Purely Dicta Issue 1, 2012
E D I TO R S
Felicity Baldwin Gabriela Aloisio C R E AT I V E D I R E C TO R A N D P H OTO G R A P H Y
Andy Chislett D E S I G N A N D L AYO U T
Matthew Jaensch CO V E R D E S I G N
Charles Hopkins S P E C I A L T H A N K S G O TO T H E F O L LO W I N G CO N T R I B U TO R S
The Honourable Michael Kirby AC CMG, Julian Burnside AO QC, Wendy Larcombe, Katy Barnett, Ian Malkin, Jason Bosland, Kerewin Huck, Patrick Smith, Bryce Paterson, Ben Murphy, Andy Chislett, Amy Nhan, John Azzopardi, Liz Margaronis, Mika Tsoi, Alister Lloyd, Jason Perri, Charles Hopkins, Chelsea Driessen, Nicholas James Baum, Matthew Jaensch, Antony Freeman, Tessa Sidnam and Matt Curnow, and the Law School Meme Facebook: https://www. facebook.com/LawSchoolMemes
Gabriela Aloisio and Felicity Baldwin
Latin, deconstructed, in case of need
30 31 32 34
Live Review: Chet Faker Liz Margaronis
THEN & NOW
Then & Now
Julian Burnside AO QC
It’s OK, they fell asleep in lectures too! Paula O’Brien and Matthew Harding Interview
The Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG A word from your favourite HCA Justice
I Miss You Gough Patrick Smith
06 08 12 14
Football & Law Nicholas James Baum
We Need to Talk About Kevin Mika Tsoi
THE STORY CORNER
A Day in the Life
Lord-Judge St John Merridew
In Another Life Charles Hopkins
A Letter to the Attorney-General The FEE-HELP gap issue
Environmental Law Bryce Paterson
Jessup Moot Team 2012 Ben Murphy
Human Rights Arts & Film Festival Arts and Film
A Dickhead’s Guide to Clerkships Antony Freeman
Back Away From the Highlighter Matt Curnow
16 18 20 22 23 24
What Am I Doing Here? Andy Chislett
A Method to End the Madness Tessa Sidnam
35 36 39 40
Lost in Love
Who is looking for love?
Gabi and Flick’s Bad Advice Quiz – Are you a Law Student? Chelsea Driessen
41 42 43
Editors’ Welcome Welcome to Issue 1 of Purely Dicta 2012. In case you have been living under a rock, or on level 3 and don’t know what Purely Dicta is, we are Melbourne Law School’s student magazine, written for students by students (and friends of the University). This issue is themed ‘Then and now’ and we were lucky enough to have the Honourable Michael Kirby AC CMG speak about the importance of being a joiner from the very beginning of his career. We were also honoured to have Julian Burnside AO QC reflect on the study and practice of law. We show you your lecturers as you’ve never seen them before – in their days as a student; hear from law school buddies turned teaching colleagues Paula O’Brien and Matthew Harding; get an insight on a mature aged student’s experiences ‘then and now’ at university; delve into the FEE-HELP issue (again); deliver a crash course in coffee for those who don’t know more than black or white, and much more. We hope you enjoy reading and encourage you to write in if there is anything in this edition that interests or offends you, or if you just want to tell us what a great job we did (we only accept positive feedback). Cheers, Flick and Gabi
Obiter Dictum Latin, deconstructed, in case of need
For the sake of argument. Please do not use this with 5 minutes till the end of a class (unless you want no friends).
blande mendacia linguae
The lies of the flattering tongue: a warning against silver-tongued advocacy.
An innocuous thunderbolt, used by (the Roman natural philosopher) Pliny the Elder in the sense of an empty threat.
The question falls. The argument has reached a point where there is nothing more to be said. The question is answered.
Of sound mind. (As opposed to compost mentis and most of the JD cohort)
Caught red-handed/caught in the act. Try to avoid this if you are planning on committing a crime. Used in a sentence: to all future criminal lawyers, we hope your clients do not get caught flagrante delicto.
For the public good. A phrase unlikely to ever be heard by those of you with future corporate, high flying careers in fields like insolvency and mergers and acquisitions. See: coin; kaching.
THEN & NOW
It is a disconcerting thing to be invited to write something comparing the study and practice of law when I began, in order to compare it with the present. It is a bleak reminder that the days which, in memory, seem near enough are quite remote. It is only by trying to remember them that it starts to look like a long time. My first year of law at Monash University was 1967. I remember 1967 quite well: the Vietnam War was at its height; Ronald Ryan was executed at Pentridge gaol: the last prisoner to be executed in Australia. But then I notice that it is entirely possible that your parents were probably young children in 1967. That does focus the mind. So step back into the dark ages with me. I enrolled in law at Monash by accident. I had been accepted into various faculties at Monash and Melbourne, but chose Law at Monash because a friend of mine had started there a couple of years before. I thought it would be good to know someone on campus. University life was different back then. For a start, there was such a thing as ‘university life’. It revolved around the Union building and the pub. Most students were full time: they came to the campus each day, and stayed all day. There were many opportunities for mischief and diversions. It was a rare thing to see students who had day jobs and who came onto campus only for lectures and tutorials. Back then, most people did not have to pay fees, and we did not go into the world saddled with a HECS debt. Indulgent? Maybe, but it also meant that you could explore areas of thought simply because they were interesting, not because they might win you a job. The relative narrowness of tertiary education today is a serious deficiency. Some of the greatest advances in human history have been the product of well-stocked minds piecing together bits of information from diverse fields. Learning which is confined to functional categories may earn you a meal-ticket, but it should not be confused with an education. The point was well made by George
Bernard Shaw, who said that his education was interrupted only by his schooling. Tutorials back then were compulsory, but they were so engaging that compulsion was not needed. The best teacher I ever had was Louis Waller. His lectures and tutorials were founded on the unstated premise that Law and Society were inseparably intertwined. Discussing a case that had been decided in 1871, he asked us what significant event had happened that year. No-one knew. It was the publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species. We spent much of the tutorial learning about the social significance of Darwin’s theory of evolution. Without referring to it, he induced the idea put into words by Clarence Darrow “Laws should be like clothes. They should be made to fit the people they serve”. Back then, as I recall, mooting was optional. It was the sport of nerds, and I gravitated to it. In my final moot, Sir Alistair Adam presided, with Mr Justice Stephen (then of the Supreme Court of Victoria) and the moot master, Mr Bill Charles. Justice Stephen was leaning back with a characteristically contemplative look on his face, and was rolling his chair back and forth on its easy castors. Suddenly he disappeared, only to reappear a moment later at the bottom of the steps which gave access from the bench to the well of the court. To say that this was disconcerting for a budding advocate does not fully capture the moment. Once he had regained his proper position and his composure, I made a notably undergraduate observation about what had fallen from the Bench, and resumed my argument. I was heartened by the incident, because it showed something of the human fallibility of judges. Later I had some luck in intervarsity mooting in New Zealand. The Chief Justice of New Zealand presided over the final moot. Speaking with me at the prize-giving, he asked what I planned to do. I said I thought I was going to be a management consultant. He said I should go to the Bar. He was the most important person I had ever met,
so I agreed. Nowadays, most people spend more than 10 seconds in planning their career. New Zealand was important to me much later. When I started at the Bar (1976), Australian decisions could be appealed to the Privy Council. That ended in 1986 by virtue of section 11 of the Australia Act, but in 2003 I was briefed by a New Zealand firm to go to the Privy Council. It was very interesting. The members of the Privy Council sit around a horse-shoe shaped table, at the same level as counsel. The interplay between bench and Bar is vigorous and exhilarating: it is like a 5-member Federal Court bench on a good day. Sadly, New Zealand litigants can no longer appeal to the Privy Council. At the end of my successful foray into New Zealand mooting, I was given a biography of the great American trial lawyer, Clarence Darrow. He seemed like a fine role model. Darrow believed passionately in his client’s cause and - win, lose or draw - his clients always knew Darrow had done his best. Not that this was wholly altruistic. A grateful client once gushed: “Mr Darrow, how can I ever thank you?” His reply was immediate: “Madam, since the Phoenicians invented money, there has been only one answer to that question.” The cost of litigation is a great problem these days. It has always been expensive, but big trials now are bigger than ever they were before, and correspondingly more expensive. When I first went to the Bar, mobile phones did not exist, photocopiers were simple, primitive devices and computers were nowhere in use in legal practice. Reproducing documents was time-consuming and expensive, so only important documents were copied for the brief and for use in court. High-speed photocopiers changed that. By the mid-1980s big commercial cases were characterised by vastly greater numbers of documents than would have been seen in equivalent litigation a decade earlier, because copying documents was so much easier. The increasing use of computers has provoked a corresponding increase in the number of documents which find their way into the brief and into the Court Book. This has greatly increased the cost of litigation, but has not produced a corresponding increase in the quality of the advocacy or outcomes. The use of computers is probably the largest single change since I began in practice: at least, it is a change I have watched with great interest. My early years at the Bar were quiet and uneventful. I had no connections in the law. Appearances were infrequent and mostly unexciting. For the first few years, I imagined myself the victim of a defective phone, or perhaps of some dark conspiracy to keep briefs away from me. Most of my friends were doing better than I was. But spare time offers great opportunities. In the late 1970s I became interested in learning how computers work. Here’s some ancient history for you: the transistor was devised in 1947, the integrated circuit was developed in 1962, the microprocessor was developed in 1971, the first ‘microcomputer’ was available on the market by about 1975, the PC (personal computer) was launched by IBM in 1981. In 1982 IBM began selling PCs with a new operating system made by a Seattle company called Microsoft. It was MS-DOS, and rapidly became the standard operating
system for personal computers. In 1985 Microsoft introduced version 1.0 of its Windows operating system. By 1981, when the PC was introduced, I was on my third computer and was beginning to use computers for litigation support. That year the ALJ ran an article I had written in which I ventured some thoughts about the legal implications of computers. I suggested the need for the law to deal with the possibility that computers might be used for novel kinds of criminal activity, and might give rise to problems concerning intellectual property. In addition I suggested that computers might be useful tools in legal practice. This idea was politely dismissed by most as a harmless eccentricity. It turned out to be more accurate than I could have imagined. Not many legal practices operate without computers these days, and computers are ubiquitous in big litigation. Without any pretence at modesty, I am probably still ahead of the curve when it comes to techniques of using computers in litigation. Another significant change in the last 40 years is that the practice of law has lost many of the attributes of a profession and has come to look very much like modern business. This is a real pity. Fundamental to a profession is the idea that its practitioners have, as their first objective, helping their clients achieve a just outcome. Making a living is significant, but secondary. When a profession becomes a business, the focus shifts to making money. That shift began in the accounting profession and spread to medicine and then to the law. The Bar is less affected by it than the solicitors’ side of the profession. There are still many counsel who run their practices in a way that would not have looked out of place 50 years ago, but their numbers are thinning. While some aspects of practice now would have seemed incredible 40 years ago, some things do not change. The law is still about delivering justice. The practice of law has always been about pursuing justice. That is its purpose, and should be its central objective. Unhappily, parliaments sometimes pass laws which produce appalling injustice: mandatory detention and mandatory sentencing are two obvious examples. Both sides of the profession still perform a huge amount of pro bono work to combat injustices that would otherwise go unremedied. In recent years, a number of very significant pro bono cases have been run which have played a vital role in correcting institutional problems created by statute or by careless or vindictive bureaucrats. If Justice is the lawyer’s vocation, we should not ignore its call when Justice is most threatened. An injustice is all the worse when it is sanctioned by law. We can never forget that the worst excesses of the Nazi regime were carried out under colour of the Nuremberg laws. Those laws were administered by conscientious judges and practitioners, most of whom were doubtless attracted to study Law because they had an instinct for Justice. In their pursuit of law, they failed Justice terribly. If we, who understand the law, cannot recognise a bad law for what it is, then who can? If we do not take a stand against bad laws, who will? If these rhetorical questions are still relevant, then this most important aspect of legal practice is the same now as then, and always.
