Jessica Kitch, Wiradjuri, Solicitor at Aboriginal Legal Service
What is the best thing about working in Dubbo?
For me, it’s all about engaging with my community. I’m originally from Wellington and am a proud Wiradjuri woman. At the Aboriginal Legal Service, I find I am often coming across people I grew up with, and I really enjoy that sense of community.
What is the biggest challenge about living in the country?
The flipside of knowing clients is the heartbreak at how different my life has become compared to people I’ve grown up with. Knowing the people and knowing their stories is difficult. There are real people’s lives at stake. You see those effects more readily in a small community as opposed to Sydney.
Why did you want to pursue law?
In Year 8, I spent a lot of time at the Wellington Prime Time Youth Care (PTYC) and got to know the other kids. One of the boys stopped showing up and, when I next saw him, he said he’d been in juvenile detention. That’s when I started asking questions. He wasn’t a bad person, why was he involved in this system? That led me down the track of pursuing law.
What are you most passionate about?
I’m passionate about finding real solutions. Sometimes as a criminal defence lawyer it feels like you’re just putting Band-Aids on people’s issues. I want to come up with solutions to the issues that lead people into this system in the first place. Things like getting a drug rehab for Dubbo and getting justice reinvestment working in Wellington.
Any quirks to country practice?
Sometimes, when the sun is shining, I’ll conference my clients on the lawn. It puts them at ease. Another quirk is the little in-jokes at court. One time, the door at Dubbo local court was playing up and kept beeping. The Sheriff told me it was because I wasn’t standing on a specific line. I corrected my step and they all laughed. Now it’s an ongoing joke.
Best coffee in Dubbo?
So hard to choose! Press, Black Tambourine and The Local.