Giving Indigenous students that extra opportunity is really beneficial.
Melbourne-born Emma Berry, who belongs to the Wilyakali nation from Broken Hill, has received the 2018 ANU Law Indigenous Students’ Practical Legal Training Scholarship. Now working in Canberra after completing an undergraduate degree in Law and Commerce in Melbourne, Emma is undertaking a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice.
“I wanted to complete my Graduate Diploma at the ANU because it gave me more flexibility in when and how I could completed it,” Emma explains.
“I thought it would be really helpful for me to be able to get my graduate diploma done quicker, with less impact on my work and finances,” the Australian Public Service employee adds.
The ANU School of Legal Practice and the National Centre for Indigenous Studies offer the Indigenous Students' Practical Legal Training Scholarship to support Indigenous students who want to undertake the compulsory practical legal training before being admitted as a lawyer.
“I think that the scholarship is really good for Indigenous law graduates”, Emma says.
“It is difficult to get into legal practice without having a postgraduate qualification; clerkships and graduates positions are really competitive. Giving Indigenous students that extra opportunity is really beneficial.”
Emma chooses to study and practice law because she finds it to be a challenging and intellectually fulfilling career requiring the cultivation of versatile skills that are applicable in any field. Her aim was to add practical skills to the theory she learned as an undergraduate.
“Being able to understand the practical aspects of drafting business agreements and property settlements gives a different aspect to what I learnt in my law degree,” she says.
“I wasn’t excited about property law when I studied it at law school, but doing the practical aspects of it gave a very interesting take. I have worked on property law before, so I kind of knew that it was very different to what you learn in books. But it is very good to get an understanding of practical law as opposed to the ‘book’ law”.
Asked about her future, Emma says her ultimate goal is to practice in corporate law.
“My pursuit of a career in corporate law is spurred by my desire to contribute to legal innovation enabling the law to evolve with the 21st century.
“Intellectual property and technology media law fascinate me, and I get really excited by them because they are at the forefront of global change.”