My husband and I moved here from Nigeria for greener pastures. It was a massive decision for us, because our son was only 11 months old at that time. Also, although I am a lawyer, my qualifications weren’t immediately recognised here, so I had to repeat part of my undergraduate degree, and redo the entire legal practice component as well, which wasn’t easy with a young child.
After I finally finished and was admitted to practise in Queensland, I put in applications everywhere but because I didn’t have local experience, I couldn’t find a job anywhere. In the end, I contacted a lawyer who allowed me to do work experience with her. Then I started putting in applications again.
Finally, I found a job as a Probation and Parole Reporting officer in corrective services, but it meant I had to travel to remote places like Goondiwindi, Pittsworth and Inglewood. Some days, we would finish late and I would have to spend the night there. Other days, I was one of the last parents to pick up my kids from daycare, and I was ridden with guilt. But throughout all that, my husband was so supportive.
Later, I gave up that job because I didn’t feel good about the time I had to spend away from my children and because I really wanted to practise as a lawyer. Again, it wasn’t easy to find work, so I took it upon myself to network in the local area, as well as going into law offices to share my CV. Finally, I found work at a law practice in Gatton as a junior lawyer. When I found out I had work in my field, I was elated!
After that, I was able to get a job as a family lawyer with Legal Aid, which was a fantastic training ground. Four years later, I moved on to another practice in Inala, where I am now a senior lawyer. I am also part of a professional group of African lawyers called the Bar Table. This year, we set up a mentoring program to support law students and junior lawyers.
I remember a conversation I had one day with a junior lawyer who thought I was lucky to have the job I do, until I told her my story about how I got to this point in my career. I told her it doesn’t matter if you get your degree here or overseas because the market is not easy for anyone at the moment and you need to work hard. It’s really important to learn what employers want in a CV and how to compose yourself in interviews, and then to get out and speak with people rather than just waiting for jobs to come to you.
It doesn’t mean people won’t have their prejudices, but if you work hard I believe you will get something back for it.
Photographer: Krystle Sempf www.instagram.com/krystle_lcp
Read more unique stories in the New Humans of Australia coffee table book. The perfect gift or conversation starter! www.newhumansofaustralia.org
#migrant #migration #inspiration #Nigeria #Queensland #Australia #lawyer #law #storiesnotstereotypes
Wow – so glad that all your hard work paid off Chi! Thanks for bringing all your skills to bear here and help making Australia such a fantastic (& fair!) place to live!
Fantastic, thank you for sharing!
Very inspirational! Congrats on getting where you are. Very well deserved!!
Well done Chi, your story is very inspiring! ????
Goosebumps!! Never give up! What a key lesson here! ☺️☺️
well done! congratulations on your successes, keep it up!
Welcome and what a great story you have. I have a feeling there is a lot more will be added to it. All the best for your family.
Are there ever any stories that don’t make me cry?
Wow Chi, good on you! Keep up the good work and keep going ✊ Best wishes to your family xo
We are lucky to have you here!
Well done……never give up!!!????
Super Proud of you Chi-chi.
Read more inspiring stories in the New Humans of Australia coffee table book. The perfect gift or conversation starter! http://www.newhumansofaustralia.org
Magnificent! I truly hope you and your whole family feel comfortable and happily ‘at home’ here!
You have worked so hard – I salute you. Congratulations on your success.
Hi Chi! Congratulations! You are an inspiration. If you would like to encourage law students from the world’s poorest nations, check out Lexlead.org.
You are a beautiful lady, welcome to you & your family – may you all be happy here in Oz! ????
Christian Bonal Rayes this is how my ancestors and I do it ????
Persistence and patience always pay off. Good luck in your future endeavours. I’m sure, given your story, you will continue to be sucessful????????
What a fighting spirit you have to keep on preserving despite all those obstacles! And now you reach out and help others! That is awesome. Inspiring woman!
So muche determination x Australia is so very lucky to have your family
Proud of you girl, keep the flag flying
One proud sister here just grinning from ear to ear! ????????
A few years ago I tried to set up an Inala Professionals LinkedIn group. I’m from Inala and thought of all the professionals who have come from there or work there now and how we could offer mentoring and coaching to younger people. I had one response only and it never went anywhere.
Awe inspiring. What an asset to Australian society!
We are blessed that you have chosen Australia. Thank you for your determination to pursue your dream ????
What an inspirational woman. Fighting multiple glass ceilings as a migrant, as a woman of colour, as a woman AND a mother! Wishing her all the best, and a big thanks from those like myself who can see that despite the adversity it is all possible with inner strength, a strong support network and hard hard work.
I am proud of you. The Almighty God will give you the strength and the ability to carry on.
Well done Mary! It’s been a long time since you did work experience with us. So happy for you. xx
Happy for you❤️that you can now practice in the area of law that you will do the most good too. Passion for your particular path benefits everyone ????
Well done babe, you deserve an accolade. Na them go rush you
Well done sis, you’re an inspiration. Love your passion for family, community and service. More grace????????????????????????????????????????????????????
Bravo you. Australia needs more persistent, intelligent passionate people like you.I wish you all good things.
Another wonderful new Australian! Thank you for your contribution to our society Chi ????
Thank you for sharing this inspirational story…this struggle is real and experienced by so many who come to this country. We are a better society, because you are here!
Love your determination and stickability Chi, all the very best for your future. xx
Chi, this is just a tip of the iceberg when it comes to the story of your capablities, struggles and dedication. For most of us that knew you way back in college, you were exceptional, intelligent, hardworking, always up to the task. Moot court champion! Astute researcher! You were a mentor to many of us, I am not surprised where you are today, you have paid your dues, you had a good foundation and most especially you passed through all with your signature smile on your face that makes all seem so easy. Keep up the good work dear, they are so lucky to have you.
Thankyou for sharing your story and we are the lucky ones for having you here.
Thankyou for not giving up
Thank you Tracy I love reading these stories
Good luck and I hope you do well in your career
Weldone chi baby. Keep it up. May God be with you
Chi you are a wonderful inspiration.
Sounds like one of those stories from the story book….but then the struggle is real….keep it up sis
Well done Chi. So proud of your achievements.
I personally have used her services…she knows the law
So glad you’re … thanks for sharing ❤️
Well done Chi, hard work pays????????????????
Well done Chi! Your hard work is paying off ????????
Way to go my super smart and ever stylish and beautiful friend