Five more questions before you graduate: Alex Kershaw

Alex Kershaw

I heard something in a lecture this year about leaving each person you come across in your legal work in a better position than you found them. That’s my goal.

Why did you decide to study law?

My favourite subjects in high school were English and Modern History. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do with my life, but I knew I wanted to study something connected to social justice and reform and human rights and that led me to law.

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.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about studying law?

Go for it – it’s a challenging and interesting degree, and useful in many contexts. But my other, most personal piece of advice would be to look after yourself and proactively manage your mental health throughout your degree. Don’t wait for things to get bad or assume you can wait out a problem until you graduate. Don’t be afraid to speak to someone for help or options.

What was your most memorable lesson/piece of research from your degree?

So many memorable lessons. I loved those involving critical and intersectional thinking – Indigenous Australians and the Law, Feminist and Critical Legal Theory, Refugee Law, International Human Rights Law … it feels like the list is endless. On the other hand, Commonwealth Constitutional Law, Conflict of Laws, International Law of the Sea, and Income Tax Law were special because of their fantastic lecturers, challenging course material, or the fact they opened up new areas of interest to me. An essay I wrote in Indigenous Australians and the Law (on the legal test for indigenous identity) is probably the most memorable because it raised issues I hadn’t yet come across elsewhere in my study. That course filled so many gaps in my knowledge and the lectures from Asmi Wood and guest lecturers like Mick Dodson, and the questions they raised, gave me energy towards the end of my degree and reminded me why I came here.

What’s next?

I don’t have concrete plans yet. I heard something in a lecture this year about leaving each person you come across in your legal work in a better position than you found them. That’s my goal.

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Updated:  10 August 2015/Responsible Officer:  College General Manager, ANU College of Law/Page Contact:  Law Marketing Team