Qualification(s): LLB (Hons), Grad Dip Leg Prac
Rachel McDonald is a personal injury compensation lawyer in Maurice Blackburn’s Darwin office. She helps people throughout the Northern Territory with legal advice and representation regarding accidents that have happened on the road, at work, and on public property. This includes workers’ compensation and Territory Insurance Office (TIO) claims.
Rachel has significant skills in cross-cultural communication, especially communicating complex legal concepts in plain English to enable an interpreter to relay the information to clients in the NT who don’t speak English.
Rachel holds First Class Honours in Law from Charles Darwin University, as well as a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice from the Australian National University. She spent several years working as a paralegal at the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency in Darwin and the Darwin Community Legal Service while studying law, and was admitted to practice in 2014. Before joining Maurice Blackburn, Rachel helped clients in Darwin as well as in Wurrumiyanga, Wadeye/Peppimenarti and Angurugu/Umbakumba with their welfare rights, including housing, Centrelink and consumer law matters. She then joined Priestleys Law in Darwin, where she practiced personal injury compensation law, and moved to Maurice Blackburn when the firm bought Priestleys.
“I’m passionate about everything I do; whether it be teaching dance classes to children at school in a remote aboriginal community or providing quality legal services in Darwin. My passion for social justice was ignited as a small child. Growing up with a mother whose career as a social worker was all about fighting for disadvantaged clients, I knew from a young age that I too wanted to serve my community by fighting for everyday Territorians,” says Rachel.
“I love the way that my clients share their journey with me. I meet clients during a very difficult and stressful stage of their life. It is very rewarding to be able to stand beside my clients during their fight for their entitlements and to explain each step during the court or settlement process in order to minimise the stress that they feel and to ensure that they understand their options fully.
“I always say to my clients: ‘I can’t make the pain go away but it is my job to get the most money we possibly can so that your life can be as comfortable as possible’. I am motivated to continue being a voice for my clients in a legal system and insurance scheme that is confusing and difficult for them to navigate on their own.”
Rachel is passionate about the rights of women and Indigenous people. She has previously been an Indigenous employment mentor and a residential carer for Indigenous girls from remote communities. In 2013, she was the co-facilitator of the Shine Program, which aims to empower and mentor young Indigenous girls in local Darwin high schools, and she currently visits families in detention centres facilitated by the Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network (DASSAN).
Accreditations & memberships
- NT Law Society member
- NT Young Lawyers member
- NT Women Lawyers’ Association member