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How to Gain a Competitive Edge in Law School: A Brief Guide from a Novice

By Sam Rotiroti
2019 Vice President of Careers, DLSS Geelong

As Trimester 2 exams have finally finished, law students exhale a deep sigh of relief in unison before the optional Trimester 3 rears its unpleasant head within the academic calendar. During this time students are given the opportunity to relax, socialise and travel. Although, one option many students forget to acknowledge is the need to plan.

The legal sector is a very competitive field to enter. Due to this, law school is challenging in more aspects than one. The need to maintain strong grades, work-life balance and a social life are strong indicators for success both within and after law school. However, even these simple elements will not guarantee someone a luxurious legal job fresh out of university. Provided below are a list of non-exhaustive options, or building blocks, students may decide to utilise, from 2020 onwards, to increase their chances of landing their dream job post law school.

The Deakin Law Clinic

Based in Deakin Downtown within the Melbourne CBD, the Deakin Law Clinic is a community legal service run by experienced practitioners in association with the Deakin Law School. Here, law students are given the chance to develop their legal, analytical and communication skills by working alongside fellow students on real cases. There are five practice areas students are able to enrol in within the Clinic:

  • Civil and Commercial Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Employment Law
  • Family Law
  • Venture Law

Additional information is available from the following link: https://www.deakin.edu.au/law/law-clinic


Compete in DLSS Geelong Competitions

There are numerous competitions held throughout the calendar year. In 2019, among many competitions, the DLSS Geelong hosted the ‘Harwood Andrews First Year Negotiation Final’ in August as well as the ‘Coulter Roache Social Justice Moot Final’ in September. These competitions were both judged by legal practitioners from our two biggest sponsors – Harwood Andrews and Coulter Roache. The skills learnt from participating in mooting and negotiations are instrumental to developing one’s CV, analytical thinking skills as well as networking. This is ideal if interested in becoming a future barrister or solicitor and want to help stand out from the rest of the crowd. Alternatively, if competing appears to be too intense, the option to attend and support fellow students who are competing is a viable option. That way students can also spectate and watch how the competitions run.

 

Attend DLSS Geelong Events

In 2019, the DLSS Geelong hosted a variety of social, networking and educational events for law students. Listed below are only a selection of events. For a full selection of what is on offer, make sure to visit the DLSS Geelong’s social media pages.

Careers
Regarding career-related events, the ‘Annual Careers Dinner’, hosted in May, featured 20 different legal firms and organisations being represented from across Victoria. This event is the DLSS Geelong’s biggest annual networking event, tallying just shy of 100 guests in 2019. In August, the ‘Alternative Careers Panel’ – held for the very first time – featured industry professionals providing advice to students on how to utilise their law degree for a future role outside of a traditional law firm.

Education
In August, the ‘Harwood Andrews Design Thinking Lab’ was held, where students and members of the legal profession collaborated together to help brainstorm how best to maximise the customer experience when reaching out to a law firm. This event was ideal for networking with lawyers and enhancing student’s critical thinking skills. Additionally, in September, the DLSS Geelong hosted a mental health panel (‘A Balanced Life: Wellbeing and a Legal Career’) in association with Coulter Roache. Here, a panel consisting of experienced legal practitioners expressed ideal ways for students to destress from their work and studies.

Social
As for social events, the DLSS Geelong started the year hosting the ‘Unlawful Business Launch’ – a social event in collaboration with the Deakin Commerce Students’ Society (DCSS) Geelong – where Deakin students were able to socialise to kick-start the beginning of trimester 1 in March 2019. Also, the DLSS Geelong hosted a group yoga session in May (‘Namaste your way to an A!’). Here, students received a discounted yoga session with an instructor during a busy time within the first trimester. Finally, the ‘2019 Law Ball’ – Sponsored by Harwood Andrews – was the DLSS Geelong’s premier event, held at GMHBA stadium within August two years in a row. The black-tie event is a fantastic way for law students to relax and enjoy the company of fellow law students who have been working hard throughout the course of the year. The event is also a great excuse to dress to impress and meet new people one may not have met in classes.

