Last week I celebrated my 10th anniversary as a lawyer in different forms – my first 2 ½ years at a law firm in Oxford and the last 7 ½ years in Melbourne. Working as a lawyer, particularly a family lawyer, is never an easy or straightforward job so I’m proud to have reached this mini-milestone and still full of enthusiasm for the work I do. As a sign though that I’m getting older it is a bit scary! However one of the enjoyable things about family law is that no two cases are exactly the same, and the law itself has to keep up with changes in society, so I feel like I’m still learning everyday in the job.
To emphasise how long ago September 2004 was, the successful Athens Olympics had just taken place, John Howard and George Bush still had another 3 or 4 years left in power, the iPhone was a distant dream and you could manage to pick up a newspaper (an actual newspaper) without a single reference to Game of Thrones. Even more remarkably, Australia were the undisputed best cricket side in the world.
On the other hand, conflict in the Middle East held the world’s attention, there was widespread disillusion with politics and Essendon toiled fruitlessly in search of their first premiership since 2000. So maybe not such a long time after all.
Within Australian family law itself, the last few years has involved a few dramatic changes. Perhaps most significant was the transfer of property disputes between de-facto couples into the Family Court back in 2009 but the law is constantly evolving in areas such as Financial Agreements, child relocation cases, and even the basic “4-step”process in dividing property.
It has been useful to remind myself why I still love the job I do and why I get out of bed in the morning. One reason is the variety of people and circumstances I come across but perhaps the biggest is the ability (not always but often) to help make a positive difference to a person’s livelihood during what is often the most difficult episode of their lives.
I’d be interested for other people’s comments – what gets you out of bed in the morning?