“There are many underprivileged individuals in this world who don’t know what their rights are. This is why I became a lawyer, to help and represent the ‘little people’.”
-Attorney Jessica Cheung
Attorney Jessica Cheung’s story started out in 1990. The young attorney was born in Hong Kong and moved to Australia along with her family when she was 8 years old. Cheung knew she wanted to be a lawyer from then on, after being inspired by a legal TV show she used to watch in Hong Kong. The show depicted lawyers and characters representing people who couldn’t access legal aid, against big corporations.
She delved into the legal world in 2011 when she was just 21. The studious lawyer-to-be was not only a student of law obtaining a Bachelor’s in Law, but also clinched a deal working full-time as a law clerk at Sydney’s leading personal injury compensation firm. The full course, and workload, didn’t deter the budding lawyer from pursuing her lifelong ambition of becoming a lawyer for the people.
Cheung’s tough grind proved extremely fruitful when she was sworn in as a lawyer in the Supreme Court of New South Wales. The date also coincided with Independence Day, symbolizing the arduous journey she traversed to get to where she was meant to be and her role in aiding the freedom of those who needed it the most.
At the moment, Cheung works for another leading plaintiff personal injury compensation firm in Sydney. Her tenacity has led her back to her dream, and she has been able to live it, just like she always knew she would. Just like she did as a law student, Cheung juggles full-time case work with pro bono work. She engages in pro bono work through the RACS (Refugee Advice and Casework Service). The center hosts the J4R (Justice for Refugees) program that Cheung works pro bono for.
Volunteering as a pro bono instructing solicitor, Cheung assists barristers in taking refugee claims to the Federal Circuit Court. The refugees get in touch with RACS for legal aid, and RACS recommends an attorney who is available for the same. When the referral goes through, the pro bono attorneys like Cheung meet the client, ready their submissions, and finally appear for directions and hearings in the Court.
In addition to providing legal pro bono aid, Cheung helps out at her local church. She mainly offers assistance with their City Care project, where she makes a distinction between pro bono legal aid and the work here which is community support.
“I don’t just want to be a ‘lawyer’ but I want to build and be that bridge to close the claim between social injustice and inequality.”
What drove Cheung to pro bono and volunteer work is her staunch belief in the idea that everyone is entitled to the right legal service and proper representation. She says the legal system is “not just for those who can afford it, but should be accessible to everyone.”
For more information, contact Cheung directly!