I had more of a gap decade actually. I joined the Royal Australian Navy right after high school and trained as an avionics technician. After serving for six years I left and completed post graduate studies in aviation management before working in the aviation industry for a few years. I then took on a role as a civilian with Defence where I first experienced managing contracts and found that I really enjoyed it. This was one of the reasons I decided to commence studying law with ACU. I also took a year off in the middle of all this to travel the world in a campervan and work on a yacht in the Mediterranean. I feel that my background and life experience has assisted me in working out that practising law is what I want to do for the rest of my life.
As a mature age student, I am balancing my studies with working full time. I also have a family and my two small children have been born since starting my degree so my university experience has been busy to say the least. Managing my time is the biggest challenge I face with regards to my studies; however, I have a genuine interest in the law and am passionate about pursuing a career in the industry and graduating. I enjoy my time on campus and can often be found in a quiet corner with a coffee studying and making the most of a spare 30 minutes between classes before returning to work. I’ve also met some truly inspiring people throughout my university experience, both students and teachers, and I think the people are what make the ACU Law program so rewarding.
Having previously attended another Sydney university, ACU appealed to me because of its small and intimate nature. It is a university where the lecturers know their students’ names and you have the opportunity to build relationships rather than just attend classes. When I commenced studying with ACU the Law program was in its infancy, I saw this as an amazing opportunity to be involved in establishing the founding reputation of the Law School as one of excellence. As an added bonus, the North Sydney campus was 5 minutes from my office.
Absolutely. I have felt supported, motivated and inspired by all of my lecturers and tutors and have been impressed by the calibre of the academic staff at ACU. I have found them to be available and responsive whenever I have sought advice or clarification and to be approachable, which is important to students. I feel that the staff genuinely want the best for their students and this creates a wholly positive learning environment.
I would recommend they come and experience the university first hand. Speak to the academic staff, current students and attend any available information sessions or open days to ensure ACU is the best fit for them. I would also suggest prospective students consider the realities of studying law as the standards and expectations of law students at ACU are high. However, there is a supportive and welcoming learning environment awaiting them should they choose ACU.
Yes, a unique aspect of ACU’s law program is that students are required to undertake pro-bono work as part of their studies. I have been volunteering with Salvos Legal, a not for profit law firm, as part of their Humanitarian team. As part of this I volunteer fortnightly at their advice bureaus where free legal advice, assistance and representation is offered to clients who would otherwise be unable to afford such services. I have also had the opportunity to volunteer as a clerk with the Salvos Humanitarian team in the head office where I gained valuable professional experience and was able to assist clients in greater depth. Volunteering with Salvos has enabled me to learn a great deal about practising law in the real world but also about myself. It made me realise how much I enjoy the human side of this profession, the stories and the people. I’m honoured that I could assist them.
Given my technical background and military work experience, my career plan at this stage is to stick to what I know and try and work towards practising in-house for one of the big Defence technology providers. But plans change, so I don’t really have a definitive area of practice in mind. All I can say for certain right now is that I intend to practise law, most likely in a commercial capacity. If I can leverage my current and past work history and combine the two, well that’s a win.