Episode 53 – Chief Justice Diana Bryant AO on Being a Pioneer, Finding Your Niche and Having Fun Along the Way
This is a really special episode of the Happy Lawyer Happy Life Podcast, both as it marks the 1 year anniversary of the show and perhaps more importantly because I am joined by the Honourable Diana Bryant AO, who has served as the Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia from 2004 to 2017. Before her appointment to the bench, Chief Justice Bryant practised as a family lawyer with a national firm in Perth and spent ten years at the Victorian Bar, being appointed to the Queen’s Counsel.
Her Honour also received a Centenary Medal in 2001 for her role in the establishment of the Federal Magistrates Court and was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2011. Both of these honours were to recognise her efforts at family policy reform and the promotion of women in the legal profession. In our wide-ranging conversation, we discussed her pioneering career and how she has managed to keep her passion for her work over so many successful years in the profession.
In this episode we also talk about…
- The similarities between being a Judge and a Chief Executive Officer
- The value of specialising, and how it helped Her Honour early in her career
- Characteristics that are required to go into family law (empathy and liking people, plus not being judgemental)
- The challenges of being in a male dominated profession in the 1960s, 70s and beyond
- The importance of having a good network and finding a mentor
- Why sometimes you need to trust your luck and just give things a shot
- The challenges that a declining print media (and the rise of blogs) have created for the legal industry
- Why positivity and optimism are critical if you work in the legal field
- The value of ‘keeping fun’ or a sense of humour in your work
- The trick to maintaining your passion for the work over many years
- Her Honour’s exercise and de-stressing habits.
- Life as a Judge and how it can often mean disappointing someone
- her Honour’s happiness challenge!
Sit back and enjoy Her Honour’s wonderful career, candid insights and sense of humour!