Students practise their legal skills at holiday LSAP Workshop
Hosted by Victoria University, Melbourne campus, 51 students from 28 schools across Melbourne and regional Victoria enjoyed this LSAP workshop on 9 & 10 April, 2015.
Students were welcomed by The Honorable Nicola Roxon, Chair of the Sir Zelman Cowen Centre at Victoria University. Nicola Roxon was Minister for Health and Ageing from 2007-2011 and in 2011 became Australia’s first female Attorney-General. This was particularly inspiring for the 40 of 51 attendees who were female.
To begin the workshop students split into four groups, each assisted by a Law Mentor who was a current law student at Victoria University. Each group was given cards with different law-related professions and asked to explain their professions to the room. Students quickly proved their knowledge, impressing the workshop coordinators and Law Mentors.
Groups then had the chance to ‘Be the Judge’ and engage in a sentencing exercise in their groups before hearing from guest speaker Dr Robert Moles, a legal academic and author who runs a project called Networked Knowledge, which investigates alleged serious miscarriages of justice.
In the afternoon students participated in a mediation role-play, each adopting different roles in the mediation process. The impartial mediator guided parties through the process while they attempted to negotiate a settlement. Some parties chose to drive a hard bargain and refused to settle, opting to take the matter to court instead! Once students had a go at mediation, they then watched the budding actors of the group present a model mediation by the Victorian Law Foundation called ‘Dr Grant and his underpants’, based on the real case of Grant v Australian Knitting Mills Limited and Another.
Day 2 of the workshop was a guest speaker extravaganza, with students hearing from retired criminal barrister Graham Thomas QC, who has been involved in some of Australia’s most famous cases. Students had lots of questions, and wanted to know all about the criminal trial and what it was like defending alleged criminals.
After a short break for morning tea, Dr Rebecca Kogios, Scientific Advisor for Victoria Police presented an overview of forensic evidence and ‘CSI: Fact vs Fiction’.
Students learned about DNA, ballistics, serology and bloodstain pattern interpretation and how these are used to both eliminated suspects and to catch the bad guys.
Following lunch Mr Murray Thompson MLA, State Member for Sandringham ran the politics part of the workshop. Students learned about life as a politician and considered current political issues.
Students then worked in their groups for a 'Legal or Illegal?' quiz to test their knowledge of the law. They then discussed university and law with their Law Mentors and had the opportunity to ask questions of workshop presenters.
As always it was fantastic to see the commitment of these students and their desire and commitment to finding out the information they needed to make the best possible decisions for themselves in the future.
Attending students made the following comments about what they learned from the event:
"I learned about the many different opportunities that come with a law degree"
"I learned about so many different things and I enjoyed everything we did. It was so inspiring to listen to all the speeches"
"I found the forensics speaker fascinating. I hadn't looked into that career path"
LEAP into… Law activities aim to encourage students to consider a career in the legal profession. View all Law Activities available to your school.