversity at the Bar, offering mentoring and internship opportunities to nurture the next generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal leaders.
Mr Creamer is a descendant of the Waanyi and Kalkadoon people and a high-profile barrister who specialises in human rights class actions and native title and Ms Cook is an experienced domestic violence and family lawyer and former local councillor.
Both Griffith Law School alumni, they established the scholarship after benefiting from strong mentors and support during their time at Griffith and wanting to support more like-minded people to achieve great things in their careers.
Ms Hughes said she is extremely excited for the opportunity.
“My lifelong dream has been to become a criminal lawyer,” she said.
“I may be the only law student that hasn’t actually watched any crime television shows, but I always loved arguing, debating, and watching Judge Judy with my dad.
“After taking Legal Studies in high school, I became fascinated with the intricacies involved with how and why people commit crime, and my interests for criminal justice developed from my own research and looking at statistics.”
Ms Hughes is the first person in her family to graduate high school and continue to university so is excited for the opportunities and connections the scholarship will afford her.
“I am always up for a challenge and can’t wait to see where this scholarship takes me, but I would ideally love to eventually become a barrister one day,” she said.
“If I could give any advice to other young females, it would be to follow your dreams regardless of how distant they seem and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
“Being the only person in my family to graduate high school and go to university has not always been easy – it takes a lot of dedication and motivation but if you have that, you can truly succeed.
“Although it has been scary at times asking people with decades of experience some silly questions, it has paid off and those questions have allowed me to gain a more in-depth understanding of the law.
“I have always found people are always eager to help others, so put yourself out there and follow your dreams.”
Special thanks also go to King & Wood Mallesons, Shine Lawyers, KordaMentha, CASL and HopgoodGanim Lawyers for their support of the Joshua Creamer and Kara Cook Excellence in Law Award.