Six Top Tips for Getting the Tutorial of Your Dreams!

By Lauren Skinner

Law school is never quite as vicious as in those first few moments tutorial sign-ups open. Within mere milliseconds, all the good tutes are taken, and you are left feeling hollow, defeated and hungover as all hell as you drag yourself to your Friday 9am tutorial. Even worse is missing tutorial sign-ups. I once missed tutorial sign-ups. I almost dropped out of law school then and there; it didn’t feel worth going on. But alas I did, reluctantly turning up to the law school at 7pm every Thursday evening to sit in silence as our poor tutor attempted to spike our interest in the intricacies of Australian Public Law. Many students came straight from happy hour at the bar (anybody here still remember the glory days of $13 jugs at ANU Bar, may it rest in peace?). It was dismal. If you too are feeling victimised by the brutality of tute sign-ups, follow these handy hints and the perfect tute time will be yours in no time.

1. Get (over)committed

If there’s one thing law students like more than snails in a bottle, it’s overcommitment. Once you are working in a law firm, maintaining your Executive position on three on-campus societies, completing an internship, taking seven courses, volunteering in the community, playing a sport and maintaining your hospo job on the weekend, your convener will have no choice not to accommodate you: ‘But sir, I absolutely cannot make any time other than 11pm on a Tuesday evening.’

2. Begin finger exercises and invest in several alarm clocks

It’s the first click that counts. Get the alarm clocks (yes, plural) ready and get those fingers warm. I recommend a training schedule commencing approximately six weeks prior to the commencement of each semester. Start working those fingers so you can grab that tutorial spot before anyone else has even scrolled down the page. Remember that you’re aiming for speed and dexterity, so your routine must include an even balance of cardio and strengthening, with stretching exercises every night before bed.

3. Acquire an IT degree and join Wattle support

Once in this position of power, you can artfully orchestrate a Wattle ‘crash’, the moment tutorial sign-ups open. It happens so often that no one will question it (RIP my Comm Con tute). Manage to ‘fix’ this absurd glitch in the system a couple of hours later, at a random time when every other student has given up. Take your desired tutorial and then post on Facebook to alert other students. Then sit back, relax, and revel in watching the others fight it out.

4. Spread rumours

Nothing gets students out of tutorials faster than rumours. Try: ‘I heard X tutor selects students from the roll and asks them to recite case facts from supplementary readings.’ Alternatively, ‘I’ve heard X has never given anything higher than a pass.’ Another option is the vague but effective, ‘oh you’re not going in their tute are you?’ Works a treat.

Destroying puffer jackets may prove the perfect diversion. 

5. Create a diversion 

Rumours aren’t working? A diversion might. Daley Road is a great place to start, and a fire alarm will often do the trick. If you can’t corral enough friends into hitting all the colleges at once, just go for Burgmann and assume most of the people in your law class are there. They will be sufficiently distracted by the blaring alarm and saving their favourite puffer vest from the impending blaze, leaving the most desirable tutorials open for you.

6. Drop law

Honestly, even the class sign-up is difficult, let alone the exams. Why are you here? Do you even want to be a lawyer? You really just came here because you got a 95 ATAR and didn’t know what else to do. So just give up now. Go to Europe. Get cultured. Sail Croatia. Screw tutorials.

So there it is folks. You can get your dream tutorial through deceit, lies and possible crimes. Or just drop law now. Let’s face it, none of us are getting jobs anyway.

Winter course no-brainers that you actually have to think about

By Soph Xian

Whether it be because an elective is only offered in the break, because you’ve been peer pressured by your friends, or simply because it’s been five interminable years and you need to graduate, winter courses may be an absolute necessity for you. However, having just done a winter course, I’ve experienced all the inconveniences that can accompany a winter learning adventure. So, before you start planning that summer Euro trip, here is a list of no-brainers that you should actually think about.

 

1. You are going to lose a fair chunk of your holiday

Enjoy the time off that you do have and get any of the tasks you were going to ‘leave ‘till after exams’ out of the way. Once the course starts, you’ll no longer be able to post ‘sorry not sorry for the spam’ pictures on Instagram, and you may not have the time or energy to do all those tasks you procrastinated had planned to do before.

2. It’s intense (hence, ‘winter intensive’)

Tbt to high school when you had homework every night and during the weekends. Having 12 weeks of content mushed together in ten to 12 days means you’ve probably got lectures, workshops, tutorials, readings and prep every day.

Winner Tip: Get enough rest

The best tip I received before doing my winter course was to get enough rest and look after my health. It turns out the critical test of my self-discipline was not waking up at 9 am for my morning seminar (which, to be fair, I chose for myself), it was having the discipline to put away my laptop and go to sleep before midnight every night. Getting enough sleep is crucial to absorbing and engaging with all the new content that is dumped onto you each day.

