Not your average textbook lawyer

If you’d just finished six years at university tackling a combined Commerce (Accounting) and Law degree, it would be fair to assume you might have your eyes pinned on a prized graduate position—perhaps at a big law or accounting firm in one of the nation’s capitals.

But Megan Highfold, a Kokatha woman from South Australia, wasn’t your average graduate. Upon finishing her degree she packed the car and headed to Alice Springs, where she took up a position with the Central Land Council working with their legal team for the Tennant Creek mob.

After several years in the desert, she was ready for a sea change, so when she saw an opportunity to join KRED Enterprises she jumped at it. In her role as In-house Counsel she’s now responsible for representing Traditional Owners and KRED’s members in commercial negotiations with proponents—which includes discussing the initial terms of heritage protection agreements.

“I really connect with KRED’s cultural values about looking after all its members and I especially like the negotiations around agreements. It’s exciting to be able to make strong terms that protect Country and also provide a future for Aboriginal people in communities,” Megan says.

She’s adamant that there’s nothing more crucial than protecting Country.

“Country is everything to us. Control over our Country, our land, is so important to our health and our spiritual well-being. Country is what keeps us going. And it’s been great to be working in the Kimberley and to be welcomed onto other people’s Country.”

At this stage, she doesn’t see herself lured away by the ritz, dazzle and fat paychecks of city law firms.

“I’m really proud of working for KRED, an Aboriginal Charitable Foundation that’s owned by its members. We’ve got a power block of mobs from across the Kimberley and we’re generating money to help other Aboriginal people in the region. I’m getting the chance to manage so many different things and it’s challenging, because there’s not always a textbook answer to problems!”