Narellan Vale man helps break through barriers in legal industry

DELIGHTED: Narellan Vale's Clark Donovan holds up a special internship award. Picture: CareerTrackers
DELIGHTED: Narellan Vale's Clark Donovan holds up a special internship award. Picture: CareerTrackers

Clark Donovan grew up with one goal in mind - to show his wares in the NRL.

As a teen in Narellan Vale, he was a promising young talent who attended St Gregory's College to help fuel his rugby league dream.

However, the indigenous student's perspective was flipped when he copped a serious head knock during a game for St Greg's.

"I went to a doctor afterwards and he told me that I couldn't afford to get hit in the head again. So I switched my focus to studying law instead," he said.

Fast-forward a decade and the decision has paid dividends for Mr Donovan.

The 25-year-old is proving to be a trailblazer for young indigenous men striving for a career in the legal industry.

Mr Donovan is undertaking an internship at the prestigious Dentons law firm in Sydney.

The Macarthur man has been at Dentons since 2013 and undertakes a variety of tasks, from assisting with financial settlements to learning about the banking system.

He also juggles studying a bachelor of law and bachelor of languages at the University of Technology Sydney.

The opportunity was made possible with support from CareerTrackers, a national non-profit that links indigenous university students with employers for paid, multi-year internships.

Mr Donovan encouraged more indigenous men to follow his journey into the legal industry.

"It's humbling to be seen as an advocate for indigenous people," he said.

"But I feel like it's hard too because I don't have someone to lean on for support and advice."

Mr Donovan is proud of his indigenous heritage, representing the Gumbayngirr and Gunditjmara communities in Coffs Harbour and Victoria respectively.

He said he moved around a lot as a child because his parents worked with local lands councils.

"I had strong ties with the indigenous community from a young age," he said.

"[Unfortunately] there are a lot of issues with my community in the legal sphere. Aboriginals are over represented in criminal matters.

"It's challenging, but I hope to give people perspective on some stereotypes [about indigenous people]."

Mr Donovan is also passionate about speaking international languages.

He studies Mandarin at university, which has assisted with his legal work.

"I have been interested in China since we did a subject in school in Year 4," Mr Donovan said.

"We studied the Chinese culture and I started researching the language. I also had a lot of Chinese friends in my first year at university.

"I am passionate about the language because it opens up a lot of extra doors. I want to be able to communicate fluently with Chinese people in their native tongue."

Mr Donovan said he had a long-term goal of becoming a politician.

"I would like to one day represent my people in Parliament," he said.

"But that's a long way off, first I have repay those who have given me this opportunity."

Mr Donovan said he had simple advice for fellow young indigenous men.

"Always remember where you came from."