 

Utilise the Deakin Library Online Services

As a Deakin Law Student, there are countless resources available to students free of charge. Are you aware of the Deakin Resource Guides? The Deakin Library – under their Law Guides – offer free links to prescribed textbooks, tips on legal abbreviations and referencing, links to researching databases for both case law, legislation as well as secondary resources. If you require further information, feel free to contact your Law Liaison Librarian at either Deakin Burwood or Waterfront Campuses – this is regardless of what campus you attend. The resources can be found within the following link: https://www.deakin.edu.au/library/help/resource-guides

 

So set yourself apart, do some research and chat to those working in the industry to figure out how you can gain a competitive edge in Law School!

How to: ACE a Legal Competition!

By Madison Halge and Abbie Still 

As a law student, you have a number of opportunities to participate in mooting competitions! From Witness Examination, to Social Justice, to Deals and to Client Interviews, comps are a great way to showcase your practical legal skills and gain experience in formal legal settings.

It’s also a great way to demonstrate interest and competence as an advocate to prospective employers. Most students find mooting to be intellectually rewarding and highly enjoyable. It can be nerve-racking and frustrating, but it is a lot of fun!

DLSS Geelong runs tons of competitions of competitions all year round! Nervous about participating? We understand, but we’re here to help you out. Our awesome Competitions team, headed up by VP Abbie Still, have provided their top 10 tips to help you succeed in a competition and take out the win! 💪


1. Be Confident!
Try to remain composed and appear confident even if you’re feeling nervous. It’s a     learning experience, so give it your best shot and fake it ’till you make it.

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 2. Know the Rules! 
Check out the specific rules and regulations for each competition. These can be found on the DLSS website! Want more detail? Check out ALSA: the Australian Law Student Association website. Here, you’ll find all the specific information regarding the rules and format of each competition.

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3. Practice, Practice, Practice!
Rehearse your presentation and practice your arguments, you can never be too prepared! This is the key to your success in a moot – practice makes perfect.

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4. Dress to Impress!
Suit up! Business attire is required for both competition heats and finals. It’ll set the scene, make you look and feel your best, as well as assist in the professionalism of your delivery.

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5. Manage your Time!
This links back to PRACTICE! All of our competitions have time limits you must abide by. Make sure you have enough time to present all of your arguments without rushing or running out of time so that you give yourself the best chance to take that win.

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6. Know your Stuff!
Preparation is key – they do say cases are won in chambers, not in court. BUT – don’t recite from a prepared script or read from your notes, know your material so that you can confidently present it.

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7. Learn BOTH Arguments!
Understand, learn and determine holes in opposing arguments! Playing devil’s advocate will help you to anticipate what your opponent may argue and allow you to prepare a rebuttal. Additionally, this will help you answer the judges questions!

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8. Keep it Simple, Sweety!
Be brief, concise and to the point. Make your argument powerful without using pretentious expressions or complicated legalese. Don’t disguise your hard work and make it difficult to understand!

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9. Seek Feedback!
There is always room for improvement! Asking the judges for feedback will enable you to learn what your strengths and weaknesses are in a courtroom, which will help you improve for your next competition and in real life cases.

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10. Relax and HAVE FUN!
Enjoy the experience! Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be perfect. All of our competitions are meant to be enjoyable, so use it as a learning experience and give it a go!

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With these tips, you’ll be a pro in no time!

Sign up to give a competition a go – you can do this 👊

VIS MOOT: The 411

By Reid Hadaway

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There are myriad reasons you should do the Vis Moot, and I could make this blog post run for pages regaling you with anecdotes in support of my reasons. However, I will constrain myself to three points which I believe set the Vis Moot apart from any other experience your degree can offer you.

