2020 Katrina Dawson Award through the NSW Bar Association

Congratulations to Kathleen Heath, recipient of the 2020 NSW Bar Association Katrina Dawson Award. She is now the sixth recipient of the Award, which is organised and sponsored by the NSW Bar. Kathleen continues to reflect the values of the Award being given to incredibly impressive, community-minded female lawyers who are keen to not only succeed professionally, but also to encourage, and care for those around, and coming after them.

Kathleen has an abiding interest in access to justice and public interest cases, and…“As a barrister, I hope to show leadership in this regard by taking on pro bono and public interest cases, and continuing to serve my clients with compassion and diligence”, she said.


Kathleen graduated from the University of Sydney with a combined Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Economics and Social Sciences, where she was awarded the University Medal in Law. She has also received a Fulbright Scholarship and a Frank Knox Memorial Fellowship, with which she completed a Master of Laws at Harvard Law School, with a focus on criminal law and was awarded the Scholar’s Prize in Criminal Justice Policy. In 2014 and 2015, Kathleen worked as tipstaff to Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC when she was President of the NSW Court of Appeal.


And as already noted, shehas an abiding interest in access to justice and public interest cases. Between 2016 and 2020 she served as a lawyer at the Aboriginal Legal Service of WA (ALSWA). In 2018 she received the annual Hodge Award from the Criminal Lawyers’ Association of WA, in recognition of her contribution as a young lawyer to the practice of criminal law in WA. Prior to ALSWA, Kathleen had volunteered with organisations in both Australia and the United States, among them: ArchCity Defenders and the National Lawyers Guild (St Louis); the Capital Post-Conviction Project of Louisiana (New Orleans); and the NSW Public Defenders Office.


Kathleen is already conscious of the importance of collegiality in the legal profession generally and at the NSW Bar in particular; “... Many barristers have been generous with their time and advice as I’ve prepared to come to the Bar, and I hope to be in position to pay forward their kindness to new barristers in the future”.

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