Rhodes scholar, novelist, athlete, and Bachelor of Laws graduate? Meet Andreas Heger whose inspiring career pathway shows there is no limit to what can be accomplished with a law degree.
At only 36 years old, Andreas Heger’s career-to-date is extraordinary. In addition to being an esteemed lawyer, he is a Rhodes Scholar, novelist, and athlete.
Andreas studied his Bachelor of Laws at Sydney Law School when Emeritus Professor Ron McCallum AO was Dean. Having lost his vision at a young age, Professor McCallum was the first totally blind person to be appointed to the Deanship of a Law School in Australia or New Zealand and built an illustrious career in the legal profession.
This was poignant as, at the time, Andreas was losing his eyesight. Inspired by Professor McCallum’s incredible career trajectory, Andreas made a life-changing decision.
“I knew I would lose my sight and having Professor McCallum’s example was a big reason for me leaving Queensland and coming to Sydney,” Andreas explains.
Losing your sight while studying law, and necessarily altering your study methods, is a huge hurdle which Andreas overcame with aplomb.
Since his time at Sydney Law School, Andreas completed his Bachelor of Civil Laws from Oxford University, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar. He also released a novel in 2018, Cooktown, published by Brio Books, and he is a former national level para rowing athlete.
More recently, Andreas stepped into the Executive Director role at the New South Wales Bar Association, taking over from Sydney Law School’s Professor Greg Tolhurst. Prior to that, Andreas worked at the Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet, and in Director roles at the NSW Department of Communities and Justice.
Andreas is married to prominent barrister and fellow inspiring law school alum, Zelie Heger. Zelie was a Law School Medallist in 2008 and a member of the team crowned Jessup World Cup Champions in 2007.
The couple met while studying at Sydney Law School, and they have three children.
It turns out that Sydney Law School is a world leading law school and successful matchmaker, with the couple meeting in administrative law class.
We spoke to Andreas about his inspiring career and advice he would give to those looking to pursue a career in law.
I was drawn to the quality of the teaching. I had some amazing teachers, all national leaders in their field, including the Honourable Justice Mark Leeming SC (now a judge of the NSW Court of Appeal). He taught me equity, which is rather like being taught physics by Einstein.
The biggest highlight was meeting my wife Zelie.
Other highlights were the great teaching and the great friends I made.
My evidence lecturer Miiko Kumar also pointed me towards an internship with the Public Defenders Office in my final year of law school, which was a seminal experience for me.
The LLB sharpened my legal thinking and writing in a way that prepared me well for postgraduate study and has been useful in all my professional roles.
The LLB created an environment where I was able to think about the range of opportunities available and what path I would take, which ultimately took me away from practice towards public policy and law reform.
A law degree teaches you how to think logically, how to communicate your thoughts, and the disciplines of rigour and research. You can do an awful lot of things with that foundation.
The thing that always drew me to the law is the unending potential for new and challenging issues to arise. It is not a discipline you can ever completely master, no matter your intellect.
I have a great network of colleagues and friends from Sydney but, most of all, it’s the foundation of learning on which I have built my professional practice which I most value.