TEACHERS: THEN & NOW
It’sOK! They fell asleep in lectures too! BY KEREWIN HUCK
You may not know that starting in 1992, Matthew Harding and Paula O’Brien studied law together at Melbourne University, becoming friends in Maureen Teehan’s property class in their third year. In 2002 they both found themselves back at Melbourne University, as lecturers. Paula was teaching Torts, Matthew teaching Torts and Equity – and they wound up sharing an office which had only one desk and one chair, and since, as Paula reflected, they never quite got around to finding another chair – they frequently took turns working on the floor. Purely Dicta sat down to talk to them about what classes were like when they were at uni, what’s changed and what hasn’t, their feelings on laptops, extra curriculars and whether students really are just using their phones to check the Constitution app in class.
how tidy are your notes, how neat do they look, do they look aesthetically pleasing – and that’s important because ideas do have that aesthetic quality as well. There’s an elegance to good ideas and to a way of putting ideas together that a computer can’t fully grasp or help you with.
INTERVIEW WITH PAULA AND MATTHEW Their first collective memory is from Constitutional Law and then Admin – which they had at 8am Tuesdays and Thursdays. Three-hundred and fifty people squeezed into the architecture building on main campus. Paula trekked in from Cheltenham (journey time approx. 3 days) while Matthew took a more relaxed approach by promptly falling asleep 10 minutes into the lecture.
M: I think if I were in a position of a student now, because I feel that a computer gets in the way of a lot of what happens in the classroom, and I think it’s really important to learn the art of note-taking as well. And you’re not going to learn it, except in a classroom while you’re studying.
M: You would have Constitutional lectures from Cheryl Saunders and then Michael Crommelin would give the lectures on the judiciary – so that was very different because those were very formal old-school lectures, and then in the seminars which I had with Cheryl we were more engaged and the teaching was more like what we see here today. Similarly with criminal law, contracts and property we would have more formal lectures with larger groups and no smaller groups at all. Purely Dicta wonders about the changes since then… M: I often think that the way you approach the task of gathering and reproducing information is very different when you are using a computer. Your focus is on detail and getting down as much detail as you can – you’re faithfully recording as well as you can, and you need to be in a certain mindset to do that, which is not necessarily the mindset that is the most advantageous from a pedagogical point of view. You’re not thinking conceptually, you’re not thinking in a structural way about the information and I find that if you’re taking notes on a page, then you are inclined more to thinking about the larger picture. You’ve got no choice but to be selective about the information you record, and then it all becomes about things as banal as
P: I think that the laptop thing changes how much discussion is possible because I think there’s something very different about sitting with a computer in front of you, it kind of makes you ready to just hear stuff, type it down, like dicta-type it down into the notes, it’s very tempting to flick to email and other screens, but if you’re actually just sitting there without a laptop and you just have a pen and paper, I think it’s part of being more ready for a discussion.
P: I don’t find it distracting that students use their computer, but I do suspect it is a bit of a barrier to them participating. What I do find distracting is that I occasionally see students with their phones which I gather they are partly using just as a device now, like the computer… Purely Dicta suggests that perhaps they are simply checking the constitution app… P: Oh, really? There you go. They’re on the constitution app. And that’s sort of something that has changed even in the time I’ve been teaching. If a person had a phone out, I would have been very upset about that because you just assume that they’re reading a text or something, but the one time I did actually ask someone about having their phone out, they were actually looking up some piece of legislation on their phone!! I mean they might be using their phones for social stuff, but they might not be – they might be looking stuff up so… Do you think they might be using it for social stuff? Feeling a strong urge to change the subject so as not to incriminate an entire student body… we turn to the subject of marks… Sadly no fails to report, but… P: I think Torts was my lowest mark, I got a P for that. I was in first year, and just had no idea what I was doing! In first year we did torts, history and philosophy of law and then your
arts or commerce subjects. I was kind of ok in the history and philosophy of law bit because I’d always done history, but Torts! It was so legal… and I just had absolutely no idea what was going on. I couldn’t read a case… couldn’t read a statute. Well, barely. So that pass made me pick up my game! M: I guess also, we came straight out of high school to do the degree, I was 17 when I started, and suddenly you’re thrown into the law of negligence! P: And I didn’t have Ian Malkin… M: Well I remember passing criminal law and we used to go to the law quad and they’d pin up all the results on the noticeboards out the front, and you would have to go look up your student number. So these sheets are pinned up on the board and everyone would rush to go and see it, and fight your way to the front. And I had two results, one was property law and the other was crim and one was an H1 and one was a P… P: And he couldn’t remember the subject codes! M: I thought I’d failed property, but that I’d done quite well in crim, so I just assumed that I got the pass in property – and then when I got my letter with the official results on them and it was the other way around. And to this day I cannot
understand what happened there – maybe it was a mistake! Mentioning the vocational focus of the JD, especially the emphasis we all feel on gaining work experience, getting clerkships and filling our time with “extra-curriculars”, Purely Dicta wonders if the lecturers are in support of this… P: I think now there’s much more of an emphasis on learning how to write a letter of advice and many more practical skills, and I agree with that. Because a lot of us started in legal practice not really knowing any of that, but I also think it’s good that the school has made a real commitment to law as an area of knowledge and we’re not just churning out people who can write a letter of advice and look up a database and that’s it. So it’s not so vocational. M: I agree entirely with what Paula said – and I think that’s the good thing about this place. We are, after all, a department in a university. Our mission, if you want to call it that, is not to train people for legal practice first and foremost. Our mission is to educate people about the discipline of law. However, it is very important for us to support students in that important task of going out into the workforce and finding work, because that is why most people are here. So there’s a balance between the support function that the department or the faculty plays and the core teaching function. And they come into alignment with each other, but they’re not the
TEACHERS: THEN & NOW same thing. P: I guess the way the profession is structured at the moment; it recognises that when you complete your law degree you have not finished your training as a lawyer. The stage of the practical legal training is distinct from this stage of the degree, it’s meant to build on it, so we shouldn’t not do things that are related to legal practice, but I still think the structure of the legal profession at the moment sees practical training as distinct. So if this degree becomes too focused on educating people for legal practice then we’re actually ignoring the fact (I suspect) that a lot of our graduates go into a range of work, not just into a law firm type situation – so I’m not so sure that we should be privileging one set of skills or one type of legal practice over another. So I think, it’s about what our graduates do, and what you can do with a law degree, and the compulsory program has to have a sense of educating everyone to baseline level of legal knowledge and skills that are broad. Then electives can help people to narrow their focus and follow their own interests.
of the corporations law and said, ‘Read this’. And that was my training! And can I just say that he was wrong, of course, what I had managed to learn in corporations law was very helpful, but the point he was making I think is the right point, that the perspective that you need to have on that legal material when you’re actually practicing and acting for a client is different from the perspective you need as a student or a scholar of the law and we are not in the business of acting for clients, we are in the business of being students of law and our perspective is just as valid. P: Exactly. And that’s where the practical legal training and the early years of your career actually feed into that. It’s actually starting to acquire a way of thinking about law that’s different or a compliment to what you’ve done before, but the law degree shouldn’t necessarily try to do all of those things. M: And the best lawyers are the ones who are able to draw all those perspectives – think of those great judges, they’re the ones who are just as at home with the details of the text or the income tax act, as they are with Austin’s theory of jurisprudence.
M: The other thing to remember is that academic lawyers are not necessarily the best-equipped people to train students in the sorts of skills necessary for practice. I remember when I started working at Arthur Robinson’s, my principal came into my office one day and said, ‘Now you did corporations law didn’t you?’ I said yes, and he said, ‘Oh you wouldn’t have learnt anything worth knowing – here’. And he gave me a copy
We move on to discuss the workload and what extra curriculars they indulged in…
Ian Malkin looking suave in his year book photo.
Jason Bosland. Although this picture is black and white Jason tells us his hair was orange.
P: I think doing a combination of law with another degree, definitely did make the early years a bit easier because I don’t think my arts subjects were as hard as my law subjects. But the later years of the degree, was basically the same load as
today – the school has always had very high expectations of students – and I mean people get the full range of marks – but I think there’s a pretty high expectation of students. We were probably partly trying to do a bit less outside of the degree, I mean I worked and did social stuff, but I didn’t volunteer (I did clerkships) but I wasn’t trying maintain any type of legal volunteering through the academic year And I think, I did MULR and you did that as well Matthew… M: Mine wasn’t quite the same as yours! Paula was one of the Editors … and I organised a cocktail party! P: But it was great party! But I guess that is a difference I see in students – trying to do a lot of work experience and lawrelated stuff that I certainly didn’t do. M: Yes, we had a much lighter load of extra-curricular activities and that was culturally just the way it was – it was very unusual, and I mean people did clerkships, but it was really only the high flying students who did them and to do more than one was really exceptional. I did one moot – my friend and I were the victors. Then after that I decided it was too much work, so we had to forfeit in the next round. And then in the following year, my friend won the entire competition!