The first is that although we must learn the law to obtain a law degree, we do not learn to be lawyers. The Vis Moot represents the chance to learn to be a lawyer. From day one you will begin to develop a case strategy and learn to advocate for that strategy. It will become clear that no strategy can live forever and you will be asked to adapt – sometimes mid-sentence – when an epiphany strikes you and the arguments change. This process of development and adaptation will forever alter the way you approach arguments, challenges and legal problem solving. The experiential nature of the moot will transform your theoretical understanding into a nuanced application, which sets you on the path to being a great lawyer, not just a great law student.

The second is the team. Never before will you have worked so closely with a group of individuals. Your success hinges upon the quality of your teamwork and collaboration. My team is the closest unit one can imagine, I would dare say we are family. This meant we never stopped communicating, running ideas past each other or supporting one another. As a result, I went from dreading the prospect of teamwork or collaboration in class to loving every moment I spend and spent with my amazing teammates. The ability to work in such an environment will be invaluable during and after your time as a Vis mootie.

The third and final reason is because your raw experience as a mootie will outmatch any other opportunity I could conceivably offer you. You will meet a menagerie of eclectic figures. From past Vis mooties to esteemed arbitrators and judges, not to mention the thousands of other students taking part once you’re overseas. On the other side of the moot you will have developed a network overseas and at home which will be invaluable. You will have had experiences with your friends and coaches that you will reflect fondly upon forever. The experience will crystallise as a time of unique importance in your life and career.

Clearly I love the moot and I want you to love it too. I will leave you with two pieces of advice. First, never write yourself off, apply and have a go because you have absolutely nothing to lose. And second, if you are on the team, trust your coaches from day one. Dive in and relish every moment because they will be impossible to replicate.

 

VIS MOOT APPLICATIONS ARE NOW OPEN! 

Applications close on 27 August at 5pm. All applications to Rebecca Tisdale at her email r.tisdale@deakin.edu.au

Applications to include a resume, statement of results/screenshot of results and a cover letter addressing your availability over summer!

 

What are you waiting for?

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Guide to Deakin’s Legal Placement Programs

By Karleen Tadle

Law students all go through the same phase: I haven’t had any legal experince and I need to. Now. It can be stressful finding opportunities that fit law students, so Deakin has made it exceptionally easier!

You don’t have to look too far because Deakin offers three WIL programs that will provide you with the practical legal experience needed to be a competitive grad!

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Legal Internship Program

The Legal Internship program offers placements at a diverse range of external organisations. The organisations range from commercial, criminal, public law and government organisations. Tasks could include liaising with lawyers, researching, interviewing clients, negotiating and drafting documents.  The internship runs for a minimum of 15 days with assessments from both your host organisation and Deakin University.

Check out this link for more information!

 

Deakin Law Clinic

Located at Deakin Downtown in Melbourne CBD, the Deakin Law Clinic offers legal placement in the areas of Family, Employment, Criminal, Venture and Civil and Commercial law. During this internship you will be working with real clients and real issues under the supervision of a qualified legal practitioner! You may be required to interview clients, draft documents, conduct legal research and complete other general administrative tasks for clients.

Check out this link for more information!

*Note: To participate in these programs you must have completed or be co-enrolled in MLL251 Legal Practice and Ethics and completed at least 6 MLL units. Each individual clinic may have other pre-requisites.

 

VIS Moot 

The Vis Moot is an international moot court competition held annually in Vienna, Austria before Easter. It is the largest moot in the world for international trade law and is considered to be highly prestigious. A select few Deakin students each year are selected to represent Deakin Law School, where you will not only earn a credit point in MLL355 International Litigation and Dispute Settlement, but you’ll also be involved in one of the most highly regarded competitions in the profession, which is great for your career!

Check out this link for more information!

