Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
- Barrister, Lawyer and Solicitor
- Alternative Names
- Tait, Sally May (birth name)
Admitted to practice in NSW in the early 1980s and having developed a strong reputation in personal injury law, Sally Gearin was recruited specifically to Darwin by the Northern Territory Attorney General's Department in 1986.
Rising through the ranks to become a senior litigation solicitor, she was called to the Bar in late 1989 by the then Head of William Forster Chambers, Trevor Riley QC, later to become Chief Justice Trevor Riley.
Relishing the opportunity to back herself, and openly lesbian since 1978, Sally became the first woman to go to the Bar in the Northern Territory. She developed a vibrant practice and remained there for 20 years until her retirement in 2010. Having won more than 90% of her cases at trial, she was satisfied she had justified the faith of those colleagues who supported her early in her career.
Always active in pro bono, she worked with others to establish the first women's refuge in Darwin in 1988 and helped establish community legal services and refugee advocacy in the 1990s. In 1992 she was awarded a fellowship to travel to the USA with Judy Harrison, another woman lawyer, to research responses to domestic violence. Their subsequent book and recommendations were a blueprint for policy responses in the mid 1990s both in the Territory and nationwide.
Sally currently (in 2016) sits as a part time legal member of a number of Tribunals in the Northern Territory.
Sally Gearin was interviewed by Nikki Henningham in the Trailblazing Women and the Law Oral History Project. For details of the interview see the National Library of Australia CATALOGUE RECORD.