Solicitor Helen Phelps on juggling postgraduate study and her practice

Helen Phelps
The Canberra-based solicitor specialises in Wills & Estates and Dispute Resolution and has always felt that law was the ‘right’ choice.

The most rewarding part of being a lawyer is concluding a complex situation either in planning or dispute resolution, in a way where my client’s interests have been fairly represented and they have obtained a just outcome.

Helen Phelps is doing the final unit of a Master of Laws (LLM), while also working full-time in private practice.

The Canberra-based solicitor specialises in Wills & Estates and Dispute Resolution and has always felt that law was the ‘right’ choice. 

“While I enjoy study, the main enjoyment for me comes from being able to ‘problem solve’ legal issues for my clients,” Helen says.

“It was a logical transition for me to complete my GDLP at ANU, having just completed my undergraduate studies (Bachelor of Arts (Political Science)/Bachelor of Laws Hons 2014) and also as I was living in the ACT.

“Once I completed my GDLP, it took me about a week to realise I wanted to complete further studies.

“I applied for a position in the Master of Laws program due to the variety of courses I could undertake, and as I knew I could expect a high standard of teaching.”

Helen has many memories to reflect on from her time studying at the ANU College of Law.

“From an academic perspective, attending lectures presented by Chief Justice Mason and Justice Gummow while at an undergraduate level was a pretty incredible experience.

“Another highlight was studying Animals and the Law with Alex Bruce; this is a subject that is close to my heart and he is certainly leading the development and discussion of this practice area in Australia.

“From a personal standpoint, I met a diverse range of wonderful people who are working in a variety of roles both in Australia and internationally and hope that our friendships will endure in the long term.

“Professionally, I have found that the research based degree offered by the ANU has been very beneficial to my practice. Studying a Master of Laws at the ANU has also helped my continuing professional development.”

Helen stated that she really enjoys the way ANU has embraced using technology for material and teaching, which has helped her complete her degree while working full-time.

For students considering a postgraduate law degree, Helen gave the following advice:

“My advice is that they engage with the materials provided. A number of the courses offered are partially online with an intensive in-person component. Ensuring you have engaged in the course before completing the intensive really allows you to make the most of that in-person contact time.”

Learn all about our LLM and other postgraduate options at ANU Open Day 25 Aug.

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