(Both laugh) P: I do wonder if people try to do too much – that they feel like they have to do all of those things. I do think that was a good thing about when we were at uni. That different people did different things and if you really were into mooting then you did a lot of that, but if you weren’t you didn’t. M: Yeah, I agree with you, and culturally there was no expectation that you would be working round the clock in those first few years – and most of us weren’t! But then when you got to the last few years, and you’d finished your other degree, I do remember working very long hours in the library, especially in the second last year because the law firms would extend their offers the year before, so everyone would be trying to get really excellent results in that fourth year. Purely Dicta leaves the room feeling that the essentials haven’t changed – and that those teaching us actually do understand what we’re all going through. Purely Dicta finds this rather reassuring.
P: So you basically did him out of the double win because you were lazy?
Many thanks to Paula O’Brien and Matthew Harding for giving us their time and for sharing their stories.
In her 2nd year Katy Barnett and a friend entered the Governor General’s moot. They bet each other that if they won, they’d adopt crazy hairdos. Katy’s part of the bet was to dye her hair purple.
Wendy Larcombe outside Wilson Hall at her first graduation on 29 July 1989.
THEN & NOW
I did not have the benefit of learning law at the University of Melbourne Law School. I went to that other place – the Law School at the Sydney University. However, because of a glorious career that I carved out in student politics, I rose to become an Honorary Life Member of the National Union of Australian University Students (NUAUS), as the body was then called. Just a few wonderful lawyers were similarly honoured before me – such as Jed Brennan from the University of Queensland – later Sir Gerard Brennan, Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia and a Justice 198198. In NUAUS activities I came to know many outstanding law students, such as Tony Staley and Garry Evans – both of whom went on to become important federal ministers and leaders of our country. So what did I learn from these experiences as then enjoyed for now? Well, I learnt the importance of being a joiner. I joined in activities with other students. Doing so helped me to get on. I made important friendships. Many of these have lasted all my life. Equally important, by being a joiner, I was able to discover and develop my own talents. I came to know my strengths and weaknesses. I minimised the latter and tried to maximise my abilities. This cannot be done, sitting in a room on one’s own, reading a book or studying a screen. To discover the real inner you, everyone has to engage with other people. In late 1962 I was chosen to lead an Australian student delegation to visit Nigeria, Ghana, Singapore and Malaya. Never will I forget our journey in the back blocks of Nigeria, soon after that country’s independence from Britain in 1960. Travelling by third class railway carriage into the hot and humid inland of Africa opened my eyes to the big world beyond Sydney, Australia. Before this journey, I had never been further than Katoomba in the mountains near Sydney. Yet here I was, interacting with students in the matters that engaged us at that time. I was confronted with sharp criticisms of the “White Australia” policy that
was then in force. The African students demanded to know what Australia was doing for education of Aboriginal students. At the time, I had to confess that not a single indigenous person had ever graduated in more than a century from Australia’s fine universities. Witnessing, and engaging closely with, the students of overseas countries taught me to look closely at my own land and its strengths and weaknesses. Specifically, it taught me to re-examine my own values. I realised that many of those values were based on racist assumptions that virtually everyone in Australia at that time accepted. Nothing like travel, dialogue and debate to broaden the mind. I began to think new and dangerous thoughts. When I returned from Africa to Sydney, my days were spent as a busy young lawyer. But I decided to study for an economics degree at night. This, I believe, made me more aware of the practicalities and costs of the law. Justice, it seemed, came with a big price tag. Often, it was not available for the poor and disadvantaged. So I started to volunteer my services for the Council for Civil Liberties in New South Wales (CCL). Squeezed into my busy work schedule were hundreds of cases, done probono for students and other citizens who claimed their liberties had been infringed. Many a student charged with fare evasion got off lightly as a result of my advocacy. Some of these went on to fame and fortune as judges and I hope they remembered. Even more memorable were the cases of the CCL. These involved contested disputes about police shooting; public demonstrations; conscientious objection to military service in Vietnam; and Aboriginal empowerment. As a volunteer lawyer, I took part in defending university students who had travelled to Walgett in in-land New South Wales to ‘liberate’ the cinema there. Up to that time, Aboriginals had not been sold tickets to the upstairs section of the cinema. It was the student protests, and the subsequent court case, that
helped Walgett to change its rules. A tiny blow was struck for racial tolerance in Australia. When, in the 1970â€™s, I was a judge, I had to perform many interesting tasks. For 10 years (1975-1984) I was seconded to chair the Australian Law Reform Commission. This was a new body established by Federal Parliament to modernise and update the law in Australia. As these things happen, one of the first Commissioners appointed with me, was my old friend from Melbourne Law School, Gareth Evans. He was then a lecturer in the School. He had enormous energy and drive for reform from the days when he had been President of Melbourne University SRC. By this time, there was no way that we could perform our functions in law reform without close involvement with civil society organisations and the types of people we knew from our involvement in student affairs. We realised that it was stirrers and shakers who caused trouble that were often the change agents in a relatively complacent and prosperous society. We needed them to shake things up. We engaged with them, secured their ideas, and sometimes helped to translate them into laws, enacted by Parliament. More importantly, it was at about this time that my interest in international volunteering was revived. It started with a request to take part in a body established by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris. This body was created to propose responses to the amazing new computers that were coming into use in the developed world by 1978. Working in conference rooms by day and exploring the beauties of Paris by night, I came to understand how international technology demanded new and co-operative approaches to regulation and the law. So began my career in international agencies. None of this work secured me more salary or financial benefits. But I had the fascination for a world different from my own,
ever since I took that train journey through Nigeria from Ibadan to Zaria in 1963. I supplemented my professional job, as a judge and law reformer, with active participation in numerous international bodies. This experience later came to influence my perception of Australian law. In my view, in the age of the internet, the genome and jumbo jets, we all need to see our discipline, the law, in a new global context. Not all of my international efforts in WHO, UNDP, ILO, UNESCO and other bodies have been crowned with success. Sometimes, as every volunteer knows, working in the international field can be frustrating and occasionally maddening. Organisational rules and impediments to progress are frequently frustrating. But nothing ventured, nothing gained. Much depends now, as then, on precious opportunities arising by chance. But I have discovered, as many before and since have done, that those who work hard win respect. If they come to their tasks with attitudes of inclusiveness and are guided by universal human rights, they can win over the affection and respect of those they work with. So this is how big changes in the world are being secured with assistance from international law - help for indigenous people, for racial minorities, for refugees, for prisoners, for handicapped people, religious minorities, for gays. And also for women, who are not a minority at all. Standing up for others and standing up for oneself can change the world, step by step. This is what being a joiner has taught me. It is true at home in Australia. It is also true in the wider world. So this is why my message for todayâ€™s students at University of Melbourne remains the same as it was for me in 1962 when I set out on this journey. In this respect, then is as good as now. Be a joiner. Get engaged. Think beyond Australia. And make a difference in our world.
THEN & NOW
I Miss You Gough Paradise Lost By the Mature Aged Student BY PATRICK SMITH
The year was 1986 and the green seventeen-year-old version of me was embarking on a Tertiary academic career. Flash forward 26 years and I hope to finish that educational journey in 2013. It has been a circuitous but rewarding journey towards a BA and a JD that has hopefully allowed me an insight into the variations between study in the past and study today. To the average 20-ish law student, 1986 was the dark time before the internet, when Gen-Xers used mobile phones which were just small enough to put into the boot of a car. To give a more helpful snapshot, at that time a new house might set you back about $80,000 and average weekly earnings were roughly $400.00 before tax. And, by the way, university was free (a legacy of Mr Gough Whitlam). However, not being clever enough to take full advantage of the temporary largesse of the Commonwealth Government, I left Latrobe University
two days into my BA. But in the way of happy endings, I returned to the groves of academia only 20 short years later and, in 2007, recommenced the BA at Melbourne University, later to go on to the Juris Doctor. It will be obvious to the reader that the most salient difference between then and now is that to which I have already alluded; the financial element. One would assume it is unnecessary to catalogue here the increase in fees over the past twenty years which culminated in the acme of all fees: the Melbourne Law Degree. But there are other matters to which the mature aged student must pay attention. â€™Pay attentionâ€™ is a term I use deliberately because of its application to my present situation. This is because I remember, at least when happily handicapped by the fog of nostalgia, that when I was seventeen I did not need to pay attention to absorb facts. I was an empty vessel easily filled with gouts of information, both useful and trivial (mostly trivial), through some form of self-acting
osmosis that required no effort whatsoever. Contrast this with the modern version of me who must read and reread cases to prise open the neural pathways to allow the retention of facts, all the while surrounded by the nimbleminded genius of youths who routinely perform seemingly effortless feats of mental prestidigitation. I have no idea whether there is any scientific basis for my assessments of memory and ageing and how they interact within the dusty mind of the mature aged student. This is peculiar because I should know the answer to this question as I studied psychology for three undergraduate years. But then, I suppose I have forgotten (apologies to my lecturers). However, I do find consolation in the knowledge that the Honourable Michael Kirby AC CMG turned 73 recently and is still as perspicacious as any callow first year. It has been said that the mature student adjusts to study slowly but eventually adjusts very well. One obvious
adjustment required for the mature student is to the massive change in technology and access to information. Alas, it seems that the manual perusal through the legal canon is no longer required. At the very least, the need for it has been greatly reduced in favour of the comparatively sterile yet very immediate substitute of the blinking cursor. Still, if one has the urge, one may go to the Law Library or the Baillieu simply to stroll the stacks, smell the once familiar odour of old knowledge and momentarily ignore the efficient yet alluring siren song of Austlii, Casebase and Commlaw et al. Also on the plus side, I recently graduated to using a laptop for all note-taking and discovered the academic advantages of aids such as Google docs and Facebook for co-ordinating syndicate law assignments, though I am still not sure about the Twitter.
