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Age of reason

Age of reason

Intelligence, resilience and aptitude can be found at all ages.

On 1 July this year, I was appointed to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal as a full-time member. My role involves presiding over cases, determining factual issues, applying the law and handing down decisions.

Age diversity in the workplace

As young lawyers, I think we’re taught to doubt everything, and often that can extend to ourselves. But, there is a place for youth in leadership and on boards and tribunals. I think we are at a point in time where it is almost intuitive for workplaces to know that diversity matters. Not only does it make sense, it is also a competitive differentiator for those who can do it well, particularly when that diversity is represented at the top level of an organisation.

Workplaces are becoming increasingly intelligent about cultural and gender representation. But there is advantage in extending this to age diversity. Age diversity is not necessarily deserving of equality campaigns or quotas. But it is worthy of discussion, with the most important point being – keep an open mind.

Life experience is not always gained in years. Intelligence, work ethic, resilience and aptitude can be found at all ages. It cannot substitute for decades of work experience. But it can complement it.

A few words to young lawyers

Build resilience. Those who know me know I have survived some strange and wonderful times. I think most people will have at least one truly life-changing experience that either makes you or breaks you. One in which you can only survive if you have the right combination of smarts and heart and hope and humour. If you do have these qualities, then be certain you also have the tools to turn it around.

Be grateful. Whenever I am struggling to find ways to be thankful I think of my family. It’s the best way to ground yourself. I am a product of the incredible examples they’ve set for me – an unrelenting work ethic and sense of social responsibility.

Have respect. Everyone thinks it’s harder for their generation. It’s part of the marvellous solipsism of youth. But instead of self-indulging, learn as much as you can from those around you and remember that this feeling will inevitably end. Maybe sooner than you had hoped.

Find yourself a mentor. I am fortunate to have had a couple of remarkable managers over my career, namely Scott Bruckard and David Ryan. I wish I had the space to detail the profound affect each had on me. They are people who led from behind, empowering me to rise through the ranks. Except when problems arose, and then they jumped in front putting themselves on the line. My mentors supported me in ways I didn’t know I needed; but also pushed me to achieve things I never thought I could.

 

Jade Murphy is 32 and the youngest member sitting on the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in Australia. Previously she practised in litigation at state and federal government agencies.


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