let's make it happen written next to an image of Patrick

Patrick: From ambition to landing his dream job

As a teenager, First Nations man Patrick Lucarnus vowed he would go to university. With hard work and access to mentors and internships from the University of Sydney, he now works at a top-tier law firm.

Patrick Lucarnus has a photo taken on an excursion at the University of Sydney when he was just 15 years old. 

“I wrote on a sign, ‘I will get into Sydney University’, Patrick laughs. 

“It was the first time I’d been to a university, there was something about the architecture, vibe and people that resonated with me. It felt like I could do anything. This was the place to go, if I wanted success – not just for myself but for my community.”

A proud Ngadjuri man, raised by his single, teenage mother in Western Sydney, Patrick grappled with his sense of identity. “My family are descendants of the Stolen Generation, I felt that disconnect with culture. I didn't feel like I fit in anywhere.” 

He wasn’t sure what he wanted to study, but applied for a Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Laws and an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Entry Scholarship – and was shocked when he got in.

“It meant so much to me, that support gave me a real chance,” Patrick says. “It was a positive moment, where my community gathered and celebrated my work.” 

Other scholarships he received throughout his degree helped with rent, food and books, while he worked to supplement his income.

Patrick Lucarnus in his graduation holding his degree certificate, standing with a woman, on the grass in the University of Sydney's Main Quadrangle.

Patrick found that Law appealed to his sense of personal justice from his experiences growing up. He was appointed the Law Society’s First Nations officer; worked with mentors through Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME); and was selected for an internship in a legal firm.

“After one semester, I found myself entering a reputable law firm. It was daunting, but motivated me, because I knew this is what success looks like on the other side.”

All this led to Patrick landing his dream job at top law firm, Allens.

“I knew I had a chance because of the work I'd put in, but it was like ‘I've done it!’ I called my mum, it was this overwhelming sense of pride.

“The University of Sydney’s Law School equipped me with tools to tackle work life head on. It finetuned my competitive nature into something that could be applied in the workplace.”

Patrick has now come “full circle” and is himself mentoring law students at Allens. “It’s only right – I think mentoring will always be part of who I am,” he says. 

And he’s set new goals for himself.

“I would like to put to pen to paper, just like I did in that photo, and say, ‘My next goal is partner in a law firm.' I hope to live up to those who supported me – and to be in the position to change someone else's life, so they can achieve their dream,” he says. 

“I want others to have the same opportunities that I’ve had.”

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