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Law school: not just about studying

"It can also be fun. Law school offers so many opportunities."

There is a popular myth that law students spend so much of their time frantically studying that, come graduation, none of their friends or family recognise them because it’s been so long since they last saw them.

Well, fear not!

‘Law school is not just about studying,’ advises Deakin Law School lecturer Dr Benjamin Hayward, who is extensively involved in the extra-curricular programs available to the university’s law students.

‘It can also be fun. Law school offers so many opportunities.’

Here are five of them.

Get involved!

It’s no secret that extra-curricular activities are a great addition to a resume, but they can also be a sanity-saving endeavour amid the stress of studying.

Many law students compete in ‘skills’ competitions, which present students with scenarios they’ll come across as lawyers, including examining a witness, interviewing a client, or presenting an argument in front of a court.

Competitions also give students an opportunity to make new friends, as most competitions are run in a paired or team format.

Discover a new hobby

Whether you’re a mad-keen on crochet, love scuba diving or live for fire twirling, make sure you have some ‘me’ time away from the books.

University societies on-campus are a fantastic way to discover new interests while making friends.

And just think how your CV will stand out from the crowd if you can include ‘sky-diving’, ‘camel racing’ or ‘bagpiping’ as a hobby!

Gain experience

Any sort of work experience looks great on a graduate’s resume, and a law degree at Deakin includes a 30-day practical work placement.

Students can work at one or a variety of places across these 30 days, including legal aid, the courts, or a law firm.

‘It provides great insight into a variety of different type of legal work, exposure to a variety of professional environments and forges great connections,’ Hayward explains.

Go on exchange

If you’ve ever looked at your towering pile of uni text books and thought, ‘these would be a lot more fun to read sitting at a café in Paris’, you’re not alone!

Deakin’s exchange program allows its students to swap places with a student studying a similar degree at a university overseas, including in Europe, Asia, the Americas, the Middle East and Africa.

‘The experience allows you to learn in a completely different way from within a different culture and education system,’ Hayward says.

Keep your options open

No matter what you study, it’s always best to keep an open mind as to what the future may bring. And a law degree is a pathway to many different possibilities.

‘The obvious career pathway is to become a lawyer, but there’s a broad scope within that, too, including big firms, small firms, sole practitioners, corporate and government in-house roles, as well as going on to become a barrister or judge,’ Hayward says.

Other career paths for law graduates include politics, academia, journalism, and finance.

‘The opportunities are much broader than students often initially expect.’

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