​Felicity Zempilas (House)

1988 Collegian

1988-Felicity-Zempilas-portrait

I completed a Bachelor of Laws at UWA in 1993. I worked in the criminal sector of the Aboriginal Legal Service between 1994 and '96, then as a state prosecutor with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions until 2002, when my first child was born.

My biggest challenge along the way was balancing work and a family. I went and looked for other options that would give me work challenges and some time with my family, so if I was at work I was doing something meaningful and valued rather than wasting my time that I could better spend with my family.

It was at that time I left the DPP. I went and created a position for myself which would give me the challenges at work that wanted and the sense of being appreciated and valued in what I did, but at the same time some flexibility to allow me to still care for my family. That was at the Coroner's Office. I had much more control over my workload.

I was appointed a magistrate in August 2009 and, working with two other magistrates, we cover the largest region in Australia including a number of remote Aboriginal communities.

I sit on criminal, civil and family court matters and also act as a mining warden. I am also currently a member of the woman's lawyers committee, which considers gender bias in criminal law and I have also been involved in the Francis Burt Law Education Centre Committee and Mock Trials along with the Coronial Ethics Committee and the professional development of local lawyers. I also speak to school groups about the role of the courts.

With the support of a wonderful husband, Con, I am able to balance raising my children with building a career.

I believe my greatest professional achievements have been assisting many people; accused, victims of crime, families of deceased people and facilitating their access to the justice system. I hope to instill in my two wonderful children the values of fairness, tolerance and honesty, which I learned at MLC.

I also learned the discipline of being self-motivated and to value my female colleagues and the importance of supporting each other.

On MLC: My fondest memories of MLC are the things we did as a group or team; drama productions and Heather Lamont Festival, camps and the collegiality of Year 12 and all the activities throughout the final year.