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Law alumni lead regional association

USQ's School of Law and Justice’s strong connection with the Darling Downs region was highlighted with three alumni appointed in the top spots of a law association.

USQ law graduates Sarah-Jane MacDonald (President), Amie Mish-Wills (Secretary) and Georgia Stafford (treasurer) join local solicitor Naomi Cox (Vice-President) in the leadership group of the Downs and South Western Queensland Law Association (DSWQLA) for 2019.

It is the oldest law association in Queensland, and solicitor Ms MacDonald is the youngest to sit in the role of president.

“I really am proud to be involved in a profession and in a region where the endorsement of those in the top four positions has been so forthcoming,” she said.

“These positions, for the first time in our history, are all women and under the age of 40.”

Ms MacDonald graduated in 2014 from USQ with a Bachelor of Laws, working full-time throughout her studies, with a local law firm her father owned.

She is now a Director at MacDonald Law and, whilst having a background in most areas of legal practice, her case load is largely in family law.

The Toowoomba-based solicitor said being in the association with fellow USQ alumni was something she felt very proud of. 

“I recall being in high school when it was announced the Bachelor of Laws was being offered at USQ’s Toowoomba campus,” she said.

“For me, this was a fantastic opportunity as it allowed me to work consistently in the field that I was striving to obtain accreditation in. 

“During my time at USQ, I was able to form connections with students who have now become my colleagues all around Australia. 

“Our time together at USQ has given us a foundation to build both a strong professional and personal relationship with one another.”

Ms MacDonald said she was a strong advocate of Toowoomba being able to offer top-notch education.

“Being able to stay in the region and complete all schooling from primary school to tertiary is important. Long gone are the days when people would leave Toowoomba to attend university and not return until they were having children of their own,” she said.

“USQ has been a big part of this change.”

USQ Head of Law and Justice Professor Reid Mortensen congratulated the 2019 Committee for DSWQLA.

“I know they have all worked incredibly hard and diligently in earlier roles and the new committee will be a dynamic collaboration,” Professor Mortensen said.

“It is wonderful to see our law graduates taking on these important roles that have an impact and influence on contributing greater access to law and justice in the regions, as well as building collegiality within the profession.”

For more than 10 years, USQ has been educating law students to develop the necessary knowledge, skills and values for graduates in law and preparing them for a range of legal careers.

The three-year Bachelor of Laws degree has been developed with an Advisory Committee of senior judges and lawyers and accredited by the Legal Practitioners Admissions Board as an academic qualification for admission as a lawyer in Queensland.

Find out more about studying law.

four women
DSWQLA leadership team (from left) Naomi Cox, Sarah-Jane MacDonald, Amie Mish-Wills and Georgia Stafford. Photo: Salt Studios