Global Lawyer 2015: A Journey
You are approaching that semester period every law student knows well: the end of exams. You are faced with the classic paradox of, on the one hand, having spent so long studying that you need a break from any space that looks remotely like a library. However, on the other hand, the number of hours you've put into exam preparation are a clear sign that you are dedicated to giving this degree all you've got. So you are looking for a way to recharge that does not involve case summaries, but does add to your degree.
Enter 'Global Lawyer': the way to enhance your law studies as no traditional, classroom-based subject can.
Global Lawyer involved two weeks of approximately 50 high-level seminars in Washington DC and New York City, culminating in a 6,000-word thesis. The seminars were led by international legal experts from public and private organisations, who focused on exploring the opportunities and obligations of lawyers in a globalised world, including:
- Partners at pre-eminent US law firms offering frank advice on cross-border transactions
- Legal officers at the Pentagon (almost) sharing all details on their military capabilities
- Animated Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) panels involving a pro-ISDS arbitrator, an ISDS academic and an anti-ISDS advocate
- A pharmaceutical company counsel candidly discussing professional well-being and
- Australian expats sharing professional paths as diverse as: Melbourne Law School–law firm–United Nations, or Irish Literature PhD–National Native Title Tribunal–World Bank.
The Global Lawyer cohort's eyes, ears and aspirations were thrown open, to approach the phrase 'anything is possible' in an entirely new way.
It will not be easy. You will get tired at networking events, and you will get hot from the all-day business attire. You will not want to get up for 6am bootcamp, and you will find it daunting to ask that expert your question, or introduce that partner to the group.
But go for it. Put up your hand; put on your suit. Go to that function; set the 5.45am alarm. Because the weeks will fly, and with them the opportunity to experience the law in this unique space, surrounded by people at the peak of their field.
And when you come back to Melbourne, you will have other feelings when those exams arrive again: hope, in the myriad of career paths this degree opens to you. Drive, in having experienced how far law can take you. And solidarity, with these students that may become some of your closest friends. They did for me. Thank you Global Lawyer cohort for having made the journey invaluable. Thank you Oz, Tania and Andrew for having made the journey possible.
By Anna Francesca Belgiorno-Nettis, Melbourne JD student