Guru in the Spotlight: Jessica Horn

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Q: What area at KWM do you work in and what is your specialisation?

A: I am part of the Graduate Program in Sydney. My first rotation was in the Intellectual Property team in Dispute Resolution, my second was a secondment to the Arts Law Centre of Australia, and my current rotation is in the Environment & Planning team.

Q: How long have you been with the firm?

A: I first started working at KWM as a summer clerk in the 2017-2018 cohort, and then commenced as a graduate in the 2019 cohort.

Q: Why are you passionate about our Community Impact programme?

A: I love having the opportunity to get involved with a diversity of work that I might not otherwise see as a junior or as a corporate lawyer. The Community Impact programme gives me an avenue to develop purpose in my work while also challenging myself.

Q: What projects or programs have you been involved in recently?

A: I have been involved in a variety of aspects of the Community Impact programme, including being part of the Talk Law program and assisting on pro bono matters and projects. My most substantial involvement has been with the Arts Law Centre of Australia, where I spent 6 months of last year on secondment. Arts Law is the only national community legal centre for artists and provides a broad spectrum of advice spanning intellectual property law, consumer law, defamation law, employment law and tax law.

Q: Any stories you can share?

A: A large part of Arts Law's work is with Indigenous artists, particularly those in remote and very remote communities who wouldn't otherwise have access to legal advice. I was fortunate to go on an Outreach trip with Arts Law CEO Robyn Ayres and KWM partner Travis Toemoe to the Central Australian desert. We worked in three communities, (Indulkana, Mimili and Pukatja), drafting wills for eminent and emerging Indigenous artists and working through other issues as they arose. The conditions were very different from a standard day in the Sydney office – we worked primarily through translators, in public spaces, and sometimes while clients were occupied with painting. I am very grateful for the experience and think the service Arts Law provides to remote and very remote communities is invaluable.

Q: Why do you get involved? What are your motivations?

A: There are three main motivators for me when I engage with the Community Impact programme: to challenge myself, to provide or facilitate the provision of assistance, and to strengthen the purpose I feel in my work as a lawyer.

Q: What skills or experiences have you gained through this work?

A: A standard day in the office at Arts Law involved giving a series of telephone advices to clients, as well working on advocacy projects for Arts Law. As a junior, having my own clients and my own advices to write gave me the opportunity to learn skills in communication, client management and plain language expression. The work I did with the Artists in the Black division of Arts Law, which focuses on Indigenous artists, and the Outreach trip, helped me to grow my cultural competence skills.

Q: What tips do you have for others thinking about getting involved in the Community Impact programme?

A: There are so many different projects and aspects to the Community Impact programme. My advice would be to think about what you're passionate about and get in touch with the team to find out what projects or programs they have which will align with that.


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