Using privilege for purpose
George Mourani has been up since 5am watching the football. It’s an early start, but for a man who is a prosecutor during the day, a volunteer for St Vincent de Paul’s at night, and the Chair of his football association’s disciplinary tribunal in between – he seems to have boundless wells of energy.
“I am the type of person who would prefer to do a single task at 100 per cent, rather than multiple tasks at 50 per cent. When I was in high school, I faced a crossroads about where I wanted to be in the next five years. I had to decide between a professional football career or to become a lawyer – unfortunately I could not do both, at least at 100 per cent” he said.
In hindsight, he is happy that he chose law. As a ‘people person’ he has created a thriving career as a litigator with Hunt & Hunt. George says the practise of law is about building client relationships and finding solutions to complex issues.
“I’m enjoying life as a private practice lawyer as a prosecutor. Part of my role includes regular travel to regional NSW to appear on behalf of Transport for NSW. That’s a privilege and opportunity that is rewarding.”
Lending a hand
It’s recognising this privilege and a desire to give back to the community that drives George, starting from when he was a young teenager and volunteering for St Vincent de Paul, which he continues to do today.
“The legal profession in particular is obliged to serve the less fortunate members of our community. Their needs are just as, if not more important, than the needs of our billable clients."
On night patrol George serves homeless people a hot drink and snacks before sitting down with them to talk. Most of the time just asking how their day was can make a big difference.
He says, “They do not want our sympathy. They want to be seen,
acknowledged, and heard. I find it disappointing that this is how low their
expectations are of us, and it shows we should be doing a lot more.
“The common perception of homelessness is that they’re not
knowledgeable people, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
I have met have just had a fortune of bad luck that has led them to where they
“Night patrol is how I serve my community, and I urge
everyone to do it at least once in their life. Homelessness is more than a
media headline or a political subject. It is a real issue in our modern society
and these people are no different to anyone else.”
Through his work he is also giving back, using his legal skills
to provide pro bono legal advice at the Matthew
Talbot Homeless Persons Legal Service.
“My firm also runs a women’s legal clinic as part of the Northern Centre which gives free
advice to women experiencing domestic family violence, custody, child and spousal
support, or property issues.”
Growing up, giving back
Giving back and pitching in is not a new thing for George.
He started volunteering with Vinnies aged 14 and during his university years he
decided to study a single law degree, rather than a double degree, so that he
could take on more extra-curricular activities.
“I was involved in many activities during my student life. I
was the Director of Competition for the Law Student Society and the student
representative for the faculty's Course Consultative Committee. I also participated
in many domestic and international moot competitions such as the Willem C. Vis
International Commercial Arbitration Moot and I represented the university at
He also received the ACU Community Engagement Scholarship which
helped him undertake work at the Jesuit Refugee Service.
“My role was to produce a research paper about the current status
of refugee and asylum seekers in Australia and how Australia can improve its
current policies, practices and procedures.
“My experience at ACU was hands on and engaging which is the
way a law school should be. I had the opportunity to participate in events,
competitions, boards etc. without having to compete with thousands of other
“Because ACU is individual-focused, there is more opportunity
to access these opportunities. For me, it was important to attend a university
that offers all that larger universities do, but with the additional individual-tailored
support and resources.”
Keeping in the game
Playing football is still very much a part of George’s world.
“I’ve played the world game since I was five. Now it has become my escape for
90 minutes. I’m also a member of Sydney FC and an international member of
Chelsea FC. I love watching football especially at 4am in the morning!”
He has now added the Chair of the Disciplinary Tribunal to
his long list of community activities. “I was on my association’s website to
see when my football competition would start, and I saw an advertisement for a tribunal
chair. They were looking for someone who is a member of the legal profession
and has had experience playing football – so I gave my expression of interest
and shortly thereafter I received an email to come in."
“Two weeks after that I was chairing my first tribunal
hearing which led to my 5,000-word judgment.”
For George, he wouldn’t have his life any other way, “It’s
definitely keeping me busy but I’m very happy to be a part of all of it.”
For a career in law like George, explore