Emma and fiance, Raymond French - Photo: Chris Gleisner
Emma and fiance, Raymond French - Photo: Chris Gleisner

Meet the rising powerhouse of Aboriginal justice

THE future of Indigenous legal services and practices is looking bright thanks to proud Yaegl woman Emma Langton.

And to think, it all started with a Year 11 Legal Studies class.

"We were looking at native title and it sparked an interest in me; I thought this is something I can do to help my people," she said.

Earlier this month, Ms Langton received the 2020 Michelle Crowther PSM Excellence in Government Legal Service Award for her years of dedication toward improving outcomes for Aboriginal people in the justice sector.

However, Ms Langton, who currently works as a senior solicitor in the Aboriginal Services Branch in Sydney, said her biggest achievement has been her involvement with the creation of the Best Practice Standards for Representing Aboriginal Clients.

"The project required a combination of legal, community and cultural expertise to provide a comprehensive document that will be an invaluable resource for any practitioners working with Aboriginal clients," she said.


Emma Langford at the award ceremony.
Emma Langford at the award ceremony.


Ms Langton said the document has since become a crucial starting point for legal practitioners when thinking about the best practice for their Indigenous clients.

"We're hoping the wider profession will adopt these standards; it's not the be all and end all, but something we think all practitioners need to know," she said.

"This is the best thing about being Aboriginal and having a law degree; I can combine the two to navigate this legal world from an Aboriginal perspective."

Ms Langton said her recent win was inspiring others in her family.

"One of my cousins congratulated me on the award and said 'I'm going to think of that when I'm struggling with my studies, that hard work and determination gets you places'; It's really amazing to be able to inspire people like that especially our young Goori people," she said

As for Ms Langton, she credits her family for all that she's achieved.

"Growing up, I was always reminded of our family stories and the fact that my grandparents never had a formal education, so my family always encouraged me to take advantage of every opportunity," she said.