Lachlan Auld is not one for making excuses.
He did not complain when he and his three disabled siblings were bullied at school, and had to be home-schooled.
Instead the experience of growing up with three disabled siblings in the small town of Ardlethan in rural New South Wales, only inspired Auld to pursue a career in law to “act for those who are unable to fend for themselves”.
“The prejudices of a small country town were significant and soon resulted in bullying perpetrated against my siblings, and by extension, myself,” he said.
“The local school failed to appropriately accommodate for the needs of my siblings, and after several years of proactive efforts made by my parents to stimulate change in this regard, they decided to home-school us from the time I was in year six.”
Auld’s sense of social justice was, as a result formed at an early age.
But learning at an early age to also be a “self-driven, independent worker”, has also served the University of Wollongong graduate well.
His parents spent most of their time teaching and catering for his siblings’ needs, so Auld essentially taught himself between grades six and 10.
“I remember getting up at five, six in the morning and just smashing it [study] out,” Auld said.
“It was the same when I went to Wade High School [in Griffith] to do my HSC.
“I’m still very self-driven and a good independent worker.”
At Tuesday’s UOW graduations, the 27-year-old was awarded the University Medal for being the most outstanding law student in his year of graduation.
Auld graduated with a Bachelor of Laws with 1st Class Honours and a Bachelor of Commerce with Distinction.
The honour comes on the back of Auld securing a prestigious High Court Associateship with Justice Virginia Bell.
Only two UOW students had previously received this honour in the UOW Law School’s 25-year history.
“There are only seven justices on the High Court and a hell of a lot of graduates applying for positions – so it is a pretty good score, I’m pretty fortunate,” Auld said.
He said UOW Associate Professor Dr Julia Quilter had been particularly helpful.
“Aside from epitomising brilliance in teaching and academia, and crystallising my passion for criminal law, Julia has been incredibly giving, supportive, and proactive in guiding me down the right path,” Auld said.
Justice Natalie Adams, of the NSW Supreme Court, whom Auld has been working for, has also been an “incredible mentor”.