The future of Australia’s legal profession is bright, based on the sharp young minds honoured for academic achievements and contributions to Australia’s legal services industry at the University of Queensland last night.
Head of School and Academic Dean Sarah Derrington said UQ’s TC Beirne School of Law ranked in the top 50 in the world.
“Our annual awards ceremony recognises students for achieving the highest marks in some of the most challenging subjects, achieving the highest marks across the entire school and making positive and meaningful contributions through pro bono legal work,” Professor Derrington said.
“Our world-renowned lecturers were also acknowledged for excellence in their profession and for inspiring students to learn.”
University of Queensland Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj said the students and teachers presented with awards were the cream of the legal crop.
“To be singled out for an award tonight from such a select intake of students is an impressive achievement and one that augurs well for their future and the future of the profession,” he said.
“It’s not easy to get into most law schools, let alone UQ’s TC Beirne School of Law which ranks in the top 50 in the world.
“Since the start of 2015 we have been reducing our first-year intake to 250 of the best and brightest OP1 students.”
Guest speaker Chief Justice Catherine Holmes of the Supreme Court of Queensland acknowledged the excellent teaching at the School of Law and praised students’ accomplishments of academic excellence and their contributions to the community through pro bono legal work.
Award-winner and recent graduate Georgia Williams was recognised for achieving the highest grade point average of the women in her graduating class and the highest overall marks in law courses and the Bachelor of Laws program.
“Throughout my time at the TC Beirne School of Law I have had the great privilege of learning from outstanding lecturers, benefitting from the school’s mooting program and sharing the experience with many people who I hope will remain my friends and mentors in the future,” she said.
Fifth-year Law/Commerce student Jordan English, who won awards for academic achievements and contributions to pro bono legal work, said the awards were welcome recognition for hard work.
“A lot of the work you do as a law student isn’t seen,” he said.
“It’s usually just us studying through the night, so these awards are a good way of recognising our hard work in a public way.
“The awards will also undoubtedly help with prospective employment and I suspect they will be a good asset for any future applications for postgraduate study,” he said.
Professor Derrington said the annual awards were an important tradition.
“These awards acknowledge excellence – the excellence of our students, the excellence of our teaching staff, and the excellence of the contributions made by our students and staff to community service and Pro Bono activities,” she said.
She said the event was also an opportunity to thank the alumni and friends whose generous donations made scholarships and awards possible.
UQ’s Forgan Smith building, which houses the School of Law, is undergoing a dramatic $33 million refurbishment, and from 2017 will feature more connected and interactive spaces to encourage a collaborative style of work and ensure students are able to use the latest in mobile technology.
A full list of award-winners can be seen here.
Pictured above: Pro bono students.
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