“This is not a decision I took lightly. However, I understand how important it is to work in these spaces, and not only. as a First Nations woman, but creating safe spaces for other First Nations people to come and work in the legal profession,” she said. Ms. Reid has three main goals in her new role: to build stronger relationships between Indigenous communities and law schools; encourage students to question what they think about the profession; and a podcast called Blak Letter Law on First Nations, their cultural authorities and the legal system. “There were also some of the most progressive and transformative political and legal leaders of all generations, and I don`t think that`s a coincidence.” As the oldest and arguably the most prestigious law school in the country, the University of Sydney`s law school has long had a reputation for being old-fashioned and exclusive. The Dean of the Faculty of Law, Professor Simon Bronitt, hoped that Ms. Reid`s appointment would demonstrate to his students the diversity of the legal profession. She is also a leading supporter of the Uluru Heart Declaration, which the Faculty of Law recently publicly endorsed, and co-convener of Rebellious Lawyers Australia, a grassroots legal movement for systemic change. As a former criminal defence lawyer for Legal Aid NSW and a staff member of a Supreme Court judge, Ms Reid has a lot of knowledge to share. At UNSW Law, Teela was inducted into the UNSW Women of Excellence list of Law Deans, she was the first Indigenous person elected to the UNSW Bar as Vice President (Social Justice), where she was the founding director of the UNSW Law First Peoples Moot Court Competition. She was also the first recipient of the NSW Indigenous Barristers Trust Award and the Law Spirit Award. “It has not escaped me how important it is to take Mob on this journey.” Previously, Teela was a teacher when she was elected Australian delegate for indigenous youth at the UN Permanent Forum in New York, which inspired her to become a lawyer.
While her decision to join the prestigious institution was not taken lightly, Ms. Reid is determined to make the most of it for her community. “Rebel lawyers are a framework that we have adopted in the United States and the United Kingdom, where lawyers see their role through three things: advocacy, storytelling and activism,” she explained. In 2017, Teela was selected to study at Harvard University as a global emerging leader. Upon her return to Australia, Teela bravely responded to Prime Minister Turnbull after rejecting the Uluru Declaration from her heart. “As First Nations, we have never ceded our sovereignty over these lands and waters, and aspiring lawyers have such a role to play in thinking differently about legal practice, whether they are Indigenous or not,” said Reid. 2860 students are enrolled in the Faculty of Law. Only 17, or about 0.6% of these students, openly identify as Aboriginal. The new role was created to help students engage in the profession by integrating the perspective of practicing lawyers into the classroom and exploring different roles lawyers can take on in the workplace.
“The Black Letter Law is a special style of advocacy where lawyers make the law to the letter, and I want that to be reclaimed — I want Blackfullas to start a dialogue,” she said. Teela is also co-creator of @blackfulla_booklcub, with Tidda Merinda Dutton, an Instagram platform that honours First Nations ancestors as original storytellers and shares books and stories from First Nations storytellers of all ages and genres. Wiradjuri and Wailwan Ms. Teela Reid, Senior Land Counsel at Chalk and Behrendt, has been named the faculty`s first Indigenous practitioner. Teela was awarded the UNSW Young Achiever 2020 for her contributions to the community, her advocacy as a working group leader on Article 51(xxvi), racial power, in the constitutional dialogue process, which culminated in the Uluru Heart Declaration, resulting in the most historic demands for a First Nations voice enshrined in the Australian Constitution and a Makarrata Commission to facilitate a treaty and research process. of the truth. Teela was also recognised for her work as a key thinker and lead counsel behind Walama Court, a proposal to establish an Aboriginal Criminal Court within the jurisdiction of the NSW District Court, in addition to her full-time work as a criminal defence lawyer at Legal Aid NSW. “It`s dynamic and interesting, it has the advantage of being full of creative ideas that translate into materials and activities that students will really engage with,” he said. “Legal practice takes many forms and public interest advocacy is a very important part of the legal profession.” Teela Reid is the first Indigenous practitioner at Australia`s oldest law school. Image:Steven Siewert. “Visibility is important, especially for First Nations women who have goals and aspirations to become advocates or bring about systemic change,” she said. Teela Reid is a proud Wiradjuri and Wailwan woman born and raised in Gilgandra, Western New South Wales.
Teela is a lawyer, activist and storyteller working to eradicate systemic racism in our society. She is currently a Sydney-based lawyer with experience in criminal and civil law. Previously, Teela was Tipstaff to the Honourable Justice Lucy McCallum of the Supreme Court of New South Wales. Teela was recently recognized for her stories and received the 2020 Daisy Utemorrah Award for her unpublished manuscript Our Matriarchs Matter, a tribute to Indigenous women who shaped her life. The award was presented by Magabala Books, a leading Indigenous publisher based in Broome, in association with the Western Australian Premiers Book Awards and the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund. Reid wants to use her position to show students that there are different ways to practice, including client advocacy and social issues. A man from humble backgrounds, Professor Bronitt said he has worked hard to increase the value and number of existing scholarships and attract more mentors to the faculty. “The reality of an institution like Sydney is that it`s the oldest university in Australia, we`ve graduated more prime ministers than anyone else, on both sides of politics, and too many judges that it`s quite extraordinary to dig into history.” “As our students will tell you and as others will tell you, we still have a long way to go at the University of Sydney, but we are starting this journey and striving to make it a place where Indigenous students can feel comfortable,” he said. Teela graduated from Gilgandra High School, completed her teacher training at Newcastle University, where she studied abroad in Canada, and then completed her postgraduate degree in law at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. In 2020, Teela also published her first essay in the Griffith Review entitled; 2020 – The year of judgment, not reconciliation. It`s time to introduce yourself! A high-flying tribute to his late grandfather Trevor `Toot` Reid. His second essay is entitled; The art of sowing First Nations sovereignty – can you face the truth about the treaty? This is a perception that some members of the sandstone institution are working on.
Professor Bronitt acknowledged that this was a problem he was trying to address. “I`m English, from London`s East End, the first in my family who didn`t leave school at 16,” he said. “I am very aware of the power that education can give to people who are otherwise pretty much excluded. With an ATAR threshold of 99.5, Law at the University of Sydney is one of the most challenging undergraduate programs in the country.