PROUD: Honouring four law school graduates making their mark in public life: The former students include Ballina MP Tamara Smith, environmental lawyer Sue Higginson, human rights lawyer Benedict Coyne (absent) and Lismore City councillor Adam Guise.
PROUD: Honouring four law school graduates making their mark in public life: The former students include Ballina MP Tamara Smith, environmental lawyer Sue Higginson, human rights lawyer Benedict Coyne (absent) and Lismore City councillor Adam Guise. Marc Stapelberg

Meet the SCU graduates who 'made their mark in public life'

THE School of Law and Justice at Southern Cross University Lismore has hosted a lunch to honour four law graduates who have made their mark in public life.

Dean of Law and Head of School Professor William MacNeil said the Law School takes the justice part of its name very seriously.

"The School of Law & Justice is dedicated to educating lawyers who will make a difference," Professor MacNeil said."

"Whether it be Sue Higginson's trailblazing environmentalism, Benedict Coyne's human rights advocacy or Tamara Smith's and Adam Guise's community leadership, the SLJ graduate is distinguished by their overarching commitment to the law as an instrument of progressive social change, building a better tomorrow and a brighter future for our region, our nation and our planet."

Sue Higginson remembers the School of Law and Justice as a place of learning and empowerment.

"I didn't simply learn the law, I learnt how to use the law to help the community," Ms Higginson said.

"I walked out of the School of Law and Justice straight into the court room as a public interest environmental lawyer.

"If I am fortunate enough to be chosen to represent Lismore in state parliament next year I will also be drawing on skills and insights drawn from my time at SCU."

Reflecting on her time as a student, Ballina MP Tamara Smith said her time with the School of Law and Justice was foundational.

"It was there I harnessed my passion for social justice and the determination to defend the rights of nature," Ms Smith said.

"I was so fortunate to have lecturers who were literally on the world stage in their fields - in environmental law and activist social movements, criminal law and legal theory.

"I can honestly say that their influences are with me today as I stand in the NSW Legislative Assembly and represent my community."

Adam Guise said attending the school set him up for his current role in local government.

"Law is often forgotten that it's about getting just outcomes. I've used my law degree to stand up for our communities."

Also recognised at the event was Benedict Coyne, another university medalist, and former national president of Australian Lawyers for Human Rights, who is running for federal parliament against recent prime ministerial hopeful Peter Dutton in the Brisbane seat of Dickson.