ACT Director of Public Prosecutions Shane Drumgold SC has been praised as a leader of the profession in a ceremony on Tuesday marking his appointment to senior counsel.
Mr Drumgold's inclusion to the ranks of the territory's senior barristers was recognised with a ceremony in the ACT Supreme Court.
Chief Justice Helen Murrell said Mr Drumgold had been a leader throughout his professional life.
"You have led by example, rising from humble circumstances through persistence, talent, and irrepressible optimism," she said.
"You have led by mentoring and supporting others throughout your career. You have led by never turning your back on the disadvantaged."
Mr Drumgold was raised in Western Sydney, one of six children. He left school at 15 and worked at Australia Post before studying economics.
He enrolled in law at the University of Canberra, and began his legal career at the Aboriginal Legal Service as a defence lawyer.
In 2003, he was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to study restorative justice programs for indigenous offenders in the US, Canada and New Zealand.
When Mr Drumgold returned to Canberra he became the DPP's restorative justice referral officer, at the office's new restorative justice unit.
Mr Drumgold also helped establish the Ngambri circle court for Indigenous offenders, and became the court's first prosecutor.
In 2006, Mr Drumgold travelled to the Solomon Islands with the Australian government's regional assistance mission, where he worked as a public defender. He wrote a book on his experiences there called Palm Tree Justice.
"For many years you prosecuted in the territory's Director of Public Prosecutions office, rising to become director, a role that is critical to the proper administration of justice in the territory," Chief Justice Murrell said.
"You have already made your mark within that office.
"We are confident that you will provide strong leadership not only within your own office, but also to the profession at large.
"We wish you well in that endeavor."
Mr Drumgold was appointed director in January this year.
His predecessor Jon White SC was in 2014 the last barrister to be appointed senior counsel in the ACT.