Melissa Mastronardi’s efforts to make young lawyers feel welcome when they start work in a regional community may elevate her among their ranks.
The Dubbo lawyer, who turns 30 this week, is among a select group from which the 2016 NSW Young Lawyer of the Year will be chosen by Emeritus Professor Gillian Triggs.
Professor Triggs is this year’s patron of the NSW Young Lawyers, a division of the Law Society of NSW.
She will name the 2016 NSW Young Lawyer of the Year at the Young Lawyers Patron Awards in Sydney on November 5.
Ms Mastronardi, who has developed a “welcome guide” for young lawyers in the Orana region, will attend the event.
Raised in Dubbo, Ms Mastronardi studied at the Australian National University before being admitted as a lawyer in mid-2010.
After working in Canberra and Wagga Wagga, she returned to Dubbo with husband in tow two years ago.
In taking up the volunteer position of Young Lawyers representative with the Orana Law Society, Ms Mastronardi set about reporting to it on “any issues affecting young lawyers”.
She also acts as a conduit between young lawyers in the region and NSW Young Lawyers.
“It’s bridging that divide between young lawyers in the city and in the regions,” Ms Mastronardi said.
Somehow she has found time to write the guide with information ranging from the courts that sit in Dubbo through to “where to buy the best coffee and go for Friday afternoon drinks”.
The guide, that includes a well-being section, is currently in the hands of the NSW Young Lawyers executive.
“We’re hoping to launch it early next year,” Ms Mastronardi said.
“The idea is to start rolling these sorts of booklets out in the different regions with each region having their own version.”
Ms Mastronardi said she was “very flattered” to have been nominated for the title and making the shortlist exceeded all her expectations.
She is one of 15,000 young lawyers in NSW.