ALetter tothe Attorney-General
Environmental Law A Guide to Astronomy BY BRYCE PATERSON
It is so easy. Expected. Preordained. A righteous path through law school to a commercial law firm. Students that have achieved every gold star since primary school proceed into the workforce in search of that illusive, final gold star. That there is ever going to be a final star, feather, notch or other proverbial achievement is, of course, a fallacy. Commercial law firms know this. In fact, they harvest the very desire for gold stars under the guise of glossy magazine and flashy presentations that utilize words like ‘challenging’, ‘rewarding’ or ‘stimulating’. Crystal meth to any over-achieving law student. Very few students are ever given the opportunity to stand back and muse on the night sky in which they are placing their gold stars. Before beginning law school, when lofty idealism hadn’t been replaced by mere equities and consideration was a word you could look up in the dictionary, students gazed into the night sky and saw infinite possibilities with their degree. Statistically speaking, if you were a girl and studied an Arts degree, that possibility was probably human rights law. But something happened between LMR and clerkship applications that leave students who wanted to help refugees or indigenous groups telling a partner at
an interview that they have always loved bond markets and how M & A is better than Master-Chef. Perhaps it is too easy to just follow the manufactured route set out by commercial law firms or maybe they just realise that human rights law doesn’t really exist. It is in this vacuum of despair, an aperture between wanting to make a difference and knowing that there is a path, that I posit the possibly of environmental law. This is neither the activist-driven environmental law of Franklin River Dam Case nor the mundane, tedious and mind-numbing application of the Environmental Protection Act to some generic petrochemical operation. This is the environmental law that acts as the central node of a wider matrix of disciplines including human rights law, customary law, international commercial law and government regulation. This is the complex array of laws that govern the international carbon market. In mitigating the significant adverse affects of climate change the notion of ‘carbon-offsetting’ has morphed into a half- trillion dollar global industry that requires lawyers of all talents and persuasions in contracts, property, regulation, negotiation and tax. The role of lawyers is further magnified in the
asymmetric architecture of carbon credit markets which include voluntary schemes, international agreements (such as the CDM under the Kyoto protocol) and domestic programs (such as the EU ETS or the NZ ETS). One of these possibilities is the work of a group called Carbonexchange which operates in Timor Leste. The organisation allows companies to voluntarily off-sets carbon emissions through the protection of forests within Timor Leste. For students of law this program has included working within the local communities to expand customary notions of property law, in which all property is effectively held on trust by the village-at-large, to include protection of native forests. At the other end of the transaction, lawyers are involved in the regulation and certification of carbon-offsetting. This small example illustrates the vast potential and diversity of work that exist in the global carbon market. Wind developments in China, biodiversity conservation in Brazil and corporate restructuring form just small parts of the emerging monolith that bridges the economic, social and political spheres. Commercial law firms are not blind to the growth in the carbon credit market and have of course expanded
operations to help companies meet voluntary or mandatory carbon reduction schemes. Such a move is recognition of the significance of this area of the law and will no doubt feature in future glossy brochures aimed at the starry eyed law student. My advice however, is to spare a thought for the constellation of stars you are trying to assemble. Like the historical pictograms of Aires, Scorpio or the saucepan, everyone can join the dots together to make their own picture. If you are looking for a place where you can experience law in all its diversity, make a real difference in the world and manage to feed the family, perhaps the renaissance of environmental law appeals to you. This can come from commercial law firms. But it can also be delivered through non-for-profit organisations, accounting firms, government agencies or private companies. Have a good look at the night sky before embarking on your journey. Of course, for the amateur star gazer, this is just a suggestion, something to keep in the back of your head as you move along the conveyer-belt that is law school.
JessupMoot Team 2012 BY BEN MURPHY We all know how much the Law School likes to talk about JD Students doing well. It follows that I don’t think that there is any need for me to give you more information about how the 2012 Jessup team did in DC (did you know that Josh Anderson is the best mooter in the world?) Instead, I thought it might be worth talking a bit about the personal experience of travelling to the Jessup International Rounds in Washington DC in March of this year. The International Rounds were the culmination of four months of the ‘Jessup experience’ for myself, Alex Maschmedt, Kat Yang, Josh Anderson and Suzanne Zhou. After five months of work, hundreds of practice moots
and one fateful presentation in front of Justice Gummow in the High Court, a trip to DC was supposed to be where we would really compete to try to win the competition. In the end, however, the formal competition element of DC was not nearly as inspiring or memorable as just sitting around talking to other mooters, coaches and judges. There is something pretty special about having a chat with students from Oxford University and students from Birzeit University in the Occupied Palestinian territories at the same time. In Washington we encountered 130 teams coming from 78 different countries – from Ghana to Greece, from Nepal to the Netherlands. It was a truly representative group with common and civil law backgrounds and some from countries whose legal systems barely qualify as such. And yet somehow all 500 of us had come together to do the same thing. We had all spent months preparing memorials and arguing about obscure points of International Law. We had all come to remarkably similar conclusions despite our different backgrounds and resources. Having spent months practice mooting against each other, it was incredible listening to a mooter from Armenia stand up and set out the same argument that we had thought was
novel and original. The fact that these teams and others had researched so well actually put us to shame in some respects. We worked in the plush confines of the Melbourne Law School; we had incredible help from the staff of the University; and we had access to amazing resources. Some of the teams had done it without coaches, without libraries and faced with unique challenges that we couldn’t even imagine. Unlike the Chinese team, we didn’t have to get special permission from our government to access information relating to a right democracy; unlike one of the Mexican teams, neither of our fantastic coaches went missing during the competition. So coming back from DC it didn’t really matter where we finished, or that we lost to a bunch of Kiwis (actually, I lie – I may never get over that last part). What I learnt was not about the substance of International Law, but the amazing people who work within it. In getting to know just a few of the people of our generation who are interested in International Law and realising how discussion of International Law can draw people together, it is impossible to not be intrigued by the possibility of an
expanding global legal system. In a discussion with one of the team members from the University of Baghdad, some of my longest held political views were turned around. Five minutes talking with the team from Thailand taught me more about Coup D’états than four months researching them. There is a lot to learn in Australia (like what in the hell is going on in Admin Law?), but overseas the scope for learning and changing the way the world works is immense. Jessup was only a glimpse of that, which drew only a small sample of Law students – but from what I saw in my time there I can’t wait for the next opportunity to travel, to work overseas and maybe to work with some of the other Jessup competitors in trying to make International Law work as well as the Jessup Competition does. PS: Thanks to our coaches Professor Andrew Mitchell, Associate Professor Tania Voon and Timothy Lau as well as the numerous people from the Law School and beyond who helped the 2012 Jessup Team make it to Washington – on so many levels it wouldn’t have been possible without you!
TheHumanRightsArts&Film FestivalLaunchesFullProgram The Human Rights Arts & Film Festival (HRAFF) will be back in Melbourne from the 15th to 27th of May this year, with a diverse program of contemporary film, forums, fine art, and music, seeking to engage, inspire and entertain. For those with an interest in human rights law, the festival offers a powerful insight into the human rights struggles of minorities and those who speak for them; while also giving audiences opportunities for discussion and debate – with an ex-President, no less. Eagerly anticipated is the documentary Our School, which tells the story a group of impoverished Roma “gypsy” children as they are integrated into Romanian quality schools, following a recent ruling by the European Union to discourage racial segregation and improve equal access to education. Touching on issues including institutionalised racism, public education, and poverty, the film is a tender, intimate, and infuriating story of the children’s struggle to be accepted as equals by their peers and the educational system, The compelling documentary Special Flight examines a struggle of a different kind; following the legal and emotional battles of asylum seekers in Switzerland after the adoption of a law condoning up to two years imprisonment in detention centres – without legal representation. The screening features a discussion panel including Julian Burnside, QC; Amnesty International’s Alex Pagliaro; and activist Najeeba Wazefadost.
Other highlights include Fantome Island, the story of Joe Eggmolesse, who at the age of seven was taken from his family and sent to an indigenous leper colony off the Queensland coast; and the powerful Five Broken Cameras, a collaboration between an Israeli filmmaker and a Palestinian villager, whose five cameras document the unlawful brutality inflicted by the Israeli army against those protesting the building of a separation barrier. Perhaps the most keenly awaited event at the festival, however, is the closing night screening of The Island President, which will feature a live Q&A with the former president of the Maldives, the charismatic Mohamed Nasheed – who was recently deposed in a shocking coup. Having brought democracy to the Maldives after thirty years of despotic rule, the film documents how Nasheed must face the threat of rising sea levels that would make the Maldives uninhabitable. The Island President captures the President’s first year of office, culminating in his trip to the Copenhagen Climate Summit in 2009; offering unprecedented access to the usually off-limits meetings and conversations among world leaders and government officials. With many more feature films, shorts, panels and events on this year, HRAFF will no doubt challenge, inspire, and ignite serious debate. Head to www.hraff.org.au for the full program.
to by Antony Freeman Rule 1 Rule 2 Rule 3
any list of do’s and don’ts must reference Fight Club do not talk about Seasonal Clerkships any student at Melbourne Law School who mentions Seasonal Clerkships to another student is hereby known as a ‘dickhead’ if: a. b. c.
They also exhibit signs of ‘smugness’1 They engage in protracted debates2 about ﬁrm ‘culture’3 They froth, convulse, stomp, shiver, shudder, implode, explode, squeal, or exhibit any other completely disproportionate emotion in public4 when offered a Seasonal Clerkship by a ﬁrm of their own choosing Rule 4
any student with an academic average from MLS of 80 or more who applies for more than 15 seasonal clerkships as a ‘contingency plan’ shall be placed on Dickhead Watch
any student who, after being offered more than three clerkships, is suspected to have rung one or more of the ﬁrms who avoided offering him or her a clerkship to ask about ‘HR oversights’, is presumed to be a Massive Dickhead5 Rule 6
wearing clothing branded with your new ﬁrm is prohibited
Rule 6A – exceptions to Rule 6 a) stationary and law ﬁrm umbrellas6 are not counted as ‘clothing’
Signs of ‘smugness’ include but are not limited to: • Wry smiles and gleeful hand-wringing; • Using language such as ‘bud’, ‘chief’, ‘captain’, ‘able seaman’ or other related military ranking to refer to a friend or classmate; • Erections, either in the nipple region or the genital region, brought on by the thought of or explicit mention of Seasonal Clerkships or ﬁrm ‘culture’; and • General clamminess and profuse sweating when top-tier ﬁrms are mentioned. 2 Debates include informal conversations and are classiﬁed as ‘protracted’ if over 5 minutes in length. 3 Example: ‘Crane, Poole & Schmidt is a mid-tier ﬁrm with a top-tier culture. Discuss’. 4 ‘In public’ includes toilet cubicles within the male and female bathrooms of Melbourne Law School. Please use the disabled bathroom if such an emotional display is required, and lock the door. 5 Note: the onus of rebutting the presumption rests with the student. 6 Rhianna uses a Gage Whitney umbrella, which allows her to sing with conﬁdence about her umbrella. 1
Back Away fromthe Highlighter The Neuropsychological Reason Why You’re Panicked, Tired and Still Working
BY MATT CURNOW1
I Introduction For smart people, lawyers are incredibly stupid, my housemate once said to me.2 I was mortally offended at the time: I believe my response may have been that a Masters in Remote Sensing is very nice, but that applications for a career with McDonalds were fierce, and that he shouldn’t be disheartened if he was unsuccessful the first time. Looking back at our exchange, and with the wisdom garnered from 3 years in law school what I think he was actually expressing in his crude, simple way, was concern. Specifically, our tendency to measure everything by the pursuit of grades. Too often law students measure their lives, self-worth and future by a series of arbitrary letter grades handed-down from on high. The H1’s we rationalise, sort the wheat from the chaff. They become the barometer by which every aspect of our lives is gauged – our efforts are either vindicated by their achievement, or deemed not enough when we shamefully miss out.
