Go West: Gratitude is giving youth a fair go, says lawyer Deng Adut
WESTERN Sydney took him in, gave him an education and a place to call home.
And now renowned lawyer Deng Adut is giving back to the community that welcomed him in after fleeing war-torn Sudan.
The 32-year-old offers free legal aid to troubled youth in western Sydney through his co-founded law firm in Blacktown. “I think of myself as owing debts to the West. I am practising the concept of a fair go as I was taught here,” Mr Adut said.
After a chance encounter with a troubled 18-year-old, Mr Adut has since been inspired to help Western Sydney youth through pro bono cases. “He told me that his lawyer had abandoned him, because he had run out of money,” Mr Adut said in a speech at the Western Sydney University Out There conference.
“I told him he could appeal to the District Court. I offered to help him, free of charge. His eyes lit up. So I took his case and his appeal was successful on all grounds.”
Mr Adut now does at least two pro bono cases a week. “If a kid has been in the wrong place at wrong time and finds himself facing a common assault charge, which doesn’t carry a jail sentence, that kid won’t get legal aid,” Mr Adut said.
“They get caught up in the justice system and find themselves in front of a judge again and again. That’s why it’s so important they get proper representation the first time.”
Co-founder of AC Law Firm, Joseph Correy said that they wanted to provide representation for young people who otherwise wouldn’t have any.
AC Law Firm has been nominated for the small business grant as a part of the Champions of the West campaign, through the Daily and Sunday Telegraph.