Episode 181 – Happiness through connection and being true to you with Barrister Avelina Tarrago
In this week’s episode of the ‘Happy Lawyer Happy Life Podcast’ I had the pleasure of interviewing Barrister Avelina Tarrago. Having known from a young age that law was her calling, Avelina has built a successful career as an advocate. Avelina is a proud Aboriginal woman and the current President of the Indigenous Lawyers Association of Queensland. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to discuss her culture- how it has and continues to influence her life and the important role she has played in advocating for her people through her work.
Avelina, like so many of my guests, has had a fascinating career to date (and I sense she is only just getting started!) Having received a cadetship with the Commonwealth DPP while at University, she has had the opportunity to explore many varied aspects of legal practice and just last year made the shift to the private Bar. Avelina has a great outlook on life in the law and lots of wonderful insights on our role in the broader community. This is an interview that will have you smiling, thinking and pondering the importance of connection to place and people when it comes to happiness.
In this interview, Avelina and I also chatted about-
- If Avelina was not a lawyer she would have found her way into marine biology and science.
- Avelina is a woman of Aboriginal descent and shares her cultural connection to both the land and sea.
- Avelina shares the importance of going out to her country at least once a year- why connection to place means so much.
- Self-identity and the role of history and origins takes in all of us.
- The balance of keeping our current COVID situation in perspective to others who are experiencing hardship.
- Avelina grew up in Jimboomba, on over 10 acres of land and attended school in Brisbane City.
- How Avelina came to be in law-land after finding a strong sense of advocacy from grade 5.
- Avelina started the study of law at QUT at the young age of 17.
- She always had a clear vision of advocacy and was driven to take her law studies to support Aboriginal and Torris Strait Islander communities.
- Avelina started a cadetship at the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions where she shares her experience of learning and practising law.
- Without a history of lawyers in her family, Avelina found huge value in creating connections with colleagues and the mentorship she has received over her time there.
- During her time at the DPP, she worked in many areas including fraud, legal policy work, commercial, insolvent trading, drug infiltration matters and valued the chance to try so many differing areas.
- Avelina was given the opportunity through secondments to work within the Murri Court and explains how this court is structured.
- Following her time at the DPP she spent time in the coroner’s office and the health ombudsmen, while completing the Bar Practice Course.
- Avelina’s experience of moving into the Private Bar.
- Avelina was one of the first Aboriginal and Torris Strait Islander women at the Bar in Queensland and her perspective on leadership in her community.
- Standing on your own two feet as well as balancing your cultural roots.
- Avelina currently focuses on coronial legal representation at the Bar and feels a real sense of pride in being a voice for someone who is no longer with us.
- We discuss flexibility in the law following the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Avelina is the President of the Indigenous Lawyers Association of Queensland.
- Kindness transcends race, age and culture which Avelina has seen not only in her chamber group but in her local community.
- Avelina’s Happiness Tip.
Sit back and enjoy this interview with Avelina Tarrago