New Perimeter

Our Global Pro Bono Initiative
Sarah Mellowes

Sarah Mellowes

Solicitor, Sydney

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1. What inspired you during the project?

The Nepalese female lawyers were incredibly inspiring. Despite the significant cultural and socioeconomic barriers facing them on a daily basis, they had the most incredible passion for the law and for justice. Even in the most incredible circumstances they want to practice law, and their dedication and desire to bring about a change in their society was truly inspiring. Dressed in vibrantly colored saris and kurtas they navigated the mayhem of Kathmandu traffic on their scooters, taking six days out of their professional and family lives to attend the training program. They brought an incredible amount of determination and enthusiasm to the training sessions every day, and it was so fantastic to see their confidence increase over the week. The energy and talent of the women lawyers in Nepal is truly motivating. It is programs like these that will assist in ensuring their success as legal professionals and advocates for equality and change.    

2. What was the most fulfilling aspect of the work?

One of the most fulfilling aspects of the work was collaborating with my colleagues from around the world to deliver a program which really made a difference and had an impact on the Nepalese female lawyers we were training. It was about providing an international perspective to give Nepalese female lawyers exposure to international legal knowledge, skills, attitudes and networks. Overwhelmingly, the feedback from the trainees was that the training developed their confidence, and was an opportunity to create and expand their networks. At the end of the week, the Nepalese female lawyers had formed the Women Lawyers Club of Nepal. It was fantastic to see that the training provided an opportunity for the women to expand their networks and collaborate with other female professionals. The training also provided a forum to discuss the challenges unique to women in the legal field. Many of the international trainers shared their stories about obstacles faced in their own jurisdictions and discussed strategies to overcome the challenges, including the incorporation of flexible work practices, affordable childcare and professional women’s organizations.   

3. What one word describes your New Perimeter trip?

Transformative.

My trip to Nepal with New Perimeter was truly life changing and certainly the highlight of my professional career. It left me inspired and re-energized, and it reminded me of why I wanted to become a lawyer. As lawyers, it is really important to recognize the responsibility we have to society. We have the power to make a difference, which at the time might seem small and insignificant, but which can have incredibly far-reaching consequences. The importance of pro bono work cannot be underestimated. Global law firms are in an excellent position as they have the resources and expertise to equip lawyers in underserved countries with the skills they need to strengthen legal systems and the rule of law in their own countries. The changes won't happen overnight, but they will happen! I met so many intelligent and amazing people from around the world and have made friends for life. I hope to continue my relationship with the female lawyers I met in Nepal and be involved in the program for years to come.

My trip to Nepal with New Perimeter was truly life changing and certainly the highlight of my professional career.”

Women's advancement