Topics such as whether Google has breached the laws around web advertising, and the challenges of legal practice in the modern world, were hot on the agenda at Australian Catholic University’s (ACU) Law Induction Week in Sydney.
More than 100 first-year law students participated in a range of lectures and activities last week designed to get them off to a successful start – including discussions, debates, moot preparation, and introduction to ACU’s pro bono experience program.
Key activities included:
Official opening and welcome from Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Craven, and Head of School Professor Brian Fitzgerald;
Welcome to the Legal Profession: Sydney session chaired by ACU Professor Laurence Boulle, with Ros Everett (NSW Law Society President), David Jackson AM QC, and Talitha Fishburn (barrister);
The Role of the Lawyer address: Sydney session chaired by ACU lecturer Catherine Renshaw, with David Hillard, pro bono partner at Clayton Utz, Louisa Fitz-Gerald, General Counsel at Cancer Council NSW, and Susai Benjamin of the Toongabbie Legal Centre Inc;
Father Frank Brennan lecture: ‘The Modern Lawyer’s Challenge of Contributing to Justice According to Law; what can a first year law student do?’
A visit to Judge Kenneth Raphael in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia;
Moot court preparation and practice: Google v ACCC;
Social and networking events.
Law Induction Week was also held for commencing students in Melbourne. ACU introduced law to the Melbourne Campus last year and launched the Faculty of Law in Sydney in November. The first group of students will begin lectures later this month. A hallmark of the Bachelor of Laws is the requirement for students to undertake 80 hours pro bono work from second year onwards. This provides them with experience while at the same time giving back to their community.
In a welcome speech to new students, Professor Craven said the purpose of the Faculty was to produce "a particular type of lawyer" who is practical and ethical.
"Our law school is based on two university traditions: Australian and Catholic, and incorporates the philosophical values of the Catholic intellectual tradition. We have an obsession with social justice, not only in the courses that we offer but in what we do."
Professor Fitzgerald said ACU offered a different experience of law studies, with a community built on participation, respect, integrity and service.
"Our students have a willingness to contribute and the ability to come up with solutions. From the start we want to provide an environment where students can develop the skills and confidence to pursue careers in legal practice and beyond. We see the Law Induction Week as a starting point for building personal and professional success."