Free Newsletter sign-up
PM's farewell

Search Justinian
Justinian's news stories

Innovations in fee collection ... Barrister lightly spanked for sending disturbing fee threat to former clients ... "See what happens if you don't pay your bills" ... File leverage ... Agreement not to complain in exchange for the file ... NCAT bares its gums ... Read more ... 

Justinian Columnists

Do nothing in the new utopia ... Policy vacuums ... Private sector leaders are filling voids created by sleepwalking politicians ... Voice to parliament and global warming left in the cold - which, somehow, gets us to the casualisation of the workforce, particularly at universities ... Fly-in, fly-out law school lecturers ... Full Federal Court wrestles with a "casual employee" ... Read more ... 

Justinian's Tweets



Justinian's Bloggers

Time to act on Magnitsky ... Where's our Magnitsky Act? ... An effective way of dealing with corrupt individuals who violate human rights ... Lapsed Bill in the Commonwealth parliament ... The legacy of Russia's abuse of power and the calculated killing of state enemies ... Read more ... 

This form does not yet contain any fields.

    "I am really and truly pleased that I have been vindicated and that the court has preserved the presumption of innocence."   

    Tom Domican, "colourful" Sydney identity, who provided security services to a Kings Cross drug dealer, after settling for $100,000 his defamation case against nightclub entrepreneur John Ibrahim and Pan Macmillan. September 13, 2019 ... Read more flatulence ... 

    Justinian Featurettes

    David Hunt remembered ... Former NSW defamation judge and chief judge at common law ...The List with Socratic case management ... Defamation exotica ... Refinement of pleadings, perhaps over-refinement ... Prodigious worker ... International criminal law ... Tributes from Graham Hryce, David Rolph, Justice Mark Ierace and Judge Judith Gibson ... Read more ... 

    Justinian's archive

    Sentencing terror ... Fabulous sentencing transcript from County Court, Victoria ... Judge James Montgomery and counsel wrestle with the dates and the years ... Pythonesque proceedings ... Court reporter struggles to keep up ... Tears to the eyes ... From the archive, June 2012 ... Read more ... 



    « Rosalind Croucher | Main | Spice Temple »

    David Hillard On the Couch

    David HillardBankstown boy and graduate of Hurlstone Agricultural High School, with no family background in the legal profession, David Hillard studied law at the University of Sydney with the support of a Revesby Workers Club scholarship.

    He joined Clayton Utz in 1991 and worked as a commercial litigator before leaving in 1994 to join the Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW.

    He also became a stand-up comic, Theatresports personality and once accidentally addressed an anti-Russian uprising in Tatarstan.

    In 1997 David returned to Clayton Utz to become pro bono director, the first such role at a national law firm in Australia.

    In 2005 he became the firm’s first pro bono partner.

    Hillard heads a Clayton Utz pro bono practice of over 40,000 hours of free legal work per year, which has assisted thousands of people unable to afford a lawyer or obtain legal aid and hundreds of not for profit community organisations that support disadvantaged people.

    The practice has made a particular commitment to regional and remote communities, with work ranging from acting for indigenous women in Walgett in their compensation claims for sexual assault to securing Andrew Mallard’s release from jail with the High Court quashing his murder conviction.

    David was instrumental in creating the voluntary pro bono benchmark, which became the national aspirational pro bono target of at least 35 pro bono hours per lawyer per year.

    He helped transform the way corporate law firms across Australia see their professional responsibility to address the significant unmet need for access to justice.


    Describe yourself in three words.
    Not good at maths.

    What are you currently reading?
    Game Change by John Heilemann & Mark Halpernin – an account of the 2008 US Presidential race, and Parrot & Olivier in America by Peter Carey.

    What’s your favourite film?

    Who has been the most influential person in your life?
    Professionally – Glenn Eggleton and Colin Loveday, who nurtured, encouraged and supported my pro bono ideals from the start of my career.

    What occupation would you like to have, if you weren’t a lawyer?
    I would be writing eloquent, funny, moving plays which reveal profound insights into the human condition.

    What is your favourite piece of music?
    The Saturday Boy by Billy Bragg.

    What is your most recognised talent?
    Making people smile.

    What is your greatest fear?
    That one day I really will wake up at high school in my pyjamas in the middle of an HSC English exam.

    What words or phrases do you overuse?
    I have a reputation for retelling the same stories. Apologies to anyone who has read these answers before.

    What is your greatest regret?
    That I cannot get the candle to burn at both ends.

    Whom do you envy and why?
    I married the most wonderful woman, have two incredible children, and got to invent a job that I love and makes a real difference in people’s lives. What would be the point of wasting time on envy?
    What is your most disturbing personal obsession?
    An almost granular obsession with the Clayton Utz pro bono statistics.

    What’s your most glamorous feature?
    Rose (aged 7) and Tom (aged 4). I wonder what parents of ugly children do? Maybe I should ask my mother ...

    If you were a foodstuff, what would you be?
    An anchovy. Not to everyone’s taste, I know.

    What human quality do you most distrust?
    The wearing of bowties.

    What would you change about Australia?
    Two things immediately – improve access to legal aid in civil and family law, and remove the institutionalised disadvantage experienced by indigenous people.

    Whom or what do you consider overrated?
    The excuses offered up by our legal professional societies for not being stronger in their support of pro bono work as a cornerstone of our profession. Let’s just say that pro bono work for disadvantaged individuals and the non-profit organisations which support them is something all good lawyers should do, and get on with it.

    How would you like to die?
    Laughing. At my 120th birthday party. Surrounded by great, great, grand-children.

    What would your epitaph say?
    I’m just stepping outside. I may be some time.”

    What comes into your mind when you shut your eyes and think of the word “law”?
    Fundamental to making civil society civil.


    Reader Comments

    There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.
    Editor Permission Required
    You must have editing permission for this entry in order to post comments.