As Rick so aptly put, for smart people it is lunacy to fail to see the progress we make towards our overall hopes and dreams for the sake of staring at those god-awful bloody letters. But we do it anyway; we seem to consistently distil a career, relationships and the achievement of happiness to how close or far we sit from ‘H1’; ergo, stupidity. So, when we look at it objectively; perhaps the least contemplated, but most important question underlying Rick’s truth is: why? It is a question that lawyers rarely ask themselves, assured in the certainty that the system is infallible, that competition is good and that success is its own reward. This article proposes a novel angle on that question: what if there is something underpinning this behaviour? What if the patterns we observe time and time again in law students, and later in lawyers can be explained at a biological or psychological level? I hypothesise that the reason we ignore the ‘why’ and constantly push ourselves towards that H1 is a form of ritualisation of reward seeking behaviour, akin to what psychological literature has taken
to calling ‘work addiction’. The dangers of addiction are generally obvious – we know that it can have serious impacts upon health and relationships. Addiction can be the catalyst for further forms of self harm and abuse – particularly drug taking and alcoholism. Addiction is highly correlated with instances of mental illness, especially depression. So when we start considering how lawyers behave as potentially being signs of addictive personalities we need to seriously consider whether the pursuit of those elusive H1s are actually a little more hazardous to our health than we might first admit. With significant research into mental health issues at Melbourne Law School, by the Law Institute of Victoria and other state and national bodies, the reality that addiction may underlie our behaviour takes on new significance. This article seeks to explain, and offer an opinion on the aetiology of addiction (its neuropsychological basis), and offer suggestions about how this issue needs to be approached seriously and immediately by the law school and the profession.
II How does Addiction Work? The first thing that we need to discuss is what addiction actually is. The usual misconception that people have of addiction is that it is the product of failure. Whether we mean to or not, we see a drug-dependent person, witness their erratic moods, incoherence, lack of attention and conclude that their addiction is the product of negative social factors: abuse, neglect, lack of self-control. Essentially, we view their addiction as though something went ‘wrong’. Whilst these social factors may have been a catalyst for a drug-addicts drug use, at a biological level addiction is something very different. We know that addiction does not require the consumption of a chemical substance: gambling addicts for example, can experience all the symptoms of addiction without consuming anything at all. According to Schmitz (2005)3 in MRI studies of participants exhibiting either substance or behavioural
addictions statistically significant data demonstrated that ‘pleasure seeking behaviour’ is the neurological element that all addiction has in common. At a neurochemical level dopamine, GABA, glutamate and opiate peptides control all pleasure seeking behaviour. In addicted participants4 the introduction of the addictive catalyst resulted in dramatically higher levels of GABA and dopamine activity compared to a control population. In other words, addiction can be explained by a heightened response in the pleasure centres of our brain. Put simply, whether we are smoking crystal meth, going to the gym 8 times a day5 or reading case law by the metric tonne is not what is important – the important part is the sensation we experience from doing any of these things. Studies have shown that the experience we get from the sensation dulls over time – in order to achieve the same level of arousal we do the thing in greater volume, more regularly to achieve the same sense of excitement. The second thing that can be identified in behavioural addictions is a high ritualisation of the addiction. Have you ever wondered why you need to spend hours tabbing a textbook you’re never going to look at in a 3 hour exam to begin with? According to Burke, Matthiesen and Pallesen (2006)6 this is ritualised behaviour: whilst we might see this as cruel and unusual punishment rather than ‘pleasure’ the fact is that patterns provide us with a form of pleasure. It is for this reason that breaking study habits is so difficult and why law students can struggle to adapt their reasoning methodology in non-law contexts. One of the key indicators of behavioural addictions in general is obsession and a distorted perception of a person’s self and their surroundings. Sound familiar? In essence, the ritualisation of behaviour is a form of fitting everything into order: where a person has unrealistic expectations of themselves and their work by ritualising the process we try to fit abnormal behaviour into our understanding of ‘normal’ behaviour. As addictions become more and more pervasive, and our biological responses become more dramatic this ritualisation becomes even more important to our experience of reality – warping our day to day lives in order to capture the original sensation of pleasure we gleaned from the addictive behaviour. In law school, the validation achieved from success gives us the addictive stimuli as well as an explanation of the ritualisation of behaviour. We are taught from the start how hard law school is, and the burden of work alone can be physically and mentally exhausting. When we do achieve success, the pleasure sensation is heightened by the exertion required to achieve it. This also re-enforces the pursuit of the sensation: by virtue of the difficulty in achieving such stellar grades for mere mortals, any hope of future H1s requires a sustained commitment at often unrealistic levels. As this takes its toll through mental and physical fatigue we begin to ritualise the process so that it ‘makes sense’. Over-time, the pursuit itself can become the addictive stimuli and at that point law students transition
from hard-working to potential addicts. III Why Law Students appear to be Drug-Effected to Normal People After establishing what addiction is in a very general sense, we immediately start to hear alarm bells going off when we turn to ourselves. It’s ok, you can breathe.7 Looking at some of the slightly odd behavioural quirks that float around the law school8 it is reasonable to conclude that we may be at times a bit ‘atypical’ for want of a better word. But how do we explain this in addiction terms? One system of understanding the pursuit of needs was devised by Maslow in his ‘hierarchy of human needs’. Essentially, Maslow’s theory (which is still used in management and organisational psychology circles) envisages our needs in a pyramid ranging from the most basic survival needs at the bottom, to self-actualisation at the very top. Self-actualisation can be understood as a point of personal equilibrium: when you generally feel pretty damn good about being you. In Maslow’s mind the reason so few people ever achieve self-actualisation is that events or personal characteristics usually intervene at some lower point. We become caught up in the rat race and fail to advance much further. As a case in point law students are a perfect example of how this occurs. What my housemate referred to as stupidity before, can also be expressed as unrealistic expectation. Lawyers often reflect the behavioural traits of substance abusers according to Spence and Robbins (1996): we tend to perceive ourselves against our friends and colleagues which can lead to poor selfimage.9 We have high work-involvement and drive to work, but disproportionately low enjoyment of that work. We apply exacting standards to our social and professional interactions – often old friendships fail to survive law school as we seek like personalities, who in turn may be unrealistic in their view of relationships as well. And when the world seeks to intervene into our little bubble at 123 Pelham St, Carlton we exhibit irritability, cynicism and mistrust, become critical of the imposition and vilify ourselves as victims. We’ve all done it to some extent – ‘they don’t understand’ resounds like a chorus at post-assessment drinks catch-ups. To outsiders looking in, like my housemate Rick, our behaviour towards law school, taken in context of our broader lives is inexplicable. Why do we subject ourselves to such high expectations, and punish our failures with greater workloads, rather than adapting our work to more efficiently address our weaknesses? And why do we lash out at people who point that out to us? According to Mudrack and Naughton (2001)10 the fundamental reason why behavioural addicts rationalise their actions through ritual is control. The fact is that law students, lawyers, barristers or judges are all creatures of the same mould – we seek control. By its nature law is the
imposition of order on chaos: it is inseparable from our profession. So it seems completely absurd that lawyers’ obsession with control is such an elephant in the room. The next step in our discussion must be why we need control so badly, that we’re prepared to forego happiness and health to achieve it. Control is the reason why we take failures so personally, and why success is so validating. This validation, when considered in the context of how a law student progresses through their career is the next obvious point of interest for why lawyers may be at risk of addiction. IV The Pressure Cooker Looking back at Maslow’s hierarchy it is clear that law school perpetuates the rat race problem. Specifically, when we consider the progression of a lawyer’s career (career being one of the tiers of the hierarchy of needs) we see that it is incredibly linear. From admission to law school, interning, clerkships, graduate applications to eventual admission, law students progress through a series of stages on a conventional path to practice. Few law students enter law school expecting to deviate from that path, and the profession does very little to encourage any deviation from it as desirable. Even friends of mine with no interest in commercial law have observed that they are expected to adhere to the process if they want any chance of pursuing their eventual dreams of human rights activism or policy law. Consequently, success in law distils careers down to a series of hurdles, with fewer people passing onto the next. The problem that linearity creates in the context of selfactualisation is that by its nature, career success depends upon achieving at each hurdle. As fewer people succeed at each stage, most people are left with the perception that they do not have access to a commercial career in law and become ‘stuck’ at a particular stage. This leaves those people who have not achieved success to adopt unhealthy attitudes towards work, their self-image and their sense of control of their lives. In law school this first became apparent when those of us who didn’t get stellar grades (myself included) began to take on massive study burdens, internships and co-curricular activities in the hope of making it out of their ruts, and onto the next stage in the career process. Logically, taking on more distractions would seem counter-intuitive to improving performance. Despite this, the fact that students ‘didn’t do enough’ and ‘needed’ to improve their prospects for employment are both examples of an underlying rationalisation and ritualisation of reward seeking behaviour. Given the incredible efforts put into improving the state of mental health at the law school by the Law Students’ Society and faculty, the need to understand why people act the way they do is a critical element of understanding mental illness issues. Often, mental illness is co-morbid with addiction: according to Greenberg
(2004)11 this is particularly evident with respect to depression. Work-addicts perceive failures and inequities disproportionately to non-addicts, and their behavioural responses are characteristically more dramatic. This comes from a sense of powerlessness and the collapse of the control framework they erect around their behaviour. For law students this is particularly poignant: the failure of ritualistic behaviour can leave students with no point of reference and a complete collapse of their sense of identity, worth and achievement. The unrealistic pressures that law students rationalise as acceptable in the pursuit of grades, clerkships or graduate opportunities can lead to significant mental and emotional harm when they are not met. Whilst we might have originally scoffed at the analogy of a junkie on the street, the comparison in terms of reactions to disappointment become a bit more apt when considered in this light. What this means, in summary, is that there are powerful and potentially harmful forces underlying the behaviour of law students. When that behaviour becomes addictive, the results of disappointment can be catastrophic to the mental health of individuals. As we have seen, the system itself is flawed – whilst this article lacks the room to go into an in-depth discussion, it is clear that a systemic review of the law school or even the profession could have positive effects and protect some of our at-risk colleagues from developing addictive disorders.
