A former Dubbo solicitor has proven one of the surest routes to the District Court bench is via the Mitchell Highway.
Karen Robinson, who has been described by colleagues from Dubbo as a "gifted advocate", has been sworn in as a judge of the District Court of NSW.
Judge Robinson completed her law degree at the University of Sydney in 1991 and became a solicitor at Peacocke Dickens and Price in Dubbo the following year.
It is here she gained broad experience in criminal and family law, litigation and industrial relations.
After 11 years, Judge Robinson went to Legal Aid, after its office was established in Dubbo in 2003.
Here her former colleagues remember her for her "prodigious work ethic, detailed methodical approach to work and intense loyalty".
In 2013, Judge Robinson was sworn in as a magistrate of the Local Court at Blacktown.
At her swearing in ceremony last Tuesday, Judge Robinson praised Dubbo as a "wonderful training ground" which taught her many skills.
"I am proud of the diverse path that my legal career has taken. It is one that has exposed me to different aspects of the criminal justice system, particularly those that are based in the country," she said.
"In Dubbo I worked as a solicitor in private practice and public practice, and I'm so grateful to the solicitors who trained me and guided me in my early years, and impressed upon me the standards required of a member of the legal profession.
"I learned the importance of preparation, organisation, communication, and common sense in the practice of law. I learned the importance of maintaining a good reputation as an advocate, and an officer of the court.
"I learned the importance of treating colleagues and practitioners with decency and respect.
"I'm grateful for those lessons, and I will bring them with me to this new role."
She said she was thankful for her time at Legal Aid, which heightened her awareness for the need for the justice system to be available to all court users, particularly those financially and socially disadvantaged.
While she said she was "humbled" by her appointment to Judge, she frankly admitted she was also "a little scared".
"I'm aware that a great challenge lies ahead of me," she said.
"However, I will embrace this new challenge as I have done others in the past. I will work diligently and conscientiously to honour the trust and faith that has been placed in me by this appointment."
Attorney-General Mark Speakman welcomed Judge Robinson and praised her as an inspiration to women and asset to the District Court.
"From the outset, you were diligent and hardworking, whether it was a parking matter or a murder case, you applied the same effort," he said.
"You went out to Dubbo, at a time when the profession was very male dominated.
"You're an inspiration to women, and will be an asset to the District Court. You'll bring, poise and calm to its bench.
Your appointment is an acknowledgement to the skills, expertise and specialised knowledge you've acquired throughout your service to the law, and the hard work, dedication and personal sacrifices that you've made."
Senior vice president of the Law Society of NSW, Joanne Van Der Plaat said Judge Robinson was someone who saw the law as a profession not a business, and worked easily alongside those with a keen sense of service.
"Your honour's experience in civil, family, children and criminal matters was highly sought after by the Local Court. As was your patience, humility and pragmatic legal approach," she said.
"Over the last right years, your honour has distinguished yourself for you hard work, sound judgements and from within the great workhorse of the NSW justice system."
Judge Robinson was the secretary of the Orana Law Society from 1995 to 2005, and helped mentor the next generation of young lawyers.
"In a happy piece of foreshadowing, your honour even stepped in to play the role of Magistrate in the Orana Law Society's mock trial competitions for secondary students," Ms Van Der Plaat said.