My name is Hannah Mitchell. I am in my final semester of the Bachelor of Laws program and I currently work at the Federal Circuit Court as a Judge’s Associate.
I chose to study law at ANU because of its reputation and location. Canberra is a great student city because it has all the amenities of a bigger city with a slower pace and warmer community.
One of my most memorable experiences at law school was participating in the Prison Legal Literacy Clinic. The course involved working collaboratively with a small group of law students to prepare tailored sessions on areas of law selected by detainees. The overall aim of the program was to increase the detainee’s legal literacy, but the impact of engaging with the group on a human level provided a constant reality check on the divergence between legal theory and practice. I was moved by the detainees’ stories and the insight they shared, as well as their willingness to listen to what we had to say. The experience reinforced the importance of choosing openness and empathy in my interactions with other people, including in legal practice.
After graduating I hope to obtain my practising certificate and begin work in criminal, family or personal injury law.
My advice to new students is to be kind to yourselves. Studying law is challenging at the best of times, so make sure you take care of yourself and celebrate small victories along the way. Setbacks are part and parcel of life as a law student, but building resilience is something you will benefit from throughout your career in any field. I would also strongly encourage new students to prioritise practical experience, whether paid or voluntary. Not only does work experience help with further employment, it is critical to understanding that legal theory is only one component of legal practice.
Learn more about our Bachelor of Laws (Honours) program.