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Standing up for justice

Standing up for justice

By LIV Publications



Monash University Masters of Law student Naomi McClellan has travelled the world as a human rights advocate. Naomi McClellan believes young Australian lawyers need to get back to basics. “The practice of law carries with it the necessary social and political capital that bestows an obligation on lawyers to be vocal and resist unjust government policies,” Ms McClellan said.

When it comes to pursuing justice as a vocation, these aren’t mere words. The 28-year-old walks the walk.

The Masters of Law student has travelled the world as a human rights advocate with Monash University’s Law School.

Her work has focused on women’s empowerment, LGBTQI rights and maternal health in Nepal and Kenya.

As an undergraduate at Monash, Ms McClellan worked in Accra, Ghana, as a human rights intern with the Law School’s Castan Centre for Human Rights Law.

In Ghana, she coupled field work with legal research into gender-based violence, including female genital mutilation.

During her studies, Ms McClellan took up a year-long role through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as an Australian Youth Ambassador for Development. She was posted to a rural health centre in the small community of Odede, 500 kilometres west of Nairobi, Kenya. It was in Kenya that she fell in love with her now husband Barry.

Barry grew up in Kisumu, Kenya, not far from the village where Barack Obama’s grandmother lives. “Kenya has now become a second home for me,” Ms McClellan said. “My family in Kenya is probably bigger than my family in Australia.”

Now working in Melbourne as a first-year lawyer, she aspires to become part of a “formidable force that defends the rights of the neglected”.

She said it was always clear she would return to Monash to kick-start the next chapter of her journey. “When it came to selecting a law school to do my Masters, the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law is one of the many amazing aspects that made selecting Monash Law School easy,” Ms McClellan said.

“Also, the location of the Monash Law Chambers in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD is brilliant. I often walk there after work, which is very convenient.”

Ms McClellan continues to pursue human rights law by volunteering, most recently at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre and with Australian Lawyers for Human Rights.

Ms McClellan said her personal ambition is to be wholeheartedly herself. “In the words of Oscar Wilde, ‘Be yourself; everyone else is already taken’.”

To learn more about the Masters of Law (LLM) at Monash University, visit


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