Racing towards a legal career

Third year Melbourne JD student Matt Caldow was born into a family business in harness racing. After years of experience helping out around the track, Matt is now on track to follow his own dream of working in corporate law.

“Despite my love for the farm and the big thrill I get from racing our 25-odd horses, it wasn’t the career I wanted for myself,” Matt says.

“But it was definitely the influence of the family business that informed my desire to pursue commercial law.”

Matt’s dedication to visiting the family farm in Melton and helping out with caring for the horses most weekends is indicative of his attitude towards maintaining a balanced study life. For him, law school is not just about the study, but much more.

A very involved student in the law school community, Matt has spent two years as a representative on the Law Students Society, first in the capacity of a First Year Representative, and then, after having a great experience where he made lots of friends, he was elected as Communications Director.

“What I loved about volunteering for the LSS is that through making so many friends you really come to feel connected with the community. This was so important to me and helped me feel surrounded by support,” Matt says.

Because of his involvement in the LSS Matt was open to getting involved in some competitions, participating both in mooting and negotiations.

“One of my proudest memories during the JD was winning the Negotiations competition. It really took putting myself out there - and it really paid off!”

Matt says the best things about the university competitions is the skill development opportunity, “it brings to life what you’re studying in the class room. I came to love the practical element of these competitions, you can really see the content you learn in class come to life.”

Matt believes these positive experiences helped him step towards his commercial law dream by securing two clerkships. He also says his success was in large thanks to the law school careers services.

“The career services team really supported me to get what I wanted, I felt very well prepared thanks to their resources.”

Coming towards the end of his studies Matt reflects on the advice he’d give to his first year self, “Everyone falls behinds on readings. I used to panic and place pressure on myself to read every single thing for every subject. You have to draw a line and accept that you will be able to pick some things up at a later date. The most important thing is to know the key points, you don’t have to know every case inside out.”

In between creating case summaries, Matt still makes sure he has the time to get down to the farm so he can to help feed the horses and watch races on weekends.

If you are thinking of applying for 2018, the September LSAT closing date is August 2 2017.

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