 

 

If you aren’t sure if you should do a legal placement, here are the benefits of doing an internship…

 

  1. Hands-on practical experience– you will get to experience the work that lawyers will do a regular basis and have exposure to the workplace.
  2. Develop critical legal skills and knowledge – you will get to work on you verbal and written and communication, problem-solving and critical analysis, research and interview skills. You will be challenged but will gain a different perspective on your legal studies.
  3. Networking– build connections with lawyers, which may be useful when needing advice, information or a reference.
  4. Direction– you will get to determine if your current area of interest is the area you would like to practice in the future.
  5. Competitive edge– it shows you have a keen to work in the industry and demonstrates to future employers that you have the skills and experience to do well.

 

Applications for T3 are NOW OPEN and close September 3 2019! Places are competitive so make sure you head over to WIL and apply as soon as possible! You got this 👊

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Study Abroad: Short-Term Partner Programs

By Madison Halge

 

Looking for a great way to mix up your degree and also want to be posting iconic images of your travels on insta on the daily? Have you considered studying abroad?

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Deakin prides itself on being worldy, and this is probably one of the best times in your life to head on your biggest adventure. Why’s that, you ask? Well you get a credit point toward your degree, and you don’t have to pay a cent upfront (thank you HECS 🙏)

That’s right, take an elective unit with no exam and gain an opportunity to study overseas in world-renowned universities and colleges. It helps to mix things up on your transcript and can be a great talking point in possible interviews!

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Need more convincing? Check out below the experiences of two of our committee members who just completed their first abroad!


Ethan Hosking | Bachelor of Laws/Commerce (Finance)

I had the pleasure of participating in a short-term study tour at the London School of Economics and Political Science in the recent trimester break. The unit I studied was called International Financial law and it was credited towards my degree here at Deakin.

The unit was an intensive unit, which entailed a three-hour lecture and a one hour and thirty-minute seminar every day. The rest of the day was spent studying and sight-seeing! The unit was led by an expert in the field of International Financial law and classes involved highly collaborative discussion. The class was a melting pot of different cultures and people from different stages of their life, including professional lawyers from Russia, Portugal and Brazil.

Aside from studying, there were numerous activities available to the students at discounted prices. These activities included daytrips to Stonehenge and Bath, daytrips to Oxford and Cambridge, the Thames river cruise and theatre productions such as Les Misérables and the Lion King (personal favourite). Furthermore, there were several optional seminars that worked on resume building, cover letter workshops, how to minimise stress in university/college, public speaking workshops and much more. This all added value to my time at LSE.

Regarding employability, it is important in today’s age as overseas travel experience is held in high regard amongst employers. Employers look for these study tours that throw people out of their comfort zones and to develop their worldly knowledge and understanding. I highly recommend participating in these types of study tours for this reason!

 

Kaitlin Coles | Bachelor of Laws/Criminology  

Applications to study abroad in trimester three are now open, and as a student that just returned from studying in London, I would highly recommend studying overseas to all students.

As a third-year law student, I participated in the Deakin Study Abroad Short-Term Partner Program over the June/July holidays and studied International Human Rights Law at the London School of Economics (LSE). Studying at LSE has been the best experience of my university degree as I had the opportunity to meet students from all over the world, experience life as a student in London and be taught by leading professionals in law.

After a whirlwind of three weeks, I have come back to Australia as a more confident and knowledgeable student with many great memories of eating fish and chips with mushy peas in London pubs and sitting in LSE’s library debating human rights with students from Norway, Germany and America.

I would strongly encourage students to study overseas as it offers the amazing opportunityto meet students from diverse cultures, languages and religions and to explore another country all while gaining an academic credit. Deakin’s Study Abroad program is extremely worthwhile and has helped me gain independence and a deeper respect and understanding of other cultures which will no doubt assist me within my future career.


Trimester 3 offers heaps of overseas programs that you can enrol into, especially for law! Human Rights Law in the Czech Republic, Competition Law in Sweden or International Environmental Law in the Netherlands. The possibilities are endless! You can study for two to three weeks or stay on longer! Interested? Information for studying abroad in trimester three can be found HERE!

