Her strong connections to rural and regional communities and particularly the women who live there has shaped the professional life of Joplin Higgins.
Now living in Scone Mrs Higgins established her legal practice Joplin Lawyers in Singleton in 2012.
"When I opened my practice in Singleton the support I received from the community was wonderful and thanks to that support I have been able to undertaken work in areas of domestic violence and help woman who would otherwise be unable to access legal advice," she said.
"I really want to thank the people of Singleton because they enabled Joplin Lawyers to carry matters for women who were subjected to DV and did not have the money to access legal advice."
This work along with her advocacy for other professional services in rural and regional areas has seen Mrs Higgins awarded an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in this year's Queens Birthday Awards.
Born in Moree, raised in Emerald, Queensland and having lived and worked in the Riverina before moving to the Hunter Valley there is no doubt Mrs Higgins has a very good understanding of the challenges people have living in these communities.
"My expertise is in the law but people living outside metropolitan areas not only have trouble accessing legal advice but also they are disadvantaged when it comes to health services, just think about their access to mental health services as an example," she said.
"I have worked on providing easier access to legal services particularly for woman who have been subjected to DV and are seeking assistance but I also want to see these communities better served when it comes to other professional services ."
Now working in Singleton and Maitland Mrs Higgins said she was always drawn back to rural communities and loves living in Scone.
"After COVID I think we can really see what rural and regional areas offer as far as lifestyle goes and we need to help these communities attract more people by improving their services," she said.
But her number one commitment remains supporting woman who don't have a voice.
Mrs Higgins's biographical citation:
- Independent Children's Lawyer, Legal Aid Commission NSW, since 2015.
- Managing Director and Lawyer, Joplin Lawyers 2013.
- Panellist, Women's Domestic Violence Advocacy Service, since 2017.
- Advisor to large corporations on Family and Domestic Violence policy and on identifying toxic masculinity on the workplace.
- Admitted to Supreme Court of New South Wales, 2007.
- Lawyer, since 2007.
Law Society of New South Wales
- Member, Family Law Committee, 2019.
- Member, Children's Legal Issues Committee, 2019.
- Committee Member, Audit of the Criminal Law Court Efficiency, 2019.
Hunter Valley Law Practitioners Association
- Committee Member, since 2019.
- Presenter, Family Violence Conferences.
- Supporter and sponsor of a range of community groups, including to women's shelters and services, and through drought assistance programs.
- Works with regional women on varying topics to assist regional talent development.
- Board Member, Jana's Campaign, USA, since 2019.
Awards and recognition include:
- Business of the Year, Muswellbrook Chamber of Commerce, 2019.
- Business Leader of the Year, Singleton Chamber of Business, 2018.
- Business of the Year, Singleton Chamber of Business, 2018.
- Certificate of Achievement, Regional Achievement and Community Awards, 2018.
- Social Change Fellowship, Westpac, 2016. (For research into Domestic Violence Perpetrator programs and their efficiency to reduce domestic violence).