Linda Leong became a partner of McDonald Leong Lawyers at the young age of 24, having only been admitted to practice for nine months. “It’s not a usual transition, so I was very lucky,” Linda admits.
“During my university breaks, I used to do work experience at different firms, which is how I met
Mark McDonald, a third-generation solicitor. He later approached me to become a partner. I think it is a great idea if law students can do work experience to learn the practical side of the business.”
The James Cook University graduate was initially lured by engineering work, but it was seeing her China-born parents, Derrick and Wenney Leong, working in the food industry that ironically changed her mind.
“I was brought up in a shop environment from age four,” Linda explains. “In my late teens, my parents actually began involving me in the consultations with their solicitors. So I got to see what a solicitor did,
and in Grade 12, I changed and decided to do law.”
The Cantonese-speaking solicitor has since notched up more than 20 years in the legal industry. She is the Managing Partner of McDonald Leong Lawyers and heads up the firm’s Litigation team. Linda’s achievements are a source of inspiration to young female practitioners.
Her practice area includes personal injury actions, wills and estates, small business and criminal law.
“I enjoy helping people solve their problems or getting the best results for them when they’re in a dire situation,” she says.
When Linda first started with the firm, it was only her, Mark and his father, John McDonald, and three other staff. The business has since grown to now employ 16 other staff.
Linda is also active in the Townsville community, having been involved in the Queensland China Council and committees for the Catholic Diocese of Townsville. She was also the president of the Townsville Chinese Club for many years, now a life member.
As well, she is involved with local sporting bodies and the firm sponsors various hockey, AFL, junior rugby league, soccer and volleyball teams. As a mother-of-two, Linda says she’s always careful to strike a balance between work and family commitments. “I remember when I had my first child 13 years ago, a female barrister, whose since retired, gave me some good advice. She said, ‘Make sure you don’t miss your children’s activities’, and that always stuck in the back of my mind. So I’m always there for the kids, even if it’s not the whole time, but the last 15 minutes of training or the pick-up. I believe that family time is important.”