CQUni alumnus proud to be a solicitor for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service

[by Greg Chapman]

David Wenitong. Image: supplied

Every day, David Wenitong is privileged to have a career helping his fellow Indigenous people as a solicitor with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service (ATSILS) - and it all began with a law degree at CQUni.


“I decided to work in the legal profession and at ATSILS due to the inequality that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people face in accessing justice,” David said.


“As an Aboriginal person, I am a firm believer in the need for culturally competent legal services and the provision of timely advice and representation to our clients. It is a privilege to advocate for my own people in the various Courts that I attend,” he said.


David was working as a court support officer at ATSILS in Rockhampton while he was completing his law degree. When he graduated in 2016, he left ATSILS and worked at Youth Justice as a restorative justice conference convenor and court coordinator. He returned to ATSILS in 2017 where he’s been a solicitor ever since.


It was during his studies that David gained valuable experience as a recipient of an Aurora Internship.


The overall aim of the internship program is to facilitate individual professional development by building career experiences and opportunities in the sector, and to strengthen the capacity of Indigenous sector organisations by attracting and retaining talented Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. 


“I applied for an Aurora internship in 2016 and spent six weeks in Sydney with Terri Janke and Company,” David said.


“Terri is an Indigenous woman and is a leader in the field of Indigenous intellectual property and it was a great experience and I learned a lot from Terri and her staff.


“(The internship) exposed me to the inner workings of a law firm and cemented my desire to use the skills I was developing to assist my people.”


As a solicitor he also penned an article for the Queensland Law Society’s journal, The Proctor on Building Rapport With First Nations Clients.


David encouraged anyone with a drive or passion to pursue it.


“I would say that you can do anything you put your mind to. It may take time and be hard work but it’s worth it. Apply for an internship or start studying, it’s the first step to changing your life,” he said.


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