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Bond law alumnus overcomes tragic accident and creates positive career

Clare Sultmann moved to the Gold Coast in 1998 after obtaining a part scholarship to study law at Bond.  Clare commenced at Bond in January 1998 and completed her Bachelor of Laws degree in May 2000. Clare then relocated to Sydney to complete professional legal training, and also began working at KPMG in the area of taxation. Clare lived in Bondi Beach with her flatmate and ran 10km on a daily basis.

On the morning of the 18 August 2000, Clare went for her usual morning jog. About 500metres from her apartment, she crossed onto a pedestrian crossing and a garbage truck quickly rounded the corner without seeing her. The truck not only ran over Clare but it stopped on top of her, with both legs bearing the full weight of the truck. Clare was trapped for 37 minutes before the Police Rescue Squad was able to move her - the most horrific of her life as she was conscious the whole time. The pain was indescribable.

Immediately after the accident Clare had to cease working for a few years. She was able to return on a part-time basis but had to continually take time off due to further surgery and hospitalisation. Clare has had 37 operations in total over a period of 8 years due to the accident.

Against all odds but with great tribulation, Clare has since learnt to walk again and has discovered a great satisfaction of life that many aspire to.

After finishing with KPMG, Clare did some locum work for a friend who was overseas on holidays in a Family Law firm in Sydney, in addition to working with a group of Barristers at State Chambers in Sydney doing research on a part time basis for about 14 months.

When Clare returned to Brisbane, she worked with the charity Youngcare as their Funding and Legal Representative before undertaking the Bar course in Queensland in June 2008 and being admitted as a Barrister at Law in Queensland in July 2008. Clare is currently on maternity leave from that role.

After such a horrific accident Clare could only get through it all due to, “An inner determination that this horrific life altering event would not beat me. The love and support of family- especially my parents as well as friends and a belief in god sustained me through the darkest times.”

Clare loved her time at Bond University and is still very close to a number of friends she made while studying.  After obtaining a part scholarship, Clare accepted the offer as she believed the law faculty to be one of the best due to the learning environment in the small class sizes, student-focussed mentality of staff, and the academic’s desire to see their students achieve.

Clare’s advice for future Bond graduates is, “Work hard and study hard. Plan for the future but do not always expect it to go the way you thought. I know my plans certainly changed in a millisecond through no fault of mine. The biggest piece of advice I can give is to keep moving forward, no matter what obstacles you may have to overcome.”

Clare has since released a book, ‘Standing On My Own Two Feet’ published by Halstead Press which was launched at All Hallows’ School on 16 May 2013. All Hallows’ was Clare’s old High School so a wonderful and very sentimental place to launch it. There were 300 in attendance and Simon Lockyer, a good friend and founding CEO of Youngcare, launched the book. All profits from the sale of the book are being donated to the charity Youngcare. Books can be purchased through or alternatively at local bookstores.

Clare now lives in Noosa with her husband Campbell and two sons, William aged 2 and Joseph 10 months. She is enjoying being on maternity leave and spending time with her family at the beach and catching up with friends.


 Clare's story was also profiled in the Summer Edition of The Arch Magazine. Click here to read the article.

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