Making a Silk Purse out of a Sow’s Ear


RFE Portrait (2 of 3)

Photograph by Louise Woodhouse

Doyle’s Guide has been kind enough to include me in their 2016 directory as a leading Adelaide Construction Barrister. Unlike some other directories, it is impossible to buy your way into this guide, and inclusion is the result of peer recommendations. So that is much to their credit.

They wanted a photograph to go with the entry[1], and I included this one by my good friend Louise Woodhouse, who is both a florist and a photographer. Residents of Adelaide will already be well aware of Louise Woodhouse Flowers in Adelaide Arcade, which is by far


Louise Woodhouse Flowers in Adelaide Arcade

the most beautiful flower shop in Adelaide. Louise’s talent as a photographer is less well-known, but she does have a remarkable knack for taking photographs that not only look like their subject, but are also flattering.

There would be precious little point in anyone else trying to persuade Louise to take a portrait just at the moment, because she is very busy preparing for Valentine’s Day – a big day in the floral calendar, it seems[2].

There are parallels, I suppose, between portrait photography and advocacy. In each case, there is no point vainly trying to disguise what you have got as something else, but every point in finding an attractive aspect of the real subject matter. It is reported that Donald Keating, after whom my chambers is named, once said something along the lines of

Truth is a multifaceted jewel, and our job is to hold it up in such a way as to reflect the light most favourably in our client’s direction.


Donald Keating – a protrait by Jane Mendoza


But I never heard him say this. The most interesting things I hear him say (usually in a wine bar after some function or the other at which he, or I, or both, had been speaking) marked him as a man with huge intellect and compassion. He was challenging to instruct as a barrister, mostly because he evidently felt huge nerves before a big case, but his well-recognised insight into construction law was less interesting than his left field observations on all sorts of things. I am sure that a number of my colleagues today at Keating Chambers are better advocates than Donald, but what they do today would not be quite the same without Donald’s originality, talent and vision.

[1] Actually, they wanted not just a graph, but $99.95 to cover the cost of setting it up on their website. That seemed fair enough to me; I would much rather they made some money that way than accepting payments for entries.

[2] If you love someone, and want to have flowers delivered, you had better book. It seems that the city is going to be in partial shutdown for the Fringe.

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