Written on the 4 June 2015 by Jenna Rathbone


JENNIFER Hetherington has worked as a lawyer for close to 20 years and one of the difficulties has been balancing her demanding career with motherhood and her passion-fuelled work in the community.

However the founder and principal of Hetherington Lawyers has mastered the juggling act, dividing her time between running a successful practice, her son and work with Mummy's Wish - an organisation that aims to support families impacted by cancer.

Hetherington previously engaged with Mummy's Wish when her mum battled Lymphoma.  Even though Hetherington was a mother herself when her mum was diagnosed, she saw the myriad of physical and emotional impacts cancer had on the fabric of a family.

Having lived through her mum's cancer, Hetherington understands the importance of giving back, and is now the Chair of Mummy's Wish which supported her through one of the most difficult times in her life.

"I just saw how ill it (cancer) made my mum and how difficult it was for her to do simple tasks that had been part of her life like cooking meals and cleaning the house," says Hetherington.

"I reached out to Mummy's Wish because I was struggling to cope with what mum was going through and I really needed someone that understood what goes on with cancer treatments just to talk to and to find out things that might help my mum."

After Hetherington's mother went into remission, she offered her services to Mummy's Wish to say thank you for the support and has now been involved with the organisation since 2011.

Mummy's Wish has helped more than 1,200 families, supporting them with practical assistance from organising, cleaning and school pick-ups, to more complex matters such as managing finances. 

In addition, Hetherington was involved with rebuilding her community post the 2011 floods, currently volunteers as a solicitor for Women's Legal Service, and coordinates and leads two collaborative practice groups in the Brisbane area.

Hetherington, who specialises in family law, says as a lawyer it is important to prioritise and give back to the community.

"We have an obligation to be better citizens and we have to be compassionate," she says.

"We are very fortunate to have had good educations and to have achieved what we have in our careers and we should never underestimate the difference we can make whether that is with our money or our time."

Hetherington became an accredited specialist in family law in 2005, and then in 2014, left a partnership at a mid-tier firm to establish Hetherington Legal in order to have a better work/life balance.

Hetherington says she has always had a passion for family law.

"Family law is an area of law that you have to love to do it, otherwise you wouldn't cope and many people don't specialise in it for the many reasons that the rest of us do," she says.

"It can be an emotional area to deal in because you are dealing with people at the most difficult time of their life.

"But, I hope to leave people better off than when they first met me."

To find out more about Mummy's Wish, CLICK HERE.

Author: Jenna Rathbone
About: Jenna Rathbone is a Queensland-based journalist who writes on a range of issues including business and property affairs and social issues.
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