How Charlie became a lawyer – after turning his life around


AFTER almost flunking his fist-year law degree programme at the University of PNG in 2004 because of peer pressure, Hagen native Charlie Wara resolved to turn his life around quickly and refocus on his study.
“I really struggled to pull myself away from peer pressure which nearly ended my education. But I managed to overcome it.”
He was brought up in a family lifestyle which was so much in contrast to the “exciting” life on campus.
“I joined the wrong group and started partying (plus) other bad activities.”
His poor first semester result jolted him awake.
“(My first taste of university life) was full of fun which almost ended my education. But it taught me a lesson. I (changed) from there and moved forward with a different mindset.”
Today, the 38-year-old from Kotna village in Dei district owns Wara Lawyers which he formed last year.
Charlie is the first-born son of Jimmy Wara, an accountant by profession, and mum Mary Jimmy. He has three brothers and one sister. He plans to get married soon.
Charlie began his education in Port Moresby at the Ward Strip Demonstration School in 1991 up to Grade Three while his dad was working in the capital city.
In 1995, when his father was transferred back to Mt Hagen, Charlie attended the Kotna Community School at his village from Grade Four to Grade Six. He completed grades 7 to 10 at the Kitip Lutheran High School from 1998 to 2001.

“ I really struggled to pull myself away from peer pressure which nearly ended my education. But I managed to overcome it.”

In 2002, he completed the final two grades at the Hagen Park Secondary School.
He initially wanted to become a doctor but his dad insisted that he should be a lawyer.
“That’s because in our family, we have a lot of uncles who are accountants. So they will need a lawyer to defend them if anything goes wrong.”
In 2007, he completed his final year at UPNG, then had to complete a one-year training at the Legal Training Institute to get his lawyer licence. He was rated the top-performing student and got a job offer from a law firm which posted him to Lae.
“I achieved what my dad wanted me to achieve. But I asked myself: What’s next after this?”
He joined two other law firms to gain as much experience as he could.
“I wanted to start my own law firm so lawyers can work for me instead of me working for them.”
He resigned from his workplace in 2019.
“In 2020, I applied to start my law firm but due to the Coronavirus, my applications had to be put on hold until August last year when it was approved.
“In December last year, I paid the fee to get my certificate but again due to the Covid-19, I didn’t have much work to do. It was hard for me to find office space so I operated from home (at Morata One).”
He plans to set up a proper office soon.
“I am still in search of clients especially corporate clients. In the meantime I am helping individuals with their cases.”
His advice to young people is: “Don’t let peer pressure influence you but be strong to influence others with your positive behaviour.”
Charlie had certainly learnt a lot from his university days.