Rachel Francois
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Justinian in Barrister, On the Couch

Rachel Francois is a Sydney barrister, whose most recent notable appearance was in the Federal Court for Kristy Fraser-Kirk in her $37 million sexual harassment suit against David Jones and Mark McInnes ... With the settlement complete and the case withdrawn Ms Francois found time for a session on Justinian's couch
 
Rachel Francois' father is an ichthyologist and a former head of NSW Fisheries, who these days makes wine in the Hunter Valley. Her mother is a mathematician.
 
Rachel was selective in her schooling and attended North Sydney Girls High School and James Ruse Agricultural High School and later the University of New South Wales.
 
Early steps in her career took her to volunteer work at the NSW Disability Discrimination Legal Centre, the HIV/AIDS Legal Centre and Kingsford Legal Centre. 

After university she fetched-up in London ... and Freshfields.

She returned soon enough, to find herself working on a review for the government of NSW's home care service.

Then to Legal Aid for four years.

The dark side is usually irresistible, so it was almost inevitable that she would put in a couple of years at Clayton Utz before the bar called in February 2003.

Describe yourself in three words.
Determined, loyal, loud.


What are you currently reading
?
"American Caesars", by Nigel Hamilton.
 

What's your favourite film
?
Anything with Robert Downey Jr or Meryl Streep.

Who has been the most influential person in your life
?
My maternal grandfather. Among other things he taught me how to behave in polite society, so I always have the choice. 


What occupation would you like to have, if you hadn't become a lawyer
?
When I think of it, I'll do it.
 

What is your favourite piece of music
?
The Jupiter suite from the Planets by Holst.


What is your most recognised talent
?
Hmmn - probably causing trouble.


What is your greatest fear
?
That DJs will spike my Christmas hamper.
 

What words or phrases do you overuse?
The ones that ought not be printed. 


What is your greatest regret
?
Not getting to my dojo regularly to practice Aikido.


Whom do you envy and why
? 
I don’t envy other people but I would love to have the extraordinary talent of Chida Sensei (an 8th Dan Aikido master) – he’s like a Jedi Knight.
 

What is your most disturbing personal obsession?  
Depending on your perspective: either my desire for social justice or my abiding interest in military history.

What’s your most glamorous feature?
Like Katisha, my left shoulder blade.


If you were a foodstuff, what would you be
?
Lindt 70% dark chocolate.


What human traits do you most distrust
?
The desire to fit in.


What would you change about Australia
?
I would start with that part of the culture which revels in misogyny and enjoys a sense of sexual entitlement and not stop until we have community where we treat everyone as we ourselves wish to be treated.


Whom or what do you consider overrated
?
French wine (with the exception of Champagne).
 

On what occasions do you use a breath-freshener
?
Rarely.  I’m very good at brushing my teeth.


What would your epitaph say
?
I want to be cremated and scattered at Whale Beach - so not much (unless my mum is still alive). 


What comes into your mind when you shut your eyes and think of the word "law"
?
The enormous privilege of working with some of the most principled and compassionate members of the community.

Article originally appeared on Justinian: Australian legal magazine. News on lawyers and the law (http://justinian.com.au/).
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