A family lawyer working in the City of Hope has been paid more per hour than her colleagues in other positions and even paid her own bills, a court has heard.
The case of Karen Abrash, a family lawyer in the city’s Inner West, has attracted attention after she was awarded more than a million dollars in salary and travel, including flights, accommodation and even meals.
Ms Abrush was paid $947,000 over six years as a family legal representative and travel costs totalled $1.9 million, the Court of Appeal heard on Wednesday.
She also received $1,100 per day in travel expenses, including $150 per day for her personal travel.
Ms Dolan said she had “dramatically” increased her hourly rate of pay from $8 to $10 an hour over the past six years.
The family lawyer had been working for the City Of Hope, a small, but booming, municipality that is home to about 50,000 people, but had not applied for a licence.
“The reality is that it’s not just for lawyers, it’s for people that are in a similar position, who are in similar roles, who want to get paid a fair amount of money,” the court heard.
“That’s a really unfair situation.”
Ms Aruch was working for a client of hers, a man with a mental health problem.
She said she worked at her own expense to pay for her own travel, and said she would have accepted a more lucrative position in her home town of Perth if she had been offered one.
She said her client’s mother was in a psychiatric unit in Brisbane and was receiving $150 a day.
In a submission to the court, Ms Dolan claimed she had spent more than half of her salary as a barrister on legal advice.
The lawyer argued she had a “good track record” as a lawyer and had not been “paid enough” for her work, which included a case with a man who was in custody for 14 years.
“My clients have been paid, on average, $50,000 for their legal work, they’ve been paid by their employer, and they’re happy,” she said.
Mr Justice Hinton said he accepted Ms Dameron’s claim that her work was a “gift” for the clients.
He told the court Ms D Cameron’s claims were “well founded”.
“The nature of your work is not the sort of thing you can make a gift for,” he said.
The court heard Ms Dogan’s case was not an isolated one.
The NSW Bar Association said it had received more than 5,000 submissions from family lawyers working for non-profit groups, as well as people who had worked as an attorney.
Topics:law-crime-and-justice,family-law,courts-and-(legal)-trials,crime,law-parliament,courthouses-and‑courts,courtyards-and‐councils,houston-4000,sydney-2000,perth-6000,wa,australiaFirst posted September 15, 2019 16:35:56Contact Rebecca FlemmingMore stories from New South Wales