Bond University law academic, Tanya Diessel has added yet another feather to her cap after recently being named the 2017 Emergent Women Lawyer of the Year by the Women Lawyers Association of Queensland (WLAQ).
Ms Diessel who is a Semester Assistant Professor for the University’s Practical Legal Training (PLT) program, has been recognised for her high level of skill, contribution to the profession and advancement of the position of women in the legal profession by the WLAQ at their annual gala dinner.
Ms Diessel said she enjoyed sharing her passion for working with disadvantaged locals and the benefits of volunteering with her law students.
“I really enjoy providing my students with a different angle to the legal profession and bringing their attention to the reality behind working in the community and to help the more vulnerable and disadvantaged residents of the Gold Coast,” she said.
Ms Diessel’s true passion for law emerged after volunteering at the Gold Coast Community Legal Centre, where she was able to provide help to local community members who had nowhere else to go.
“It wasn’t until I started volunteering as a law student myself at the Gold Coast Community Legal Centre that I found my passion for law and where I wanted to spend my career,” she said.
“I enjoyed using my skills and knowledge to help those who, often through no fault of their own, were in trouble and unable to find the answer they needed.”
Her work in the community entails providing free legal advice, assistance, casework, duty lawyer services, information and referral to vulnerable and disadvantaged residents of the Gold Coast and more specifically with Family Law and Domestic Violence matters, as well as working as a domestic violence duty lawyer out of the Southport Domestic Violence Court.
Tanya has established and coordinated four separate law student clinics run out of the Gold Coast Community Legal Centre which provides 60 Bond University and Griffith University law students the opportunity to gain experience and exposure in a community legal centre every year.
“Previously there were no other opportunities like these for Gold Coast law students which meant they were having to travel to Brisbane to gain this experience,” she said.
“I run these clinics multiple times a year which means 60 law students each year get exposure and practical experience that would otherwise not be available,” she said.
In addition, Tanya provides volunteering opportunities to the legal profession through the Gold Coast Community Legal Centre evening walk-in Night Clinic.
Tanya has received multiple awards in recent years including 2016 Gold Coast Young Citizen of the Year, 2015 Gold Coast Young Achiever in Occupational Excellence, and the 2015 Jack Cranstoun Memorial Scholarship.