Slater & Gordon lawyer Nimna Rupasinghe will be a name to remember as she winds her way up the legal ladder as a committed advocate for her community.
Of a day, 28-year-old Nimna works in Melbourne as a workers compensation lawyer, with specialties in WorkCover, transport accidents and personal injury. In her spare time, Nimna has worked tirelessly for the Sri Lankan community – organising events for the Sri Lankan Study Centre for the Advancement of Technology and Social Welfare Youth Group, taking part in fundraising, volunteering for Melbourne’s Sri Lankan community media, and winning prestigious awards such as the Serendib News Youth Achiever of the Year 2006.
Nimna has become a leader and role model for young people within the Melbourne Sri Lankan community. She left Sri Lanka when she was five years old when her parents migrated to Australia. While at school, she was involved in Sri Lankan dancing, and became master of ceremonies for events within her community.
Professionally, after gaining her degrees in Arts (Psychology) and Law (Honours) and a postgraduate diploma of legal practice from Monash University in 2006, Nimna was admitted to the Supreme Court of Victoria. She has worked solidly in the legal industry since then, gaining employment with Slater & Gordon Lawyers in 2009.
She now helps people injured in the workplace win compensation by simplifying complex WorkCover claims to achieve the earliest, smoothest and fairest possible resolution. Her clients come from all walks of life and professions.
Nimna said it was the opportunity to help people that attracted her to the legal profession.
“I love having the opportunity to work with and represent people who have sustained life changing injuries and help them achieve the best possible resolution,” she said.
“There are always two sides to an argument, so I also like the challenge of being able to look at the strengths and weaknesses of a case with the aim of ultimately achieving the most just result. This often reflects a good way to approach the challenges we face in our own lives and I think the skills we learn as lawyers are quite practical.”
She said she believes members of the Sri Lankan community might not be very ‘litigious’ or aware of their legal rights when it came to pursuing compensation.
“Members of my community are generally not highly adversarial or litigious,” Nimna said. “In regards to workers’ compensation claims, their main aim is generally to try to get back to work. I also think they tend to avoid the stigma of legal proceedings.”
Nimna said it was pleasing to see that most cases didn’t even need to end up in court for people to receive their compensation.
“It’s good to see people pursuing their rights, and receiving compensation,” she said.
“Most claims are resolved without anyone even needing to step foot inside a courtroom.”
Nimna also comes from a talented and community-dedicated family. Nimna’s late mother, Devika Rupasinghe, was well respected and much loved within the Sri Lankan community. Mrs Rupasinghe was a teacher in Sri Lanka and was a founding Sinhalese language teacher with the Victorian School of Languages. She also taught Buddhism to Sri Lankans and to the wider Australian community at a local government school. Devika also conducted a children’s program for 3ZZZ radio from its inception in the late 80s and was a pioneer in Sinhala Radio Drama, which involved many Melbourne children.
Nimna’s father is an active organiser of successful community events. One of Nimna’s brothers launched a music single and video in Sri Lanka in July 2010, which aired on mainstream websites and television.