A SOLICITOR who recently contested the seat of Dubbo is making the transition to barrister.
With the NSW State Election done and dusted, Stephen Lawrence has embarked on the next stage of his legal career to join the bar.
"I did the bar exam last June when I had some time off between finishing work in Afghanistan and starting back at the ALS," he said.
"Next week I'll start the bar practice course, it's a one-month exam you have to do before you go to the bar.
"After that I'll be what's known as a reader at Sir Owen Dixon Chambers in Sydney for 12 months.
"After the first month I'll be able to start accepting briefs, hopefully lots of them from Dubbo."
Mr Lawrence said he would divide his time between Dubbo and Sydney, and would keep his house at Dubbo.
Mr Lawrence said he expected his work with the ALS would provide a solid foundation for his future career as a solicitor. "A lot of the work I'll be doing at the bar is work I've already been doing," he said.
"Like many ALS solicitors I've appeared in trials and doing similar work as a barrister.
"In the past there used to be a big distinction between solicitors and barristers as the ones who did all the preparation versus the ones who acted in court, but that distinction has really broken down in recent years.
"You see a lot of solicitors appearing in the higher courts and jury trials.
"Plus for the past five years I've been doing management, recruitment, planning, media and trial advocacy, I've been a jack of all trades, so it will be nice to focus on some serious litigation."
Next on Mr Lawrence's to-do list was to buy his barrister attire, which would not be cheap.
"It will cost about $2500 for the wig and robe and bar jacket," he said.
Not that it was the first time he had worn those things, Mr Lawrence said. "I got to before, when I worked in the ACT and the Solomon Islands - in those jurisdictions the profession is fused and you appear in a wig," he said.
Mr Lawrence resigned from his role as principal legal officer at the Aboriginal Legal Service (ALS) in Dubbo about a month before the election, but said he looked forward to a continuing relationship with the ALS.
"I love the organisation, it does important work," he said.