A spur-of-the-moment decision is what initially led Eloise Doherty to embark on a life-changing journey studying law at The Australian National University (ANU).
“I chose to study law because a family friend suggested that I would enjoy it,” Eloise said.
“Without much consideration, on the eve of the university application submission date, I decided to give law a go and move from Sydney to Canberra.”
“I can now say that it was the best decision I could have made.”
Alongside her legal studies, Eloise majored in international relations and French as a part of her Arts degree.
Over the course of her studies, Eloise also discovered a passion for legal theory and public law.
“Legal theory really gets to the heart of why we have law and what it ought to be from a philosophical standpoint,” she said.
“I equally enjoyed public law because of its importance in providing an understanding of legal relations between persons and government, as well as the values and principles that underpin the Australian legal system.”
What Eloise didn’t consider when she first enrolled at ANU was how our location links us to the nation’s key law-making and legislative bodies.
“What I didn’t appreciate at the time was that being in Canberra, the ANU College of Law is exposed to a high-level of public law academics and exciting opportunities in the public law institutions of Australia.”
For Eloise, there are three ANU Law academics who have been especially influential during her law school journey: Associate Professor Joshua Neoh, Associate Professor Anthony Hopkins and Professor Asmi Wood.
“Associate Professor Neoh’s classes are something in between a lecture and a theatre production: full of humour and learning,” Eloise said. “He really showed me how engaging and insightful learning about the law could be.”
“Associate Professor Hopkins provided me with a sense of empathy on how to view the law and taught me the many perspectives it can be seen from.”
“Professor Wood continued to challenge me throughout my law degree. He never failed to question me, forcing me to expand my knowledge to new horizons and refine my thoughts and understanding of the law.”
Eloise’s most memorable experience at the ANU College of Law was participating in our inaugural Legal Education for True Justice: Indigenous Perspectives and Deep Listening on Country course with Associate Professor Hopkins and Professor Wood.
“This course truly transformed my understanding of what law means in Australia,” Eloise said.
“I learnt to listen differently and was equipped with a more critical and meaningful understanding of Aboriginal perspectives. I would recommend this course to anyone!”
Eloise also recommends that future ANU Law students consider choosing courses taught by academics who inspire them.
“It is beneficial to discover which academics you get on well with and find most insightful,” she said.
“Choose all their courses - it will make studying law a more exciting and engaging process.”
While Eloise once dreamed of playing professional soccer or athletics during her formative years, she has now set her sights on an alternative career path.
“Although I still enjoy those sports, law has opened up a variety of other possibilities,” she said.
Now she has graduated, Eloise will be starting an associateship at the Federal Court in early 2024.
“Until then, I will spend the next few months travelling and enjoying a break from study!”