When Mr Jack T. Rush RFD QC, Victorian Bar, visited Melbourne Law School last month, he found an audience eager to hear about his experiences as counsel assisting the inquiry into Australia's worst bushfire disaster.
"It was fantastic engaging with law students. The enthusiasm and interest of the students – an inspiration."
Mr Rush was a presenter in the Law School's Guest Lecture Series and spoke to students about 'Leadership – Bushfires Legalities.'
"It is important that experienced practitioners are able to engage with students and provide a dimension to the overall legal education that comes from outside the Law School," Mr Rush said.
"In my experience it is a two-way street. I gained a lot from the interaction.
Those speaking in the Guest Lecture Series ask students to think about current and challenging legal issues. The program complements the academic studies of Melbourne Juris Doctor students, and gives them the opportunity to meet members of the judiciary, politicians, legal practitioners and legal graduates working beyond the profession. Selected students help to facilitate the event by introducing the speaker and joining their guest for lunch with the Associate Dean JD prior to the lecture.
This year students heard from a remarkable range of professionals and legal practitioners. Guest speakers covered topics ranging from the latest issues in employment law, media and communications and sports law, to emerging areas of interest such as animal law.
Students had the rare opportunity to learn about the inner workings of the High Court when addressed by the High Court Justice Kenneth Hayne AC, who spoke frankly about the responsibilities High Court judges shoulder when developing the nation's law.
International visitors also shared insights into contemporary legal issues from around the world. UN Special Rapporteur, Professor Martin Scheinin, who visited from the European University Institute in Florence, Italy, spoke about a World Court of Human Rights.
Topics addressed not only professional issues, but also touched on the personal challenges for lawyers, such as mental illness and depression in the legal fraternity. Mr Robert Richter QC, Victorian Bar, talked to students about developing skills to deal with the challenges of high work loads, a competitive work environment and the inevitability of losing cases.
Images: Mr Jack T. Rush RFD QC, Victorian Bar, speaking at the Law School's Guest Lecture Series October 2010.