(1) BA(Psych), Monash University and very nearly a psychologist. Please note that the following article is based upon undergraduate research and has not been peer reviewed. For further details on the literature underpinning the article please contact the author via the editors (2) Credit goes to Rick Harris, for exposing me to a fundamental truth that I will always hold in the forefront of my mind if I ever manage to succeed in this profession. (3) Schmitz J (2005). The interface between impulse control disorders and addictions: are pleasure pathway responses shared neurobiological substrates? Sexual Addiction and Compuslivity, 12, 149 – 168. (4) Both substance and behavioural addicts. (5) This figure doesn’t maintain itself. (6) Personality correlates of workaholism with work-life conflict, work-life satisfaction and purpose in life. Journal of Counselling Psychology, 47(4), 469 -477. (7) This spelling correction goes out to Lauren McInnes whose clear lack of irony at the topic escapes words. “Breath and ‘breathe’ are distinct words” – thank you LMac. (8) i.e. the palpable disdain apparent on anyone else in an elevator from the ground floor when someone presses the Mezzanine or Level 1 buttons, or the unmitigated rage at the annual migration of engineering and commerce students that stink up the private study space at SWOTVAC time. (9) Workaholism definition, measurement and preliminary results. Journal of Personality Assessment, 58(1), 160-178. (10) The assessment of workaholism as behavioural tendencies: scale development and preliminary empirical testing. International Journal of Stress Management, 8(2), 93-111. (11) Stress fairness to fare no stress: managing workplace stress by promoting organizational justice. Organizational Dynamics, 33(4), 352-364.
FoodieReviews Suggestions for relatively new cheap and/or yummy eating alternatives near the law school for breakfast, lunch and dinner. REVIEWS AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY AMY NHAN
Breakfast: Woodside Green Distance from law school: 5-7 minutes walk Address: 87 Cardigan St, Carlton Opening hours: Mon- Fri, 6am–3:30pm (not open on weekends) Price range: $3 -4 for hot drinks, $4.50- $8.50 for rolls, focaccias etc.
After a hearty breakfast without the price tag? Woodside Green is a newcomer to the café scene in Carlton and is located at the corner of Cardigan and Queensberry St (opposite Hotel Lincoln). This little corner café does have it’s charm with a bright yellow ‘just for looks’ door, eclectic interior and friendly staff. Only in its 2nd month, there is a steady stream of regulars consisting of tradies, ASU workers, paper-pushers and the occasional suit after a caffeine hit. There are ready-made focaccias, egg and bacon rolls, and hash browns if you are in a rush, but if you’ve got some time before class for a sit-down breakfast, there are six two-seater tables and one large communal
table with a few pot plants to add to the laid-back atmosphere. I ordered a café latte ($3.00) with some poached eggs, bacon and multigrain toast ($8.50). Coffee was out within two minutes and the meal in about ten minutes. The latte was pretty good (though I’m not too fussy with my coffee) and the poached eggs were near perfect for me. I thought one of the eggs was slightly undercooked but I never poach eggs at home so I guess this ‘green’ café can be forgiven for that. The bacon was crispier than my liking but overall a very satisfying start to a day at uni for under $12.00.
Lunch: Middle Fish (@MiddleFishMelb) Distance from law school: 3 minutes walk Address: 122-128 Berkeley St, Carlton Opening hours: Mon- Fri: 7am – 5pm; Sat-Sun: 10am-4pm Price Range: ~$4.00 for drinks, $15-$25 per meal
Move aside Momo Sushi, Pearls and cheap Chinese – there’s a new eatery in town! When you wander down to Middle Fish during lunch hour, the first thing you will notice is just how packed the place is! Located conveniently next to Seven Seeds (entrance on Berkeley St side), this relatively new Southern Thai café has won the hearts and stomachs of many law students and lecturers alike after only 4 months in operation. And it’s no surprise why. The café owners Pla and David, have transformed this old warehouse building into a spacious getaway spot, fitted out with deck chairs and interesting industrial artwork from Thai artist, Torlarp Larpjaroensook. On my first visit, I tried the Pad Gapao Moo Kob ($15.50), which was a delicious serving of pork belly, assorted stir-fried vegies and fried egg with rice. My
fellow law student had the Green Chicken Curry ($14.50), which I tried on my second visit. The Green Chicken Curry came with rice (as most main dishes) and with so much chicken and sauce that I just had to order some roti ($3.50) to finish it off (that’s how good it was!). Another one to try is their Tom Yum ($14.50) that had an abundance of juicy prawns and a perfect balance of sweet and sour (so says another law student). Don’t forget to give their Thai Milk Ice Tea a go too! Served in what looks more like a bowl than a cup, it a sweet accompaniment to any meal! Middle Fish also has lunch specials now so if you haven’t done so already, set a lunch date to check it out! To avoid the wait, you can make a booking by calling: 03 9348 1704.
Dinner: Saigon Pho Distance from law school: 10-12 mins walk Address: 106 Lygon St, Carlton Opening hours: Open 7 days, 10am-10pm Price Range: $2.50 - $3.90 for drinks, $8.50-$15 per meal
There’s no point denying it, the weather is getting on the chilly side now so if you are staying late to study, there’s nothing quite like a bowl of steaming rice noodle soup to heat you up on the inside. Enter ‘Saigon Pho’. Situated on the Queensberry end of Lygon St, this Vietnamese restaurant adds a different flavour to the predominantly Italian landscape. It wasn’t very busy when I first set foot in Saigon Pho on a Wednesday night at 6pm, however, the place quickly filled up over the hour with a few coming into make/collect takeaway orders. The high-ceilings, chandelier and pop music playing in the background made it a new Vietnamese restaurant experience for me. As I was dining with some Vietnamese cuisine experts, we order a few different dishes to try. We shared a plate of Prawn Cha Gio/Spring Rolls ($7.00 for 6), which weren’t bad, though one of my experts suspected that they had already been cooked earlier and just reheated. There
were no complaints about the Ta Bin Luu/The Lot (Regular size only- $9.50) since it was scoffed down quite quickly however, the grilled pork that came with the Com Tam Bi Suon Cha Trung/Combination broken rice ($10.50) was said to be a bit dry and on the chewy side. I ordered a small Pho Bo Ca Biet/Special beef and chicken combination ($8.50) but when they brought it out, they told me I could have a medium size for the same price! I like to think they knew I was a food blogger (the constant photo-snapping probably gave it away) but it’s more likely that they just made a mistake! Though it wasn’t mind-blowing, the generous serve of rice noodles, sliced chicken and beef and the soup, which was full of flavour (and perhaps MSG), won me over. Definitely stop by Saigon Pho if you are after something warm on the way home or for your dinner break. You can also call 03 9654 9653 to make a takeaway order.
For more foodie reviews, check out Amy’s food/photography blog: www.amelbournegirlatheart.wordpress.com
A = Melbourne Law School B = Middle Fish C = Woodside Green D = Saigon Pho
Specialty Coffee Strap in hipsters, you’ve got some learning to do BY John Azzopardi
When I finally get my JD, there is no doubt that the coffee gods are going to be expecting their props. And it’s true – I doubt I’d be able to balance the mountains of readings, working, volunteering and ‘fun’ without the seductress. Judging from the queues at Seven Seeds I don’t think I’m the only one. So considering we spend so much money on this ‘Specialty Coffee’ I was curious as to what we’re paying for. After much investigation (and sipping) I present to you my findings on Specialty Coffee. What it is? Where does it sit in regards to the traditional ‘Fair Trade’ matrix? What is Cup Of Excellence? What’s an Aeropress and why should I care? Specialty Coffee is typically defined as coffee that scores over ‘80’. To get these scores, coffees are ‘cupped’. Seven Seeds, Market Lane Coffee and others hold free weekly ‘cuppings’ of their new coffees. To cup a coffee, you essentially just add hot water to fresh grounds of coffees that have been lightly roasted; then just taste and score. These scores are recorded on a matrix that measures sweetness, acidity, mouth-feel, aftertaste and general clarity on the palate amongst other things. The nature of coffee processing in the case of commodity coffee (i.e. the coffee that’s traded on Wall St; not sold by moustached hipsters) leaves much to be desired. Without proper care the coffee cherries ferment and mould may grow on the green beans. These defects always show on the cupping table. In the past, when the consumer didn’t know better, roasters would roast these coffees to death - ‘the dark roast’, and convincing the consumer that the bitter soot they were selling them was what ‘real coffee’ was about. Quality in coffee was said to be represented by the presence of ‘crema’ & the availability of flavour syrups. Defying all logic they suggested that this product, which is essentially a fruit, was better off if it was roasted months and months before in Italy. Allowed to go stale on a ship to Australia. Around 8 years ago there was a paradigm shift in the industry. A big force behind this move in Melbourne was Mark Dundon. Mark Dundon started off St. Ali before selling to lawyer Salvatore Malatesta and opening Seven Seeds. Instead of buying coffee on the commodity markets in bulk these guys were going to these farms in poor countries and meeting the farmers. They were explaining to the farmers that if they took care of the coffee; they
would pay a premium. As worldwide commodity prices rose, the entire ‘Fair Trade’ paradigm failed to keep up and became irrelevant. In its place grew a new ‘third wave’ of coffee purveyors willing to pay a premium for Quality. The 20 winners of the 2012 Late Harvest Brazil Cup of Excellence (COE) competition were paid an average of $17.64USD/kg for their green beans– the current commodity coffee price sitting at approx $3.60USD/kg. While not all specialty coffee is this expensive; it’s demonstrative of the shift towards quality in the industry. The transparency and attention of institutions such as the Cup of Excellence (COE) competition leads to money going directly to farmers, rather than corrupt regimes in poor countries. Information relating to COE auctions is freely available online. Initiatives such as these allow farmers to build truly sustainable relationships with their consumers on the other side of the world. What about Filter? With a new supply of coffee that had been treated with a great deal of respect at origin there was a new frontier to explore. Cafés could now present it in a different way. Coffee, as with wine has extremely strong elements of terroir. A Brazilian coffee will be typically nutty and chocolaty, while an Ethiopian will typically be considerably more floral & sweet. There was no longer a necessity to roast a coffee to death to mask its defects. You could lightly roast the coffee of a single farm (origin), serve it without milk or sugar and enjoy its individual beauty. This is where ‘filter’ coffee comes into it. If you’ve eaten at more or less any new café in the last two years you may have seen some weird brew methods. Aeropress, Pour Over, Syphon, Chemex; it’s all more or less the same. All these methods are much more gentle than Espresso. You get a brew that’s almost similar to tea. By not being as harsh with the beans you’re left with a product that exhibits a great deal more nuance; allowing you to appreciate the terroir and the beauty of the unadultered coffee. I can’t lie – I was sceptical at first – I love a good latte. But the reality is that there’s not much that can beat the beauty of a nice El Salvadorian coffee made via filter that tastes like berries. But regardless of what you think of filter, in the end - you can’t argue with quality.
