Graduates tell us why they studied law, what they achieved while they were with us, and what lessons and experiences they'll take into the next phase of their lives.
Why did you decide to study law?
The honest answer is that I didn’t really decide to study law, I just decided on what not to study!
While many of my high school peers were sure of their future, I found I had no idea what I wanted to do after Year 12. I lacked aptitude in some areas, and interest in others. By process of elimination, however, I was eventually left with the choices of Law and Commerce. I chose both, and I have had no regrets since!
Jason Liu, read his full profile.
When you look at the people who make a difference, from Amal Clooney and Geoffrey Robertson down, you will see that they are mostly lawyers. Why? Because knowledge of the law gives you the ability to say what is right or wrong, the strength to say you don’t accept it, and the tools to change things. It would be great to make a small difference for the better.
Karl Goiser, read his full profile.
I decided to study law because I wanted to combine my finance degree with something that would allow me to improve my critical thinking and problem-solving skills. The degree allowed me to develop a more nuanced way of understanding society in a creative and reasoned way. The degree also opens many doors and has improved my written and oral communication skills.
Nivedita Shankar, read her full profile.
What was the best thing about your time at ANU College of Law?
The lecturers and standard of education. There are so many wonderful people here, and my worldview was constantly challenged and expanded. I’m so grateful. I need to give special thanks to Anne Macduff, Wayne Morgan, and Amelia Simpson for their particular understanding, help and guidance. I also recently got to participate in the Legal Aid Clinic, which was such an affirming experience.
Alex Kershaw, read her full profile.
Beyond great friends, it catered to my broad interests, from sociolegal and comparative law to commercially based law subjects. Further, personal encouragement from lecturers and tutors throughout my degree was instrumental. I am grateful to Professor Don Rothwell and Associate Professor Asmi Wood to name just a couple.
Lucy McFarlane, read her full profile.
Meeting amazing and inspiring people from all around the world. I made lifelong friends during the long hours at the law library, at college, on exchange in Vienna and in my ‘Justice Gypsies’ team in Myanmar.
The academics at ANU have also been incredible mentors. I learnt to question, be creative and understand the complexities of law from fantastic lecturers, tutors and supervisors.
Sonja Halbich, read her full profile.
What would you say to someone who is thinking about studying law?
Be ready for some intellectual challenges. Studying law can be intellectually stimulating and stressful at times. However, it is a great way to develop your critical thinking and ability to form evidence based arguments. These are useful skills to have even for a career outside of law. Be ready to make an impact. You will be surprised by how much the knowledge you have learned can help people.
Doris Li, read her full profile.
I'd encourage you to think about and reflect on your own specific motivations for studying law, not only as you make that first decision, but also throughout your degree. What do you want to get out of doing law? Why do you think it'll be enjoyable or worthwhile? There’s no one "ideal" law student, and if you’re able to "own" your reasons for studying law, that’ll be a source of motivation in a challenging degree.
Bernice Chen, read her full profile.
If you enjoy learning about the key principles that underpin our government and society, give it a go. Also, if your brain is geared towards humanities but you like analysing things in detail and with an almost scientific focus, this may be the perfect discipline for you. I’d also advise you to get involved with real-world law as much as possible throughout your degree, whether it be through programs like the ANU Law Internship and ANU Clinical Programs or part-time work experience.
Eleanor Wallis, read her full profile.
What was your honours thesis or most memorable piece of research?
Taking part in the International Organisations program in Geneva at the end of my third year sparked my interest in the WTO, so I wrote my paper for that course on the increasing intersections of environmental protection standards and international trade law. I was able to further explore the broad reach of WTO law in electives such as Intellectual Property, for which I researched how the patent protection system mandated by the TRIPS Agreement fails to adequately accommodate the public health interest in developing countries, and International Trade Law, where I explored the implications of Regional Trade Agreements as carriers of ‘TRIPS-Plus’ standards on access to medicines in developing countries.
Brook Tsai, read her full profile.
The most memorable piece of research from my degree was the research I did in Family Law and Australian-American Comparative Gender Law, into intimate partner violence/family violence and how it affects minority groups. This research examined how the positioning of these groups results in different causes underlying the violence experienced, presents unique barriers to utilising services, and increases vulnerability to victimisation.
Jodie Bateup, read her full profile.
The day prior to graduation I commence maternity leave! So I will spend the next chapter of my life beginning my family and taking a break from full-time work and study. Once I recommence work, I will complete my GDLP studies with my employer, and look for opportunities to apply my new skills in my preferred field of study and interest, Indigenous affairs. An associateship is also potentially in my sights! I honestly feel like the world is my oyster, and I can’t wait to get out there and apply myself to new and exciting opportunities.
Libby Defranciscis, read her full profile.
I will be relocating early next year to Perth where I am fortunate enough to be commencing as associate to Justice McKerracher of the Federal Court of Australia. I am excited to have the opportunity to get exposure to the range of matters that fall within the Federal Court’s jurisdiction and cannot wait for the challenges it will present.
Rebecca Lucas, read her full profile.
I am starting as a graduate at the Australian Government Solicitor in the Office of General Counsel in January 2018, and commencing a position as Associate to the Hon Justice Kenny at the Federal Court in September 2018.
Arlette Regan, read her full profile.