In October this year Zoë Durand launched her new book, Inside Family Law: Conversations from the coalface.

“[Inside Family Law] is not a text book, nor is it self-help divorce guide. Overall, the aim of this book is to tell the inside, behind-the-scenes story about family law.”

The book features a collection of interviews with those who work at the coalface of the family law system within Australia.

“One of my key motivations in this book is to demystify the family law system by offering readers the closest experience possible to having their own fireside chat with the people they may not otherwise have access to. 

She explains, “[The book] is also of value for lawyers. I have asked Judges, barristers, experts and professionals for their pointers for family lawyers. 

“I believe these conversations help lawyers understand the perspectives of the other professionals they work with in family law”. 

Ms Durand has long had an interest in law. When sorting through old boxes recently, she stumbled on a primary school research project on family law. Looking back on it now, she finds that moment particularly foretelling.

“I’ve always had an interest in human relationships, families in particular. Just four years into my career, I made the jump from commercial law. It’s funny, you always come back to the core of what you want to do’’. 

The Sydney-based mediator and practitioner has over 12 years experience as a lawyer and quite a profile as an award-winning artist. 

Ms Durand’s work has been exhibited in Sydney, Melbourne, New York, London and the Louvre, Paris. In 2015, she was awarded with the UNESCO Heritage International Noto Art Prize. She credits her success as an artist to her career in family law.

“It’s like a butterfly effect, one thing in your life changes and then other things change.’’ 

Ms Durand completed a Masters of Applied Family Law (College of Law), Bachelor of Law Degree and Bachelor of Arts Degree (first class honours) from UNSW.  

She has many memories to reflect on from her time studying at the university. She recalls it being a happy time, freeing in both thought and ideas. 

“I had interesting conversations on the library lawn, wore hippie clothes, made lots of new friends and had some amazing lecturers who I really looked up to. 

“I was very scared leaving university to go into the workforce – to take off the hippie smocks and put on a suit.”

Ms Durand says that she loved the small tutorial model for classes and found herself embracing the conversational teaching style. Her recent book is based on dialogue and knowledge exchanged through conversations.

For future students considering a law degree, Ms Durand advises: “It’s a mix of real hard work and moments of creativity.

“I think understanding the building of your personal brand while at university is really important. 

“Taking part in those extracurricular activities when you are at university gives you some of the experiences you need to showcase to your future employer.