Catherine (Eglezos) O'Keefe is a young law professional who has established a track record of professional excellence, leadership and service to the community.
She is currently Senior Associate at Corrs Chambers Westgarth.
Entering Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) as a graduate, Catherine's professional and community achievements continued. As a member of the Disputes group, Catherine advised clients in relation to a range of commercial matters and assisted in the conduct of litigation in the Federal Court and the Supreme Court of Victoria.
Catherine is also a volunteer solicitor with Inner Melbourne Community Legal and undertakes a range of pro bono work. Most notably, Catherine is involved in the Public Interest Advocacy Centre's International Crimes Evidence Project whereby she assists in conducting interviews and drafting witness statements of Melbourne-based witnesses.
Additionally, Catherine is Co-Chair and an Executive Committee member of the International Law Section of the Law Institute of Victoria. A 2013 Student Mentor in the HSF Student Mentoring Program for high school students with potential but 'at risk of leaving school,' she now coordinates the program.
"[The program] really tries to prepare students for what is a difficult time in their life as an adolescent," she said.
"As a mentor and facilitator, you’re really just trying to impart a sense of self in these students and give them the confidence to go forth."
Catherine also volunteers as a Law Student Mentor with Victorian Women Lawyers and the Women Barristers Association, a Program in which La Trobe University participates.
Catherine was awarded the Chief Justice's Medal for Academic Excellence and Community Service in 2013.
As a lawyer with a dedication to social justice, Catherine believes all people need and should have access to justice.
“Instilling a great sense that social justice is important and that everyone should have equal access to justice regardless of circumstances is extremely important," she said.
"If every person does a little bit, the world will somewhat become a better place. Even if you don’t see the bigger picture, you’ve made a massive difference in an individual’s life who otherwise wouldn’t have had that access to justice."
Catherine says her interest in social justice steered her towards studying at La Trobe.
“I really liked the university’s goals. I felt that [La Trobe's] values aligned with my own, so I was able to participate in commercial law subjects, but also have that focus on human rights. La Trobe just gave me those opportunities to do exactly what I wanted," she said.
“At La Trobe I was able to foster both my interest in community service and in the law itself. I think that’s definitely played into the lawyer I am still becoming."
Last updated: 8th May 2019