ACU (Australian Catholic University)


Issue 8, Autumn 2013

Law Induction Week: a week in the life of a first-year law student

Law induction week

Bachelor of Law/Arts student, Carly Prescott had the benefit of starting university with a friend – her sister Jasmine, who chose to transfer from another university to be a part of ACU’s newest course. The inaugural recipient of the Dean’s Scholarship, Carly shares her experience of Law Induction Week


9am: After almost three months of holidays, my 6am wake-up call reminds me that summer break is officially over! Jasmine and I arrive at Parliament Station, and though tired, we make our way to the Brazill Lecture Theatre fuelled by our own excitement and anticipation. Surrounded by 130 of our fellow students, we are welcomed by the Executive Dean, Professor Brian Fitzgerald, whose dedication and passion for the new law course is indisputable.

10.30am: The welcomes continue, we are provided with a delicious morning tea and slowly begin to mingle with those around us. At 11am we are asked to break into our allocated groups and having no idea how to get to room 7.02 I am beginning to get a little nervous. My apprehension is quickly crushed, when a friendly face greets me, “Hi, I’m Hannah! Are you in group A?” Together, we travel to level 7 for our first lecture completely unaware that we would become inseparable for the remainder of the week.

1.30pm: The lectures continue and it becomes instantly clear that if we haven’t completed out pre-reading we will be quickly found out. A group of us head to the rooftop garden for lunch. The sun is beaming down, we have incredible views of the city and begin to make new friends – if this is uni life, I could get used to it!

3.30pm: The day concludes with a combined lecture on How to Moot run by Michael Crennan. Here we realise that with just four day’s experience in legal education we will be required to perform a moot (or a mock court) in front of a judge – an incredibly daunting, yet exciting prospect.


9am: Today we arrive without any sense of uneasiness having already settled in during an enjoyable and exciting first day. I meet Hannah in the foyer and we join our other new friends for the beginning of a lecture-filled second day.

5pm: After an interesting and informative combined lecture from Professor Frank Brennan discussing Mabo and Land Rights, I join the staff and my fellow students on the roof-top garden for a night of wine and cheese. Though exhausted after just two days, I can’t help but love uni life so far! I continue to mingle and eat before finally heading home, crashing into bed by 9pm – the earliest night I’ve had in a long time!


9am: This morning begins with a session run by Dr Peter Reddy, joined by special guests from The Cancer Council and Legal Aid, who discuss the importance of our upcoming pro bono program. The guests are both intriguing and inspiring and as one of the factors that originally lured me to ACU, I thoroughly enjoyed hearing about the opportunities our pro bono program can offer.

2pm: Following lunch today, we are given a couple of hours to begin preparation for our moots, which are now just 48 hours away! My moot partner Zac and I are given the role of defendants and begin searching through all we have already learnt to try and find possible arguments we could make. While he is openly confident in an easy win, I’m not so sure!


9:00am: We can sense the end of the week is near, so we’re chirpy and excited yet again! Professor Phillip Clarke runs our final lecture on the Development of the Common Law and now we are equipped with all the knowledge we need to form our arguments for the moot tomorrow.

11am: Our group catches the train to meet Brianna for our visit to the Federal Court. We are taken into a courtroom and greeted by Justice Susan Kenny, who discusses the role and jurisdiction of the court. We’re given the opportunity to trial both the judge’s chair and barristers’ seats.

3pm: We are given the remainder of the afternoon to work on our moots. Zac and I finalise our arguments with a little help from Professor Fitzgerald and Dr Heather Forrest and I’m now feeling slightly more confident! I head home and add the finishing touches to our judge’s submission.


9am: It’s Friday and despite the nerves, everyone is buzzing. As enjoyable and exciting as the week has been, I think we are all looking forward to the weekend and a nice sleep in! The morning begins with a Diagnostic Learning Exercise, which I only now discover is a code word for a test. I’m a little shocked – we’ve been here for four days and already have to sit a test! We get a couple hours break to add any last minute alterations to our moots. Hannah and I go to the student centre and get our photos taken for our student cards – now we feel like we are officially attending ACU!

1pm: Finally, the time has come for the moot hearings to begin. I speak to a couple groups before going into my own hearing. They warn me that I won’t even get to say what I have planned and the judge will just ask me a series of questions! Panic begins to set in! What if I don’t know the answers? Thankfully our judge is friendly and calms our nerves. He lets us speak, doesn’t interrupt us to ask any questions and then gives positive and constructive feedback. There was nothing to worry about. We had survived our first (of many) moots!

3pm: With the moots complete, we all move to the roof-top garden one last time to celebrate what has been an extremely challenging yet rewarding introduction to our course and the legal profession. Professor Fitzgerald gives a quick debrief of the week and of our performance in the moots. I spend the remainder of the afternoon socialising with my new friends, who I look forward to spending much of the next five years with.


Watch student accounts of studying law at ACU


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