LOOKING BACK: Bill McMillan with a photo of himself at 12 years old, when he decided to be a lawyer.
LOOKING BACK: Bill McMillan with a photo of himself at 12 years old, when he decided to be a lawyer. Kirsten Cunningham

Gladstone's first barrister here to help

GLADSTONE'S only barrister Bill McMillan left school when he was 13 to work in the courts.

"I turned 12 and read a book called Trial about a law professor who defended a black man charged with rape in the 1940s," he said.

"It showed how he crafted the defence and it resonated with me."

Half a century later and Mr McMillan is still doing what he loves.

"I've had an amazing career and being appointed Gladstone's first barrister is another exciting chapter," he said.

His appointment means local solicitors can now consult with him on complicated cases, rather than relying on the availability of barristers in Rockhampton.

"I left school at 13 to work in the courts and I haven't looked back," he said.

He has always been passionate about standing up for "the little guy" and helping people who find themselves up against the power of the state.

"It doesn't matter to me if the defendants are guilty or not," he said.

"I'm not the judge. Someone else is getting paid to do that.

"Crown prosecution has all the resources of the state but what do the defendants have?" he said.

"It's about fighting against the odds and having the chance to put their best features forward."

Did you know?

  • Solicitors are lawyers who work directly with clients in and outside of court.
  • If solicitors need assistance with a court case they employ the services of a barrister.
  • Barristers are employed by solicitors and work almost exclusively in court.
  • They have specialist knowledge of the law and can be called on to give advice. They can be identified by their gowns and wigs.


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