Rural, Regional, Remote Law — Rewarding legal careers in rural, regional and remote Australia

Sebastian Hill

Sebastian Hill is a married father of three working as an Associate at Boylan Lawyers in Port Pirie, South Australia.

He grew up in Adelaide, where he also completed his legal studies. Sebastian moved to Port Pirie to take up the practise of law after running a restaurant in Port Douglas, Queensland—a year and a half after his admission to the bar. He comes from a large extended family of lawyers and has established strong roots in the local community since his move to Port Pirie.

When did you decide to make the move to Port Pirie? Were you attracted to the work and lifestyle opportunities or were there other factors at stake?

There were quite a few factors as to why my wife and I chose to move to Port Pirie. The cost of living was the main one: purchasing a house was much cheaper than in Adelaide. Work arrangements were also much more flexible. For example, I can head into work at about 8.30 and leave around 4.30. This work flexibility has led to a healthier family life. I also knew practising in Port Pirie would provide me with great experience.

How beneficial has that experience been? Have you noticed any major career benefits since you started work at Port Pirie?

Definitely. I have been the instructing solicitor on a High Court appeal, on Supreme Court matters and in the District Court. The matters in these cases ranged from personal injury to medical negligence and contested estates. I was also an instructing solicitor in the Federal Magistrates Court for a family law property settlement trial which lasted for six days. I achieved all this within the first two years of commencing practice.

Across the board, in terms of seeing the different courts and areas of practice, working in Port Pirie has been great for my career. In my role I get full client contact and full control and autonomy with respect to my files. I also get outstanding mentoring. This was one of the aspects that brought me to Port Pirie: I’m developing a great understanding of the business of law and also getting the client contact.

What about away from work: what do you enjoy most about living in Port Pirie?

Right next to Port Pirie are the Flinders Ranges and being able to see some of that country has been great. We are close to the beautiful wine district of Clare and lovely beaches of York Peninsula. The local community has also been really good to my family. We’re only about three hours from Adelaide, so we’re able to visit family and friends there as frequently as we wish and vice versa. There are also other great benefits: schools are close to home; there are no traffic lights; the ease of getting around town is phenomenal and with three very young children, this takes a lot of stress out of daily living. 

Looking more specifically at the social and lifestyle aspects, how does life in Port Pirie stack up?

Sport’s definitely not a problem in Port Pirie—it’s sport crazy! Looking more broadly though, I haven’t been inhibited at all in terms of what’s on offer outside of work. It’s different in the sense that you obviously can’t replace what’s available in the metropolitan cities, but the alternatives are just as good.

Having grown up in adelaide, what are the major differences between life in a metropolitan city versus a regional area?

As far as the city versus the country, I don’t see a huge difference. In Port Pirie you still have the same opportunities— you can still do everything in life and have a good time. Towns like Port Pirie offer everything you need to get in and get on with life, and have a good time. You can live in a house that doesn’t stress you as much because your mortgage isn’t as high; you can be in a city where you’re not always sitting in traffic; and you can finish the working day much earlier. There are many benefits to working in an area like Port Pirie.

Moving is generally a stressful time of life for a lot of people. Did you have any worries about moving to Port Pirie you have since discovered were unfounded?

My uncle has lived here for 33 years, and I have been up here as a child, so I’ve known what Port Pirie was like and how diverse and enjoyable a place it was. That being said, for many who haven’t been here, towns like Port Pirie can often develop an unfair reputation and people should definitely come out and experience it for themselves. I think a lot of them would be surprised as to how good life in places like Port Pirie can be.

An important part of the err Law initiative is to highlight the opportunities and benefits of living and working in err areas of australia. What advice would you give to someone who was considering making a similar move to what you have done?

I would tell them life out here is rewarding and enjoyable: it’s not like the hustle, bustle and grind of the metropolitan cities. You are appreciated by your clients who are part of your community. If you want to live and work in a place like Port Pirie, the opportunities are there. There’s big demand for professional legal services and you can advance, professionally and personally, very quickly.