Episode 137 – In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity with Michael Bidwell
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This week’s interview had me laughing, crying and then laughing again and I am so very grateful to my guest Michael Biddy. Michael is an environment and planning lawyer at Herbert Smith Freehills- something I can say I didn’t know too much about before chatting with Michael, but an area of law that Michael is deeply passionate about. Having grown up in Michigan, Michael shared with me how he found his way to Griffith University in Brisbane, having decided to study law at university. I loved this part of the story- why a boy from Michigan chooses to move his life to Brisbane at 15 years of age!
I have come to know Michael over the past few years thanks to his involvement with The Legal Forecast and more recently Pride in Law. Michael has openly shared his own experience of being a gay man and some of the hurdles that he has faced in his life as a result of the views of others around him. It was this part of our conversation for which I am most grateful. Last year I had the chance to learn so much from Michael, Dean Clifford-Jones and many of the other leaders within Pride in Law. I have perhaps naively thought we as a profession had ‘moved with the times’ as some would say but I have come to see that there is still some moving to do. And it is Michael and the many lawyers like him who are bravely leading the shifts that are needed for us to build a profession that embraces us all no matter our age, stage, race or sexuality.
In this interview, Michael and I also chatted about-
- If Michael was not a lawyer he would have been a Marine Biologist.
- Michael’s journey to coming out as a gay man in his small home town in Michigan USA and the support he had from his family.
- Social Justice is a huge passion of Michael’s and it has motivated him to stand up for others throughout his life.
- Michael has learnt that you cannot control what happens to you but you can control how you react to it.
- Michael was accepted into Harvard in the US but also applied to international schools including Australia.
- At the age of 19, Michael moved to Australia after choosing Griffith University for his studies.
- Michael’s impression of Australia and the concept of choosing the family who supports and challenges us.
- At Griffith University, Michael completed a double degree in Law and Environmental Science.
- Michael started his journey in law-land in environmental legislation and policy.
- A day in the life of an environmental lawyer and what sort of work Michael conducts.
- Choosing a degree that leads to your dream job and the difference between being lucky and actively seeking your path.
- After a leopard print jacket sparked a difficult comment, Michael started an LGBTI+ student mentoring program at McCullough Robertson called ‘McColour’.
- Michael explores how we establish gender equality in the workplace and shares some of his own experiences.
- The importance of diversity in the workplace and how much we have to learn from each other and our experiences.
- Michael’s experience of stereotypes and living true to who you are.
- Instead of making assumptions asking questions of those we do not understand.
- Michael is involved in “Pride in Law’ and shares not only his experience but the changes he has seen in others.
- Michael’s advice for those who are facing hardship and stereotypes in and outside of the law.
- Being confident in who you are, in Michael’s experience, can have a positive effect on your career.
- Discomfort in our lives can lead to learning – embrace it!
- Michael’s Happiness Tip.
Sit back and enjoy this interview with Michael Biddy.