Since walking through the front doors of ACU as a young man straight out of school, my university experience has been nothing short of amazing. I’ve really enjoyed attending a small university in a vibrant area of Melbourne, and I’ve found it easy to make friends and get the most out of my time at ACU.
Although attending classes and staying on top of things can be difficult, the University lifestyle allows me to play competitive sport, work casually and now part time and also have time to socialise and spend time with family, things which are very important.
Whilst studying Law has been a challenge at times, I have always viewed university as an important part of my life and it is something that I have put a lot of effort into.
Honestly, I hadn’t really looked at ACU throughout my university applications towards the end of my VCE. I was more interested in the other big universities however I did tour ACU in late December before Christmas and I was impressed with the facilities, location and small size of the place, it had a homely feel to it and I felt comfortable. I got into ACU on a third round offer so I was very lucky, however at the time it was the best decision I’ve made to enrol and I haven’t looked back.
I have always found my lecturers and tutors to be helpful and knowledgeable in the units I have undertaken. Most, if not all of my lecturers and tutors in Law are practising professionals in their field and are extremely helpful when it comes to the material they are teaching. The small class size at ACU also helps to learn and it gives both the lecturers and tutors an opportunity to work with the students closely throughout the semester. I have had some really good relationships with my lecturers and tutors and this makes studying a lot more enjoyable and assists me in my degree.
ACU is a fantastic place to study and as a small university with a relatively small campus and class sizes, it provides students with a great opportunity to enhance their learning and get the most out of their degree. Any student considering university needs to know that it’s very different from high school, and that lecturers and teachers will not pursue you for work to be completed, it’s very much an individual thing. However I have found ACU to be very accommodating when it comes to flexibility surrounding assessment dates which provides students with the confidence that if they complete their work and attend class and engage with the University, the University in turn will look after them and provide them with all the resources they need to exceed in their chosen degrees.
I would advise prospective students to weigh up all their options in terms of the different universities offered, and look closely at how ACU differs from the rest. ACU is an easy university to get your head around. The online LEO and Library systems are fantastic, the location of the University is ideal for those students who catch public transport or ride/walk, whilst the extensive range of extra curricular activities such as ACU Sport, Music, Balls and Galas and a range of other events that the University provides means it is a great social place that breaks up the study nicely and provides everyone with an opportunity to participate in University activities.
In my second year of study, I undertook a pro bono placement at AED Legal Centre, a community government funded legal centre that specialised in legal matters concerning clients with both physical and intellectual disabilities. I would go in one day a week for four months and undertake administrative work such as calling clients, filing documents, compiling correspondence, sitting in on new client meetings and a range of other tasks. This was my first insight into how a legal firm runs and it was an eye catching experience as I was exposed to a range of legal matters and dealt with clients across all walks of life. It really made me want to be a lawyer and give back to the community when I have the opportunity to.
In my third year of study I completed a professional experience internship program at Victoria Legal Aid, working in their migration and immigration department for five months, one day a week. This was an amazing experience as Victoria Legal Aid is a large organisation with various departments dealing with a wide range of legal matters, and just rocking up to the office once a week was an overwhelming experience. In this placement I was able to complete more advanced legal work, helping to draft Court Applications and documents relating to Visa and migration issues. I worked closely with experienced lawyers and barristers and was given an opportunity to attend Court a few times. I really enjoyed this experience as I was assisting less fortunate individuals in desperate circumstances and it felt good to provide assistance as a law student.
Over the summer of 2015/2016, I shadowed a Criminal Defence Barrister throughout a murder trial in the Supreme Court of Victoria. This was an amazing experience and was one of the best things I have ever done. I sat in court for two weeks and listened to every word spoken, taking down notes for my barrister where appropriate and doing small research for him at times. Witnessing a murder trial for the first time was an incredible experience itself, however being able to read all the evidence material closely in chambers and have a more intimate knowledge of the facts of the case was an added bonus and really added to my overall experience. I would recommend shadowing a barrister to any law student, regardless of whether they want to practice law or not. It gave me a first-hand look at how our legal system operates and I hope to undertake more of these in the future.
Currently I am working part time at a small Family Law firm and this is giving me a really good insight into Family Law, court procedures and how a law firm operates. I have a strong interest in Criminal and Defence/Intelligence Law and thus I would like to pursue something within these fields upon completion of my degree. Becoming a barrister would be a huge goal of mine, particularly practicing in Criminal Law. However I am really not too fussed where my law degree takes me. I am looking forward to graduating at the end of the year and obtaining my practicing certificate and then who knows!