Struggling to find the funds for the Deakin Abroad trip? It’s also worth investigating whether there are grants available for a specific course. Some grants from the university may even cover the whole trip! Also, once you have been enrolled in the unityou may be eligible to apply for an OS-Help loan. This allows you to receive a flat amount of money towards your trip that works similarly to a HECS debt. If you are interested in gaining more info about this, check out the link HERE!  

 

So, who’s ready to go on an adventure? 

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Upcoming events for Trimester 2!

By Madison Halge

 

Trimester 2 has started and we hope you’ve settled in nicely. We’ve got a big trimester coming up, so it’s time for another update from DLSS Geelong!

Make sure you take advantage of your membership and come along to our social, education and careers based events, participate in our competitions and check out the opportunities we promote for all students this trimester!

We are always advertising different work and volunteer opportunities as well as providing information for new events on our social media, so make sure you’re following our Instagram and have liked us on Facebook so you don’t miss out!

Check out the information below for everything you need to know about what’s on offer from DLSS Geelong in the near future!

 

LAW BALL  

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Our Annual event, our Law Ball, is back for 2019! This years theme: ✨ All That Glitters

The biggest event on our social calendar is right around the corner, and we’re almost SOLD OUT 🎟 Remaining ticket sales are closing in LESS THAN TWO WEEKS, so if you haven’t already bought a ticket, get one ASAP!

CLICK HERE FOR TICKET PURCHASES! 🌟

We’re also taking table submissions for Law Ball for full tables of 10, as well as groups from 2-9 people. Please have one member of your group email functions@dlssgeelong.com.au with every guest’s name and student number! All guests must have purchased a ticket for the table to reserved.

Please also note in the email who on the table is a law student and what year they are in, so we can try and match groups up with people they may know! Anyone who has not been included on a table request by the time ticket sales close will be automatically assigned to a table.

 

ALTERNATIVE CAREERS PANEL 

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We will invite individuals as guest speakers who have graduated from law school but have decided to utilise their law degrees to work in professions different to that of the traditional law firm.

This event will give students a greater idea of how to market themselves in the workforce once they graduate if they decide not to go down the traditional path.

Check out our Facebook event HERE for more information and to register!

 

DESIGN THINKING LAB 

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Join us on Saturday August 24th for our renamed Hackathon, Design Thinking Lab, in partnership with Harwood Andrews!

Innovation and design thinking is an integral part of modern legal practice, so the theme – Redesigning the Client Experience – will focus on designing the perfect legal on-boarding experience, from first contact to signing the dotted line!

It’s a great opportunity to network with Deakin and Harwood Andrews staff, and is a fantastic talking point for those who will shortly be doing clerkship interviews!

Check out our Facebook event HERE for more information and to register!

 

THAT’S NOT ALL… 

Make sure you like and keep up with our Facebook page to hear all about our upcoming events! Look out for our AGM, more competitions, one of our favourite social events, and more seminars and workshops! 

 

For now, enjoy your first few weeks of Tri 2, and get ready for an event-filled trimester!

 

 

Wellbeing and the Law

On Monday 17 September, DLSS Geelong and Coulter Roache held their first ever Wellbeing and the Law Panel. The event brought together students on the brink of joining the legal profession, young lawyers from Coulter Roache, and Nicole Pluim (Deakin University psychologist) to discuss the many challenges that are present in the legal profession, especially for young people making the massive jump from University to working in the law.

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This year has seen the commencement of a new partnership between DLSS Geelong and Coulter Roache, one which has now produced the hugely successful Social Justice Luncheon featuring the Honourable Michael Kirby, the Social Justice Moot, and today’s Wellbeing Panel.

The event opened with Nicole giving a talk on the many stressors that can negatively effect mental health, especially for law students and young legal professionals. Nicole stressed that whilst many of us may experience episodic periods of mental ‘unwellness’, or mental illness, with proper care, treatment and support, many people can function well and go about their daily lives without too much interference or set-back from their illness.

