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Rachel McDonald

Photo of Rachel McDonald

“My work is very demanding, but equally rewarding. I have the privilege of walking beside people after they have injured themselves to advocate for them and to ensure that they are receiving everything that they are entitled to under insurance schemes that are difficult, if not impossible, to navigate without legal representation.”

Rachel McDonald graduated from Charles Darwin University in 2014 with a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) and is now a qualified lawyer specialising in personal injuries at the national firm Maurice Blackburn Lawyers.

A proud alumnus of CDU, Rachel worked through a grinding two-year schedule of full-time employment and full-time study to achieve her goals. Citing her admission into practice as her biggest career achievement to date, Rachel said: “I’m now a qualified lawyer working for a reputable national law firm. If I didn’t finish my degree at CDU I wouldn’t be able to manage the file load that I have and feel as though I’m contributing to my community in a really meaningful way.”

Before studying at CDU, Rachel undertook two years of study for a Bachelor of Laws at the University of Canberra while working as a dance teacher in Canberra. She relocated to Darwin halfway through her degree, and spent time working as a residential carer at St John’s College and then as an Indigenous employment mentor with Karen Sheldon Training.

Reflecting on her study experience at CDU, Rachel said: “CDU was very different to my previous university as a majority of law students were online and therefore we relied heavily on technology. Local lecturers with current legal experience made learning relevant and fun. I did a number of winter and summer intensive units and they were all excellent, especially the guest lecturers.”

Rachel said she most valued the flexibility of CDU, allowing her to  work full time in the legal industry in Darwin and attend her classes outside of business hours.

The interesting experiences have continued for Rachel since graduation. She has worked with the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency and has regularly travelled to remote NT communities. She has also managed to squeeze in some fun: “I’ve done lots of travelling including scuba diving in East Timor.”

Rachel thoroughly enjoys her role in legal practice, and notes that having passion for what you do makes it all worthwhile. “My work is very demanding but equally rewarding. I have the privilege of walking beside people after they have injured themselves to advocate for them and to ensure that they are receiving everything that they are entitled to under insurance schemes that are difficult, if not impossible to navigate without legal representation” she said.

When offering advice for other graduates Rachel said, “Persevere, because waking up each morning excited about your day and being passionate about your job is an incredible feeling that is worth all of the late nights studying”.