LIVEREVIEW: ChetFaker Thinking in Textures EP Tour The Toff in Town, 21 April 2012 BY LIz MARGARONIS
Under the guise of Chet Faker, local beatmaker Nick Murphy has been causing quite a stir. In a few short months the hype surrounding this bearded gem has sky-rocketed, propelled by two #1 spots on online indie music zeitgeist Hype Machine, a debut live set recorded for 3RRR, a gig supporting Toro Y Moi and Washed Out on their Laneway tour, and consistent rotation on Triple J. Add an invitation to play this year’s coveted SXSW Festival in Austin TX, and a spot on the 2012 Splendour in the Grass lineup, and it’s hardly surprising that Murphy would be welcomed home by three sold out shows at the Toff. Murphy opened with “Cigarettes and Chocolate”, an instrumental cascade of looped samples, and went on to play a set infused with lust and longing to a sweatladen room heaving with bodies. As the Saturday night crowd swayed and cradled their drinks, Murphy seemed genuinely humbled by the crowd carefully singing along with his effortlessly suave croon. Cruising through the track listing of his debut EP, the range in Murphy’s voice shone through in “Solo Sunrise”
and “Everything I Wanted”, but the earnest reflections in “I’m Into You”, “Terms & Conditions” and “Love & Feeling” were show-stealers; resonant lyrics laced together with unashamed sincerity and a gracious stage presence. Returning solo from his encore disappearance, Murphy admitted it was the first time he had retreated from the stage for the ritual, and went on to deliver an almost unrecognisable rendition of Burial’s “Archangel”, completely transforming the electronic/dub-step tune into a yearning ballad. And finally, the perfect end – an understated rendition of Blackstreet’s 90’s classic “No Diggity”, the cover that triggered Chet Faker’s musical ascension. Chet Faker’s music is soul-heavy, it’s sexy, and you just want to let it completely envelope you and wring you dry. So add this to the multitude of reviews singing this man’s praises. Forget trying to pigeonhole his genre, all you need to know is that a killer voice + cool beats = shit-hot tunes. We’re onto a very, very good thing.
THEN & NOW
Then: Jack White - musical genius behind The White Stripes, The Raconteurs/Saboteurs, and The Dead Weather. Now: Jack White - solo, and still a musical genius. Blunderbuss is out now through Third Man Records/XL Recordings.
Friday 25 May - The Preachers ‘Take A Card’ Single Tour w/ The Messengers, Yah Yah’s (99 Smith Street, Fitzroy). Free entry. These Sydney-siders really know their rock and roll, so sidle up.
Then: Sant-O-gold: L.E.S. Artistes, pre-lawsuit. Now: Sant-I-gold: less O, but still bangin’. Master of My Make Believe is out May 1 through Downtown/Atlantic Records. Then: Josh Tillman – folksy, long-haired drummer for the Fleet Foxes. Now: Father John Misty - solo, brooding, and with significantly less hair. Fear Fun is out May 1 through Sub Pop Records.
Football&Law: AFalseDichotomy BY Nicholas James Baum
Society has sold you a lie. At some point, quite early in your life, you came to the realisation that you are a nerd. I won’t sugarcoat it. You got good grades in school, the teacher loved you, you read for pleasure (those were the days) and that made you different. Then society began to make inroads on how you viewed the world. You’re one of the smart kids, it said. You’re allowed to enjoy the benefits of that - school prizes, maybe play music, and perhaps a leadership role along the way. But you definitely can’t be into football. The truth is, there is absolutely no reason why law students (nerds) can’t be into football, and in fact, there is every reason why they should be. Here they are: 1. Football improves your social skills. When you spend every day tucked away in a nook of the library, deciphering the hieroglyphics handed down from the nation’s superior courts, it can be hard to remember how to have a conversation with someone who doesn’t study law. Unfortunately, (or fortunately) at some point you will again have to venture out into the wider world, and perhaps even make small chat with a stranger. Football is an almost universal icebreaker - who do you support, what do you think of this player, this game, Sam Newman. On second thoughts, maybe don’t bring up Sam Newman. 2. Football improves your career prospects. Everyone has heard the story of the shiny-faced law student sitting down to an interview, stock-in-trade answers memorised and charming smile practised, only to be asked, ‘So; Chris Judd or Gary Ablett?’ The fact is, the legal profession has an obsession with football that borders on the pathological, and the sooner you get your head around that, the better. Once you’ve gotten the grades, they all know you can do the job. The question becomes, can you get along with them in the office? Being able to keep up with the banter is integral to that (and yes,
they know when you’re faking it). 3. Football helps you be a more genuine person. Melbourne is a city that can smell a fake a mile away. We are all about things being genuine - our coffee, our bars, our fashion. Part of that is the importance of the detail small, intricate patterns, delicate differentiations in taste, polished edges. Having a football team to support, with a little story about why you follow that team, and who your favourite player is, puts a finishing touch to a person in a way that only a Melbournian can appreciate. On that note, do not say Greater Western Sydney, or Gold Coast, unless you have a really, really good story. Probably too early for Fremantle or Port Adelaide too. Trust me. 4. Football is all about argument. Law students study law because they love to argue, and every relative since the age of three has told them that they should become a lawyer. Law students are trained in the art of argument: lawyers are professional arguers. The fundamental point of any conversation about football is about argument. Law students are in their element here why not get involved? Dreamteam v Supercoach? Buckley v Hird? Footy Classified v Before The Game? The question of which club is the greatest of them all has given rise to arguments between football fans for over 150 years - you could be the one to win it. (For the record, the correct answer is Collingwood). 5. Football is a high-pressure, competitive environment. Perhaps the only people in the country who are more competitive than law students are footballers. Law students will do anything to get ahead tear pages out of library books, stay up all night finishing an assignment, or book a discussion room during a takehome exam. Footballers however, throw even the most basic level of morality out the window in their quest for
the ultimate goal (see for instance, Wayne Harmes, 1979 Grand Final). Really, law students have a lot to learn when it comes to competitiveness, and football provides many instructive lessons. 6. Football is about power and influence. The power brokers of the nation have a long history of involvement in football, and many significant political and business decisions have been made in the back room of a football club. From John Wren to Jeff Kennett, from Dick Pratt to Eddie McGuire, the captains of law and industry have thrown their weight around in the football boardrooms as often as they have in the political or industrial sphere. Law students wishing to shape the future of this country, look no further than your nearest and dearest AFL football team. 7. Football is fundamentally judicial. Without getting all Legal Theory on you, the adjudication of sporting contests predates the legal system as we know it. Every society since the dawn of time has had ritualised athletic contests, with certain rules and enforcement procedures. Umpires came before the High Court, and the Tribunal came before the Federal Court. There are great lessons we can learn from studying football, and the ways the legal system and football overlap, like why on earth Barry Hall was not charged with assault for that punch? 8. Football is full of attractive people. Let’s face it, law students are as superficial as anyone, maybe more so. All the more reason to get into football. Jimmy Bartel may be the most attractive man in Australia, period (I would turn for him). Cameron Ling was voted football’s most eligible bachelor. And who can forget the WAGs - Rebecca Judd, Lauren Phillips, and Brynne Edelstein. Further, 2012 may be the best year yet to follow the attractive people in football, as Channel Seven guarantees to show hotties
in the crowd, on the bench, in the box, on the carpet anything but what’s happening on field, really. 9. Football has great narratives. For anyone wanting to be a great advocate, the starting point is always the ability to tell a great story. It’s not enough to get the law right - it is about spinning tales of woe and grief, of moral rights and wrongs, in the chaos that is the reality of life. Football is full of incredible narratives, with heroes and villains aplenty. There is the famous Chapman curse over Hawthorn; Krakouer’s comeback; Ben Cousins’ addiction; Podsiadly’s rise from humble fitness coach; the AblettThompson saga, and the Malthouse-McGuire-Buckley saga. Week to week, these stories and others play out on what is essentially a public stage. What’s not to love? 10. Football is irrational. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, law students should and need to follow football because it is irrational. Logic is everything in law. Law students are constantly questioning decisions - what is the right decision? The right policy? The right outcome? - and balancing a maelstrom of competing interests and ideas. Football requires you to be single-mindedly irrational, and rewards that irrationality. It is about following a team, right or wrong. It is about screaming, with 90,000 other people at the MCG about 44 blokes wrestling over a piece of leather. It is about jumping up and down in the coldest depths of winter, at 11pm on a Friday night, singing an archaic team anthem whilst hugging a complete stranger. It is about crying because a man you have never met kicked a ball at slightly the wrong angle shortly before a large horn was blown, and somehow that means you, personally, have lost. In short, law students need football because they spend too much of their lives trying to make everything sensible.