She went on to discuss how finding a balance between all of your commitments is hugely important, by drawing up a ‘wheel of life’. The wheel should comprise of 8 parts, labelled with the various commitments and passions you have in life, and then determine how many parts of the wheel that commitment or passion takes up time-wise. Then you can analyse if your time is being spent on things you enjoy, if you’re spending too much time studying or working, or if you should spend more time engaging with family and friends.

We then welcomed our panel of lawyers from Coulter Roache – Tess Aberline, Satbir Singh, Allison Murhpy and Harriet Burton. All of these panelists, recent law graduates themselves, moved through a discussion on the various phases of moving into the legal profession, the challenges faced at each phase, and how each of our panelists tried to overcome the associated stress and anxiety that each phase brought on.

The resounding suggestion that came from our panel was to prioritise time on things you are truly passionate about, and to “say yes to less” – This stemming from the realisation that often many of us over-commit to work, volunteering, university life, socialising, and can’t contribute 100% to each task, which results in poor performance across the board. If you focus your time and energy into commitments that you are passionate about, you’re more likely to achieve better results and enjoy your time doing those tasks!

Each of our panelists gave a realistic and relative account of their transition into working as a lawyer full-time, coming out of many years of grueling study. Whilst the approach to overcoming adversity and set-backs is highly personal and changes from person to person, our panel were encouraging of students not comparing themselves to their colleagues and focusing instead on your own personal progression through the profession. Whilst it can be hard to see friends and fellow students attaining those sought-after clerkships and grad roles, and you might feel like you’re lagging behind, the only person whose progress you should be focused on and competing against is your own!

We cannot thank Nicole and the panel from Coulter Roache enough for their time, and for sharing their knowledge and experiences with our students! Also we are hugely appreciative of Coulter Roache for also allowing a large number of their staff to partake in this event and network with students before and after the presentations. It’s wonderful to see a regional firm engaging on such an intimate level with our student community and really practicing what they preach in regards to health and wellbeing initiatives for staff!

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In 2018, DLSS Geelong published our first ever Wellbeing Guide, which can be accessed online here. We strongly believe in equipping students with the skills to navigate their future careers, and as such, greatly appreciate the support that Coulter Roache has shown in kind for these initiatives throughout the year!

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Success and your mental health

By Brody Wons

As a student it is easy to find yourself constantly comparing yourself to others. You compare your grades to other students. You compare the amount of experience you have. You compare clerkship and grad offers. You compare your achievements and awards. You compare the number of LinkedIn connections you have.

It is easy to find yourself stuck in constant competition with those around you. Everyone fighting their way through law school with the aim of securing a lucrative clerkship or grad job. At law school it is easy to use others to define what success is. It is easy to compare your achievements and accomplishment to those around you and begin to feel inferior or unsuccessful.

It is easy for these feelings to translate into sleepless nights and stressful days as you do your best to manage; work, study, competitions, legal experience, volunteering, networking, and clerkship/grad applications. You find yourself constantly looking for things to add to the never-ending list of things to do. You keep telling yourself that you just need to make it through the next week and it will get easier, that things will slow down. But they don’t, they keep getting quicker as you take on my opportunities and try and cram more things into your schedule. All of this done, in order to be able to call yourself “successful”.

But what does “success” actually mean? What does being “successful” actually look like? The truth is “success” is not something that can be universally defined. What is a major success for one person might actually be a failure for another person. When it comes to success the only person who is capable of defining it is you. You define your own success. It is your choice what you spend your time and energy one.

Thus, the constant comparisons we make to those around serve no point but to lower our self-image, create anxiety, and lower the confidence we have in ourselves. There are only two people we should ever draw comparisons from. Our past selves and our future selves. The first being through the process of reflection and the second being through the process of goal-setting.

The process of reflection involves analysing the past and comparing where you are presently to where you used to be. This process can help us determine our strengths and weakness as well as provide us with areas where we can improve. The process enables us to see how far we have come, and all of the obstacles that we overcome.

Going in the opposite direction, the process of goal-setting involves clearly defining who you want to be in the future. It is the process of seeing what type of lifestyle you want to have. It is the process of determining what is important to you. Goal-setting can be a powerful tool, which can be used to provide direction in your life and also assist you when making hard decisions.

