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Upon graduating from Pembroke, Alice Rolls (1995) pursued her interest in the legal system by completing a double degree in Law and Arts at the University of Melbourne. She wanted to help others and make a difference in the world.

6 November 2020

After completing her studies Alice was motivated to become a commercial litigator. She wanted to understand the frameworks that govern our society in order to help others make sense of it. Alice was largely inspired by her grandfather Basil Corder, a well-respected lawyer in South Africa, as well as her uncle Hugh Corder, a Professor of Public Law at the University of Cape Town, who also co-wrote the transitional Bill of Rights for South Africa at the conclusion of apartheid.

Today Alice is a Principal at Adelaide-based law firm, Lipman Karas, a specialist dispute resolution practice. She and her colleagues have noticed that there is a growing need for a service to aid those who struggle to access justice as a result of their socioeconomic position. So, in partnership with The University of Adelaide, they created The Accessible Justice Project, which is designed to assist those who ‘fall between the cracks’ because they are ineligible for legal aid but cannot afford the services of a private lawyer either. With 14% of Australian citizens living below the poverty line and only 8% being eligible for legal aid, it was clear to Alice that the project was needed to provide legal help to those who would otherwise miss out.

The Accessible Justice Project is unique as it is a not-for-profit ‘low bono’ law firm, charging only what it costs to run the practice. It is staffed by qualified lawyers undertaking a specialist LLM at The University of Adelaide. They are supervised by senior lawyers from Lipman Karas. This innovative collaboration is a first of its kind in Australia.

Alice is determined to make changes within the legal system by creating programs such as this. She also believes that other changes need to be made, particularly to address the large gender bias within the legal profession. Although more women than men are now graduating as lawyers each year, men still hold the powerful top jobs within the field. Alice believes the only way this can change is if our community’s understanding of gender roles changes, a fight that Alice believes will continue for some years.

As a graduate of Pembroke, Alice attributes much of her success to her education and growth while at the School. Her time within the Pembroke community instilled in her many values that are reflected within her everyday work and the time she spends with her family, inspiring her to give back to the community and fostering an understanding of the importance of being a part of something bigger, both within the School and subsequently the legal system. Alice was aware that being able to go to Pembroke was a privilege and that with privilege comes responsibility. This struck a chord with me as, among the busyness of assignments and tests, we often forget how lucky we all are to attend Pembroke and share in the School’s values as Alice did, and has continued to do, throughout her career.

Alice shared some fundamental words of wisdom on how to become successful within one’s career and personal life as the world continues to be ever-changing. She believes that in order to pursue a career in Law as well as achieve happiness within your life you must work hard, and that there is simply no substitute for this. Being kind and respectful, as well as having an open mind to the opportunities we are faced with daily, is of the utmost importance to Alice. In her eyes nothing is a waste of time and she urges us all to focus on the ‘long game’ and look to the future. Alice’s achievements are indicative of her kind-heartedness and persistent pursuit of excellence, qualities which are instilled within us all as Pembroke students.

Georgia Davidson
(Yr 11)

Georgia Davidson

About the author: Georgia Davidson is a current Year 11 student at Pembroke. Georgia is a confident and sociable student, who enjoys running School tours and interacting with members of the community. Georgia is a strong Humanities based student and, upon graduating, is looking into different career paths in Journalism, Law and Creative Arts. These opportunities will ensure she can pursue her love for travel and continue making memorable experiences.