Haley Allan isn't like most lawyers, whose lives couldn't be more different from the people they represent.
"I can put myself in their shoes, and I can see that if I didn't get my act together and have the support of the people I did, there but for the grace of God go I," she says.
"I could have easily been in the situation that a lot of my clients are in, so I feel like I can empathise with people who've made mistakes and just want a second chance."
Not so long ago, Haley was an unemployed single mother, a teenager nursing a baby in regional Western Australia, believing that to be her lot in life.
"I didn't have any self-confidence," she says.
"But then I started working for this lady and she ended up changing my life … she saw some potential in me that I didn't know I had, and insisted I went to university, and after that everything changed.
"The path I was on, was really heading nowhere … I never thought I'd have the life I do now."
More than fancy clothes
As a LegalAid lawyer, Haley has a gruelling schedule of remote travel and court lists to represent some of the most disadvantaged people in Australia, dealing with a lot of crime and domestic violence cases.
"I thought lawyers were just fancy people who wore fancy clothes and drove fancy cars and lived in big houses … I didn't know that it was a way you could help people."
She spends long hours at work, but she is also heavily involved in community organisations and events that bring culture, compassion, and enthusiasm to the people of Broome.
Solicitor Julia Barber, who's worked alongside Haley at the Broome courthouse for six years, says Haley relates to her clients differently than many lawyers she's seen on the court circuit.
"She's from a modest background, so she embraces everyone. In many ways it makes her a better lawyer in that she able to relate to clients who are juggling things in life," Ms Barber says.
"We are in a remote location. She falls over herself to make sure she's inclusive. Hayley has brought enthusiasm to our town."
A ball for a cause
Despite the demands of single motherhood, Haley has found time to create one of the premier events of Broome's social calendar, a glamorous gala that raises tens of thousands of dollars for an unglamorous cause — domestic violence.
It was her experience dealing with domestic violence victims that sparked an interest in supporting the underfunded and often overwhelmed support services in the region.
The Kimberley has some of the most appalling statistics
around family violence in Australia, with Aboriginal women the most likely to endure years of abuse and most likely to be murdered by their partner.
"We have a particular set of circumstances here in the Kimberley, being remote and isolated, and obviously we have a significant issue with alcohol which exacerbates the impact of violence," Hayley says.
"Throughout my career I've worked with both victims and perpetrators of domestic violence. It's such an overwhelming, complex
issue that's so difficult to address."
Haley hit on the idea of a ball that would help raise awareness and funds, to empower locals to contribute directly to not-for-profit services in Broome.
Help where it's needed most
"I was so happy to receive a phone call from Haley," Rowena Puertollano, manager of Marnda Jarndu women's refuge, says.
"I was actually thankful that there was someone in the community who recognised that we are in need of assistance.
"The women who come here are often badly injured, not in good condition, and they fear for their safety so they've removed themselves without clothing, money or communications — they turn up with nothing."
The annual White Ribbon gala event has raised more than $100,000 in six years for local frontline family violence services. Supported by a loyal handful of volunteers, Haley pounds the pavement of Chinatown, hustling for donations to the silent auction and keeping the issue in the spotlight.
Adding to her workload is her role helping organise Broome's annual cultural festival — Shinju Matsuri, which translates as Festival of the Pearl.
It's a flamboyant celebration of Broome's multicultural history, complete with a riotous street parade and a moving "launching of the lanterns" ceremony at sunset on the beach.
Shinju Matsuri president Chris Maher says Haley's contribution as board secretary has been invaluable.
"Haley always likes to go the extra mile, so she'll be volunteering, getting her hands dirty, making sure all the dignitaries are looked after, the community's looked after and everyone's having a great time," he said.
Hard work but worth it
Now in her mid-30s and with her son Kalen on the cusp of adulthood, Haley's philosophical about what lies ahead.
There have been long-term relationships in recent years, but her son and her work remain firmly at the centre of her gaze.
"The big secret about volunteering and getting involved is that it makes you feel good — really good," she says.