NEWLY qualified solicitor Nick Audet had made peace with missing out on two ceremonies marking the completion of his studies, when Catherine Henry Lawyers surprised him by organising a ceremony of their own.
Mr Audet, 23, completed his Bachelor of Communication in 2017 and Bachelor of Laws with First Class Honours at the end of 2019, before finishing his Diploma of Legal Practice - which made him eligible for admission as a lawyer in the Supreme Court of NSW - through The College of Law mid-year.
Traditionally, those who complete the diploma attend a formal ceremony held regularly at the Supreme Court, where they are sworn in as an officer of the court and sign the roll of practitioners.
His university graduation ceremony has been postponed and the court ceremony moved online.
"It had been a bit of a shame and disappointing because it's been a long road," he said before the surprise.
"I started the degree at the start of 2015 and have been working towards this for five-and-a-half years.
"There's been little things and my family has been very celebratory and everyone at Catherine Henry Lawyers has been very supportive, but I didn't get the proper release, 'Here it is, you're in, you did it'."
Principal Catherine Henry donned judicial robes and a wig on Friday to present Mr Audet with a replica certificate of admission in front of Mr Audet's colleagues and family.
"Nick has worked incredibly hard and we wanted to recognise his efforts," Ms Henry said.
"While understandable, it is a shame that graduates such as Nick miss out on the occasion of a formal ceremony at the end of their education."
Mr Audet had been told the firm was hosting an afternoon tea.
"It was really lovely and nice to have it with everyone I work with," he said of the surprise ceremony.
"It was nice and personal getting to have her do the admission for me.
"It was a bit different to the actual thing but it was nice and as close as you could get."
Mr Audet finished his diploma in May but put the ceremony off in the hope he would be able to attend one in-person.
When he was told the August, September and October physical ceremonies had been cancelled he decided he didn't want to wait much longer to gain his qualification.
He filled in the paperwork on the last day possible, August 7.
He'd had a COVID-19 test that day - the result was negative - and signed it in the firm's carpark while a solicitor colleague witnessed it from metres away, "so it was a little bit less auspicious than I'd hoped".
He was admitted on August 14, the certificate of admission was emailed to him and he had celebratory drinks with his colleagues.
"That was really exciting, it's been a pretty long journey and it was really good to see it paid off," he said.
"I made it all the way through and got right to the end.
"It's good to be able to move on and not do any more uni for a while!"
Mr Audet has been working at the firm for three and a half years, first as a paralegal, then a graduate lawyer and now a solicitor.
He works in the health law team, primarily in medical negligence cases, and said he relished being able to help people in vulnerable situations.
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