Message from the Dean

By Carolyn Evans
Dean, Melbourne Law School
Harrison Moore Professor of Law

As we come to the end of 2013, I have been reflecting on how much I have enjoyed meeting up with alumni this year in our many events in Melbourne, and also in Sydney, Perth, London, Geneva, Paris, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Singapore, Hong Kong and New York. Every time I meet with a new group of alumni, I am impressed by how much they have achieved across a diverse range of careers both inside and outside the law. In this issue, I hope that you enjoy reading about the career path of Elizabeth Proust, who is an outstanding example of someone who has been very successful outside the legal profession, but who continues to use many of the skills that she learnt at law school.  

I am conscious of the importance of helping this generation of students to be equally successful despite the difficult employment environment. We have been working with the profession and other employers to provide the education and skills development that students need for the future. I hope that you can assist us in this venture as we support our students to find their first role after law school. Internships, part-time roles during study, graduate positions and placement opportunities during practical legal training provide important first steps into a legal career. 

The cover of this issue features three of our JD students at the Melbourne Magistrates' Court where they have been participating in a new clinical legal education program. Our Public Interest Law Initiative is giving students the opportunity to extend their learning beyond the classroom, while at the same time providing a service to the community. Other law students have taken their legal knowledge into secondary schools as part of the award winning Street Law Program, while nearly 100 students have broadened their practical legal skills in a variety of internships. Exceptional feedback from students is proving that clinical law experiences bring unmatched learning opportunities. At the same time, I am proud that our students can provide such practical and valuable support to organisations in the legal assistance sector.

Thanks to an exceptional gift, Melbourne Law School's first endowed chair in human rights law was established this year. Professor Dianne Otto is the inaugural Francine V McNiff Chair in Human Rights Law. The new Chair represents a major step for the Law School as it helps us to build on our strong program in this area and to play a leading role in the teaching of human rights law and research, both within Australia and the Asia Pacific region.

Another wonderful academic year has now come to a close for the Law School. I would like to thank all our alumni, staff and friends who have contributed in a myriad of ways over the past year. And finally, I extend my warm congratulations to the class of 2013 as they graduate this month and join our global alumni community.

This article originally appeared in MLS News, Issue 10, December 2013.