Don’t fall into the ‘I’ll catch up on everything on the weekend’ trap

If your course has a weekend rest period, you’ll likely think that the weekend is a convenient time to catch up on the material you put off doing. Though this may be true, it’s best to use some of that limited break time to rest and recuperate for the coming week of content dump again – so don’t leave everything for the weekend.

3. The final assessment

It’s likely that there’ll be an exam at the end of the course. Unlike a 12-week semester where you can focus on understanding course material without having to constantly keep in mind the final exam, winter courses give you only two to three weeks before the final assessments. Therefore, it’s vital to keep the structure and style of your final exam in mind and steer your daily study towards that. A good thing to also keep in mind is that there’ll likely be an assessment that runs into the actual semester.

4. You will see the same people every day

Part of having the same class every day means that you’ll be seeing the same people every day for an extended period of time. It’s a nice throwback to high school and it means you’re going to form some tight bonds throughout the course. After all, those who struggle and complain about law together, stay together.

5. Your lecturer knows the limits of an intensive course and wants to help you

Your lecturer is aware that it’s an intense course with lots of material to cover in a short period of time. They’re not going to expect the same depth as a normal course, and they’ll try their best to take it at an appropriate pace, so there’s no need to fear. That being said, if you do have concerns about the pace, don’t hesitate to voice them to the lecturer or LSS Education Vice-President at lsseducation@anu.edu.au.

 

Intense as it is, it is absolutely do-able, 100 percent worthwhile and a great way to tackle your degree. The fact that you get to sit and learn about a fascinating area of law of your own choosing is in itself rewarding and an interesting respite from compulsory content. Not to mention you get a whole entire course done and out of the way in as little as two weeks!

So, to all those souls staying in (or thinking of staying in) Canberra over the holidays and yearning for a rewarding way to spend your time, I highly recommend taking a law intensive. Happy studying!

Four things I wish I had known as a ‘Dear Applicant’

By Naveena Movva

Gather round my young ones and listen to a tale as old as time (or at least as long as an LLB takes to complete – same difference). Many of you will soon begin the perilous journey of navigating the legal industry. As a crinkled and weather-beaten fourth year with some experience in this industry, I feel it is my duty to impart my wisdom on the youth of today so that you may go forth and be employed.

1. Brush up on your knowledge of the bovine industry

I remember a particular interview I attended where I had obtained knowledge that the partners I was interviewing with, were breeders of a particular type of cattle. I spent the entire evening before this interview reading everything I could about this until essential facts about this breed of cow were imprinted on my brain. I ultimately did not get the position, but I’m certain they were impressed not only with my knowledge of the breed, but also with what I’m sure was a flawless ability to work cow facts into every answer I gave. ANYWAY, what I’m trying to say is, do your research. You may be a perfect applicant on paper, but being able to relate to the people you will be working with is a powerful tool. But maybe be more subtle about it than I was.

Charles Fincher/Law Comix

2. Sharpen your weapons and prepare for battle

Despite the competitiveness of law student job-hunting being likened to the Hunger Games, this is anything but a game to many people. If you’ve previously duelled in the clerkship colosseum or thrown down the gauntlet for a grad position, then you know what I mean. Chances are, there is a bevy of bright law students such as yourself who are vying for the limited number of positions available; such is the life of a law student. It’s good to be aware of this fact, as it may encourage you to go that extra mile when putting in an application. Be a Katniss, not a Cato.

3. In the words of Robert Frost, ‘I took the road less travelled by – and that has made all the difference’

A semi-wise person once told me that the majority of jobs available aren’t even advertised. I imagine the look on your face right now is the same one I made when I heard this – but it’s true. For this reason, it may be worth exploring alternative methods of applying. Some examples include cold-calling firms or handing in a physical resumé, or even going through a secondment or contracting agency. Your attempts to weasel your way into the legal industry this way may not always be successful, but a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work in the legal industry. This method may be most effective with boutique (which sadly does not mean the firm also sells funky law-themed jewellery on Etsy) and mid-tier firms. Additionally, the road less travelled may also mean widening your job search to include more diverse areas of law or more locations. Even if you are dead-set on being a criminal lawyer, maybe give wills and estates a go? If you are staunchly opposed to public service, maybe still explore opportunities in the public service a little bit – you might find some opportunities that align with your interests and that will provide good legal experience. Widening your search range is likely to lead to more opportunities, even if you don’t land your dream job straight away.