Overall, whether it is law school, practice as a lawyer or life generally; there is no one definition of “success”. Everyone’s definition of success is different, and everyone can be successful in different ways. You don’t achieve anything by comparing yourself to others. It is time to define your own success.

In 2018, DLSS Geelong published our first ever Wellbeing Guide, which can be accessed online here. We strongly believe in equipping students with the skills to navigate their future careers, and as such, greatly appreciate the support that Coulter Roache has shown in kind for these initiatives throughout the year!

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Steps to social justice | The Honourable Michael Kirby’s visit to Geelong

By Taylah Eastwell

Originally published by Deakin Law School

Deakin Law School (DLS) had the pleasure of welcoming the Honourable Michael Kirby AC CMG to the Geelong Waterfront Campus last Friday. His Honour made a special appearance at two sold-out social justice themed events organised by the Deakin Law Student Society (DLSS) Geelong.

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Sporting a purple tie in support of LGBTQIA+ ‘Where it Purple Day’, His Honour delivered a lecture and attended a luncheon where he addressed a range of existential social justice issues from nuclear power to refugee rights.

“Although I am a gay man and don’t have children, I am concerned about the future of our species. If we don’t act on these issues, the long-term survival of our species is very unsure”, he said.

He urged upcoming legal professionals to become actively involved in advocating for change, in particular by beginning the conversation about nuclear weapons and expressing our safety concerns to our politicians. His Honour believes nuclear weapons are set to become a more widespread, global issue that will render the legal system incapable of protecting individuals if appropriate action is not taken to control and minimise the access of nuclear weapons by power-hungry civilisations.
On the subject of politics, His Honour joked about his aspirations as a law student to be Prime Minister and his belief that he took the more ‘stable career option’ following last week’s events in politics. He noted that when he was considering a political career it was almost impossible for a gay man to reach the top due to archaic views but hopes his work in standing up for minorities has had a positive impact on making homosexuality more accepted in power roles.

President of the DLSS Geelong, Lauren Solomonson, said “one of the major difficulties for our society with being based regionally is that it is usually tricky to secure prominent guests at our events. Organising for such an esteemed guest to come all the way from Sydney to speak with students is a huge accomplishment.”

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While students and professionals working in social justice fields enjoyed a catered luncheon, issues of family violence and sexuality discrimination were raised for comment. His Honour believes the best approach to address these issues is through education in schools from an early age on equality and gender inclusive attitudes. His Honour also believes religious conviction is outdated and requires change.

“I was left alone in the public school system to work things out for myself. On a recent visit to WA I was informed that there is only one private Catholic school offering LGBTQIA+ inclusive education. The Anglican Church gave $1 million to the ‘no’ campaign and only $5,000 to domestic violence. I don’t think we can begin to deal with the rest of these issues until change occurs” in these areas, he said.

In true ‘Great Dissenter’ fashion, His Honour said that the High Court should have more dissents as a final court.

“If there is no room for disagreement, the matter should not have made it to the High Court to begin with. As a final court there should be dissent. If there are no differing views it shows all the judges are being picked from too similar of gene pool”.

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His Honour urged those about to enter the legal profession to remember that law is about balancing the rules with proper justice, and urged them to join the fight in making a more accepting and equal society for minorities groups and others suffering at the hands of the justice system.

“It excites me to see so many students engaged and passionate about the existential issues facing our society. It makes me confident that the young leaders of our country’s future are cognizant of these plights, ready and willing to discuss them, and want to ignite real change”, said Lauren.

The $540 received from ticket sales for the events was donated to the ‘Give Where You Live Foundation’, a Geelong based organisation supporting those who suffer disadvantage.

“DLSS Geelong does a lot to give back to our student community but thought this event was the perfect occasion to also give back to the greater Geelong community. We would like to thank all students who purchased a ticket for their contribution”, Lauren added.