Late last year, we were all saddened to hear the news that former Dean and Professor of the Law School, Sir Zelman Cowen, had passed away. His impact on the Law School, as well as the broader Australian society, was immeasurable and you will find inside a reflection on his legacy. I know that Sir Zelman retained a great affection for the Law School at which he both studied and taught, and I have heard from many of his students about the impact that he made on their lives.
Over the years, Melbourne Law School has benefitted from alumni who have assisted the next generation of law students. Professional mentors, alumni speakers, donors: the generosity of those who have gone before is greatly appreciated by our students. Now we are adding a further dimension to this exchange between the profession and students with the introduction of Melbourne Law School's Judge in Residence.
This initiative will see some of Australia's most distinguished and influential judicial figures going back to law school. During their residency, current and retired judges will contribute great expertise to our task of educating the lawyers of the future. They will engage with students through a series of workshops, classes and guest lectures, and exchange ideas with academics about the workings of Australian courts. The Law School is honoured that the Hon. Michael Black AC QC has joined us as the first Judge in Residence. I can think of no better person to launch the initiative. Throughout his career – including 19 years as Chief Justice of the Federal Court – he has maintained a passion for education about social justice and the role of the courts. He has been generous in sharing with us his insights from a distinguished life at the Bar and on the Bench.
In another exciting development, over the last month our first-year students have been visiting the court district where they have sat in on cases and had the opportunity to meet judges and barristers and to hear about the reality of civil litigation. The students, who are studying Dispute Resolution, have really enjoyed the chance to see the courts in action and have expressed their gratitude to the judges and barristers who have made this possible.
Our annual awards ceremony has grown so much over the years that this year we moved it to the larger venue of Wilson Hall. The awards night in May is one of the highlights of the academic year, when we have the opportunity to applaud and honour our most talented students before family, friends and award sponsors.
We are very proud of them. Yet they are just part of a remarkable community of students, who continually impress me with their enthusiasm and intellectual maturity. It is exciting to be a part of their educational journey.
To all our alumni, particularly those receiving the News for the first time, please stay in touch and check out our range of winter events. We always love to see our graduates back at the Law School.
Dean, Melbourne Law School
Harrison Moore Professor of Law
Image: Carolyn Evan, Dean, Melbourne Law School Harrison Moore Professor of Law