4. You may fail to receive an offer – but you ARE NOT a failure

I loathe this kind of hallmark-style self-affirmation. However, I couldn’t tell you the number of times I had to repeat this adage to myself while hyperventilating into a paper bag and desperately trying to stave off a descent into a spiral of melancholy after receiving yet another rejection letter. Sometimes, it’s not about what you did or didn’t do – it’s just the whim of circumstance. As hard as it is (and I know it is hard) try not to let it discourage you. If a rejection gets you down, take the rest of the day to regroup, and refocus your efforts the next day. We all started somewhere. Getting your first foothold is the hardest step but you can only climb up from there.

And on that note, my bright-eyed and bushy-tailed youthful first-years, I will leave you to your journey of professional self-discovery. May it be filled with effective networking, countless interviews, and many new LinkedIn connections!

 

 

ALSA competitions review

By Victoria Hoon

While Council sessions were in full swing, the ALSA competitions were taking place and saw the finalists of the internal competitions run by the various university law societies compete against each other.  As our Competitions Vice-President for 2018, I was a student judge for the Championship Mooting competition.

Photo (from left to right):
Lorenzo McMiken, Christopher Allen and Adam Brett.

Mooting is a mock court case where the case goes to appeal. Teams are assigned to represent either the appellant or the respondent and must present their submissions to the court. This year’s question was quite challenging as it incorporated many different legal principles, such as directors’ fiduciary duties, the equitable laches doctrine and application of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth). Ultimately, competitors had to establish whether or not the appellant had standing under s1324 of the Corporations Act and whether or not they were entitled to damages. Despite the complexity of the question, all of the teams did really well in interpreting it and advocating for their client.

Judging at ALSA was an amazing experience: I have competed in mooting competitions myself, so it was really interesting being on the other side of the bench as I could analyse the effectiveness and persuasiveness of the teams’ arguments without bias, and be guided through submissions and innovative arguments. Of course, I also got to ask the questions that I, myself, dread to receive as counsel! As always, it was also extremely rewarding to be exposed to different competitors and their diverse mooting styles.

The cherry on top was that our Championship mooting team broke into the quarterfinals: Lorenzo McMiken, Adam Brett and Christopher Allen competed extremely well and we’re all extremely proud of them, and all of our other ANU representatives! Away from the moot court, the social events were a great way to socialise with all of the other competitors. As Vice-President (Competitions), I enjoyed talking to other universities’ competitors and competitions directors in order to learn more about their how they organise competitions, and to discuss ways to improve opportunities for students.

 

ALSA Council round-up

By Suchara Fernando and Lauren Skinner

The Australian Law Students’ Association (ALSA) is the peak representative body for law students and represents the interests of approximately 40,000 students nationwide. The annual ALSA Conference sees 400 of these students come together for competitions and council sessions, which are vital to ensuring a strong network of law students across the country.

Between 2 and 8 July, we (Suchara, President of the ANU LSS, and Lauren, Vice-President Education) attended Council meetings with other representatives from the various law schools around Australia, as well as representatives from the New Zealand Law Students’ Association. ALSA Council provides a unique opportunity to engage and share with other law schools about how we represent our students and the initiatives we run.

Back row: Danica Smith, Sarah Monkhouse, Lorenzo McMiken, Adam Brett, Lauren Skinner, Damon Taylor, Christoper Allen, Cameron Richards, Peter Christensen
Front row: Victoria Hoon, Suchara Fernando, Crystal Holt, Helen Rodriguez

During this year’s Council sessions, some issues of note discussed included unpaid internships, wellbeing initiatives, and effective advocacy of law students. It was also a time for sharing and learning from other law student societies and law student associations. The sessions allowed the ANU LSS to showcase our advocacy work on Indigenous cultural competency in legal sector, including among students.  This is a project that the ANU LSS has been working on for some time now, with the intention of providing and enhancing Indigenous content in the LLB and JD programs.

As they stand, our law degrees are framed by a western, Anglocentric system that has inadequately recognised Indigenous laws and customs, resulting in detrimental consequences for Indigenous Australians. In an attempt to work towards remedying this, we have been advocating for our law degrees to include compulsory Indigenous content and perspectives.

In preparation for ALSA, the ANU LSS set up a working group and drafted a letter advocating for compulsory Indigenous cultural competency units in Australian law degrees. We presented this letter at the ALSA Conference in order to obtain signatures from representatives of law student societies across Australia. This signed letter will be given to Professor Sally Wheeler, Dean of the ANU College of Law, to share at the Australian Law Dean’s Conference later this year, with the aim that other law schools will also institute Indigenous cultural competency teaching.

Council was an incredible opportunity to learn about what is going on in law schools across the country, and we can’t wait to implement some of the exciting initiatives we learnt about at the ANU this semester!

Check back tomorrow for Victoria Hoon’s (Vice-President, Competitions) report on her experiences as a judge for ALSA Championship Mooting.