Jennifer Spear became a lawyer because she wanted to help people, but working in a small town comes with its own set of challenges.
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Ms Spear works at Duffy Elliott Lawyers where she does estate planning, administration and litigation and also manages the company's criminal practice.
"There's six degrees of separation from everyone here and probably two degrees in Dubbo. So [sometimes] it's hard to have that boundary between the clients and your friends and your social network," Ms Spear told the Daily Liberal.
"There's a lot of crossover, which is one of the challenges to grapple with in regional practice."
Ms Spear is the president of Orana Law Society, as well as the vice president of NSW Women Regional Lawyers - the latter of which was set up six months ago to foster collegiality among its members. The group hosts conferences twice a year and the next one will take place in Armidale in March 2024.
One of the topics on the agenda is vicarious trauma, which women regional lawyers are susceptible to because they can "be quite empathetic", according to Ms Spear.
"You've got to build up that resilience, to try and be able to handle some of the situations and even just compartmentalising between work and home - and working out ways for me personally to be able to cope better, whether that is just switching off completely," she said.
With the types of things you're exposed to as a lawyer, developing coping strategies is an ongoing issue.
Another is the shortage of trained staff in the regions, and Ms Spear encourages lawyers to look at Dubbo as the destination, not the stepping stone to something else.
"You speak to a number of practitioners around the area, and it's incredibly difficult to actually get staff out here," Ms Spear said.
"Not only that you may get a single staff member, but sometimes areas like Dubbo can be seen as a stepping stone and not the end game.
"So it's very, very hard to get a practitioner, even if you can get someone from the city, that will actually stay on for any period of time."
Ms Spear moved to Dubbo for her husband over eight years ago and now she sees it as home.
"I would really like to encourage people to make the move to Dubbo because I've just never looked back. I found myself involved in so many different things," Ms Spear said.
" ... The opportunities out here are far greater than I think people realise."
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Ms Spear said, despite lawyers sometimes getting "a bad rap", she views the job as making a difference in people's lives.
"I got into it to help people and I love being able ... to help people during what they would consider some of the most challenging moments in their life," she said.
"So they're either suffering from grief or they're facing a charge before the court, and they're really vulnerable people.
"So I really like to be able to make a difference in these people's lives. For me, that personally is the most satisfying thing about being a lawyer."
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