Carolyn grew up on a farm in central west NSW and most Sunday afternoons were spent with her family checking the sheep in the paddocks. She enjoyed helping out and watching the sheep, marvelling at how one or two would break away from the pack and take a different path to the rest of the herd. Her mum and dad would tell her to go and bring back the rogue sheep. She always did as she was told but secretly she cheered on the rebel sheep and admired their tenacity.
At the age of 17, Carolyn packed her bags and moved to the city to study law. After graduating, she accepted a job at a law firm, like most of her peers, and settled into her new career. She quickly became frustrated and disillusioned with the legal system, confronted by the fact that so many people weren’t eligible for Legal Aid but then couldn’t afford the alternative of paying the high fees charged by law firms. Carolyn was determined to find a way to help and change the system. After much research Carolyn began to envisage the concept of a ‘non profit law firm’, and in 2009, in true reminiscent style of a breakaway sheep, Carolyn took the ground breaking step of establishing Australia’s first non profit law firm, New Way Lawyers.
Carolyn’s skill set is perfectly suited to her role as CEO of Australia’s first non profit law firm. She holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice. She is admitted to Practice in the High Court of Australia, the Supreme Court of Queensland and the Supreme Court of New South Wales. Carolyn also holds a Bachelor of Commerce and a Masters in Human Services, specialising in the management of non profit organisations.
Carolyn has been publicly recognised and awarded for her work in establishing New Way Lawyers. In 2012 she was a finalist in the Queensland Telstra Business Women’s Awards being nominated for the Community and Government, Innovation and Young Business Women’s categories and she was the winner of the Community and Government Award. She is a recognised voice in the legal and community sectors and she regularly speaks at conferences and events. She is also a regular columnist in the Seniors Newspaper.
Although modest about her achievements, when asked about her work with New Way Lawyers Carolyn often refers to the famous stanza of the Road Not Taken poem by Robert Frost. I shall be telling this with sigh, somewhere ages and ages hence, two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference. Carolyn shares that her deepest desire is that her divergent career path on the road less taken will make a difference and help families who are facing difficult legal situations who otherwise wouldn’t be able to access legal services.