Life beyond Radford

Last updated 9.08.2018

Lyn Kemmis

Class of 1994
OCCUPATION Senior Legal Counsel at Special Broadcasting Service
Lives Sydney, Australia
Attendance at radford Years 7-12
House Huon
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What does life look for you now?

I work at SBS (the broadcaster) as a senior legal counsel – eg: an in house lawyer. This often means I get to watch TV for work. I read articles or watch programs and help the program-makers make choices which lower our legal risk, and make their content legally defensible. I also negotiate rights deals (eg: FIFA World Cup, and other programming).

When you were young, what were you hoping to be when you grew up?

An archaeologist. :/

What is your favourite Radford moment?

The friends and the people. Getting to be in the school plays, and on the debating teams.

How easy was it to decide what to do in life?

I was a high performing English student – but was not sure what to do with that! I enrolled in Arts/Law at the ANU, and studied English as my major in Arts. Because of my interest in TV/film/reading – I took all the law units which related to this as well – intellectual property / copyright, defamation, etc. I found lots of little ways for my degrees to help each other. I did my law thesis on fair dealing / digital sampling. I wrote a major essay on medical ethics which used poetry by Philip Hodgins (a poet with leukemia).

At the end of my degree, I’d done very well at English and pretty well at law. As much as I enjoyed English, I decided to try practicing law because it looked to me like there were more real jobs in it. So I applied for MANY jobs, got two offers, and took a job at a law firm (Freehills) doing general commercial work.

When the job for a junior lawyer at SBS was advertised, I was so desperate to get it (it was probably both a demotion and pay cut – but totally worth it). A lot of people applied for that job; what helped me was that I could show that I’ve had this focus all along directed at working in media law (by pointing to all the choices I’d made in my uni degree to look at copyright / IP and so on). Back when I was making decisions about what to study, I’d mostly just been thinking about what was interesting to me – but then this job came along that wanted all those skills. My background in literature is also useful all the time in this job, and I find the law really interesting. Whilst my ultimate job would have been to be paid to read books all day, this is a pretty good compromise!

What do you know now, that you wish you'd known when you were at Radford?

Seeing where a lot of people in my year have ended up – what I’ve realised is that everyone was MORE interesting and had a lot more going on in their lives than I knew when at school. There were some insanely talented people in my year that I wish I’d got to know better.

What advice do you have for current students?

Be kind to each other. Have your close friends, but learn how to also connect more broadly with people. The workplace and later life is all about navigating those more distant relationships with people who won’t necessarily be close friends, but have a lot to offer you (and vice versa).

Where are you now?