WeNeedtoTalkAboutKevin… Ordowe? BY MikA Tsoi
This year, I joined a book club. Law school may provide all the reading I can handle, but not all the kinds of reading I want. There’s more than the law; there’s fiction. Then there’s this book: We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. The buzz was that it was nature v. nurture, the final showdown; a female writer kicking literary ass and taking names; not least, topical on the subject of gun control. On these topics, the book provided a few surprises. The books we’ve read for book club have shown me that what I want the most is thematic resonance: a setting out and achievement of a project. To get there, a story with words is needed; Shriver’s got chops. She can spin a yarn. At no point, did I want to put the book down because I was bored. That alone carried me through the ever-darkening events of the story. I just had to know how it all happened. I hate involuntary spoilers; I’m going to avoid them. To tell you that Kevin perpetrates a massacre at his school is not to ruin the book for you. Each chapter is a letter written by Eva, Kevin’s mother, to her absent husband. It starts in the present, after the killings, and then goes back to Eva before she even met her husband, Franklin. Eva searches, through her recollections, for what went wrong. She who had a child later in life wondering if it was the right choice, to forgo further career advancement and business building, and have a kid; a kid who did such terrible things. Here’s my biggest problem with the book: it never had a chance of going right. Big waves and a fear of the ocean give us a clue as to why. Have you seen the Perfect Storm? George Clooney, late 90’s flick. Fishing boat goes out, makes profitable catch but, oh dear, three big storms combine into the titular storm; implausibly handsome fishermen die. Once they’re in the storm, nothing could help them. The only moral of the Perfect Storm is to not get caught in the perfect storm. For a book that purports to be about the nature/ nurture debate, it brooks no possibility that nurture even gets a look in. Kevin is bad from the beginning. He won’t breastfeed, which Eva interprets as rejection of her as mother. He hides his learning of the alphabet and numbers from her. All these incidents pile up, so that Kevin never even exhibits the possibility of being good. He’s a demon, Damien or Rosemary’s baby. The rest of the book gives us the unfolding of the inevitable. Yes, Eva is a terrible nurturer; postpartum depression aside, she’s functionally good while being unable to summon anything but duty for him. If she was a good mother, as the book witnesses she is
not, then the debate might go somewhere. It would be the battle between a demon and an angelic mother. That it is not. Rather, Kevin is on railroads from the beginning, of his own nature. The only discernible moral of We Need to Talk About Kevin: don’t give birth to a demon. Underneath the surface of this book lies a wellengineered structure. The pacing and plot bubble along before reaching the climax. I just wanted to finish the book, even though I knew that the killings, charmingly referred to in the book as ‘Thursday’, were coming. However, the engineering extends to the characters. They play the role the story needs them to play, with no variation. Kevin is a demon because he needs to be. Eva exhibits no warmth, because of the demands of the plot. Franklin is a warm but stupid man for the same reason. It’s as if Shriver doesn’t even like her characters and has no interest in them beyond the functional. If she doesn’t, why write a 450 page book filled with them. None of the main characters broach contradiction. The artificiality of the protagonists take the book from something that has application beyond itself to a literary PSA. As much as I tried to escape the law in my reading, this book includes two legal episodes. Eva is sued for parental negligence by a grieving parent; Kevin has his own trial. This book brought back Torts and reading that chapter brought flow charts back. Involuntarily, I wondered about causation and defining the scope of parental duty, before I snapped out of it. That particular session of book club came before I was too deep into Criminal Law. On Thursday, nothing of note goes awry; the massacre itself is, of course, horrifying. It calls the tropes of adventure movies to mind, where the achievements in the background far outweigh any evil defeated. This kid who is by definition an amateur gets everything right the first time. That never happens. Usually, we need a montage before that can be not scoffed at. Thursday itself points to the calculated nature of the book, that the more evil and intelligent someone is, the more they won’t need practice. Shriver makes no points for or against gun control. But what does it all mean? The book itself is a compelling read. Don’t read it expecting too much out of it. No big questions are going to be answered. The one question that everyone has after a tragedy, why, because of the urgency and importance of that question, it ensures that no answer will satisfy. Accordingly, Shriver provides no answer. Also, book club is terrific.
THE STORY CORNER
A Day in the life of Lord-Judge St John Merridew BY St JOHN MERRIDEW MERRIDEW LJ: For the reasons that follow, it will become apparent that today was a not unpleasant day. I shall recount my experiences seriatim. Having awoken in my trundle at approximately 0620 hours, I hastened to wash, change and ready myself for an arduous day at my chambers. Although a problem with the hot water in my bathroom posed a minor inconvenience, it cannot be said that it proved an insuperable difficulty, and I soon found myself exiting from the boudoir. Satisfying my hunger with some bread and jam, I turned my attention to the newsworthy stories of that particular day. One might argue that to do so is of questionable utility. Apropos of that matter, one might aver that reading the news of a given day adds neither to one’s legal knowledge, nor to one’s general ebullience. That cannot be accepted. The newspaper ought to be read. The reasons for so doing are legion, but it will suffice to say that a judge ought to keep abreast of the pertinent social and political issues that arise within his jurisdiction. A judge and his people are inexorably bound as one. To hold differently would be to conflate the role of a judge with that of some fanatical, desktop blotterjotter Nazi bureaucrat, who dedicates his entire attention to the whimsical pedantries of his Fuhrer. The role of a judge is akin to that of a public intellectual; a modern-day Aristotle, as it were. Hence, the reading of newspapers is an imperative antecedent to the fulfilment of the judicial task and for a judge to do less is to both abdicate from his responsibilities, and to reject the imprimatur which is vested in him by the Crown. But I digress. Having finished breakfast, I grasped my briefcase by its pebbled leather handle and bid my seised land adieu. Departing from my tenement and perambulating onto the nature strip, appurtenant to the Council, I continued westward towards the local station, making but one brief stop at the tobacconist along the way. The man behind the counter, with whom I was not familiar, was seemingly startled by my appearance. There was something of the night about him. Surely enough, not one moment after I had suspected him of some wrongdoing, did he vindicate my suspicions by removing a wad full of cash from the till and then starting to bound towards the entrance. As Lord Denning would say – I had caught him red-handed. The owner, Gerard, having heard the commotion, came hurtling in from the rear of the unit to see what all the kafuffle was about. At this point I thought it apt to yell at the fleeing reprobate that, prima facie, the precedent set in Armory v Delamirie would not avail him in the presence of a claimant with a prior possessory interest in the money. Somewhat surprisingly, the delinquent did not cease to run down the main road, though I suspect upon reflection on the matter,
he would agree with my interpretation, having seen the logical error in his own behaviour. As an expression of his gratitude at my attempts to obstruct the criminal, Gerard made mention that I need not make pecuniary account for the freshly-cleaned pipe, which I had come to collect. The next ten hours of my day proved relatively uneventful. Having entered my chambers and passed by my portrait of her Majesty, the Queen, I sat myself at my mahogany desk, with the fireplace crackling and with pipe in mouth; and having poured over the various submissions which had been left for me to peruse through at my discretion, I prepared myself a tumbler of port. Bibamus, moriendum est, as the great Seneca once wisely quipped. At this point, my secretary intruded to inform me that I had best prepare for the evening’s victuals. It had slipped my mind that a young lady who had caught my eye on friendfinder.com had agreed to a spontaneous dinner date at a restaurant of my choice, by the Thames. Despite the torpid languor with which my body had become awash, I decided that I would keep to my appointment, lest it be thought that I was not a man of my word. I was pleasantly surprised to find my date, Beatrice, presently awaiting my arrival. Her features were striking. This was most definitely a matter of form over substance. I could barely contain my alacrity. Once we had exchanged pleasantries, the waiter came to take our orders. Beatrice ordered salmon, poached in white wine and seasoned with salt and black pepper. This proposition appeared to be well founded. Moreover, it gained no little support from the practical consideration that Beatrice was a celiac. However, when the waiter turned to me I proposed that the previous order be set aside and replaced with the following: a steak salad and some chicken and rice wraps with ginger sauce. Salmon as an order, ought not to be accepted. It will suffice to say that the reason for this is that the scent of fish displeases me. Nevertheless, despite the apparent obfuscation in Beatrice’s quaint features, the night went rather swimmingly. Upon the meal’s conclusion, I offered to escort Beatrice back to her humble abode - an offer which she duly accepted. No consideration had passed hands but I would deem the oral statement to be of sufficient certainty such as to ground a claim in equity were she to have denied my somewhat prurient future intentions. Suffice to say, there was no such problem. By the time we reached her home it had become apparent that our interests were coterminous. This is the point at which my recounting of the facts must, however abruptly, cease. I conclude by saying that before that night was over there was the granting of – declaratory relief.
THE STORY CORNER
InAnotherLife BY CHARLES HOPKINS
Like most tales of discovery and revelation, this story begins in the rain; and like most tales of mid-afternoon coffee breaks, I was sitting at Porta Via. I’d chosen the table adjacent to the law building north wall, near the fire hydrant; the monotony of fifth year University had me hopelessly wishing for a fire, and if it came I wanted to be prepared. I was doubting my decision-making abilities, mainly because my latte was far too milky. Why hadn’t I ventured the extra 50 yards for Seven Seeds coffee? “You can spend your whole life questioning your decisions.” A gristly voice pulled me out of my daydream. “Sorry, what?” I managed. “Pardon,” he corrected me, then continued, “you’re questioning the quality of your coffee – don’t worry I’m going to fire the barista.” I’d sat up straight by that point and had a better chance to size him up. It didn’t take long because he was quite short. He was a stout man with skin the colour of my coffee, and as leathery as his voice. “Now you’re contemplating whether ‘wog’ is an offensive slur these days,” he continued, still standing a few feet from me, seemingly with nothing to do but disturb my quiet. “No I’m not.” “You shouldn’t lie to people like me.” “What? Italians?” He looked at me with a mixture of disbelief and disapproval. “You meant old people,” I said, now doubting more than my decision-making ability. “Now can you help me with that door? I can never open it myself,” he was pointing to the door a few metres from us, that opened onto the back of the drinks fridge. I stood up and erected my umbrella before asking any more questions; the other thing about old people is you help them regardless of what they’re asking, like standing up for them on a tram, or abiding their request to kill a man. “Have you got a key?” I asked. “I’m the owner, of course I’ve got the key.” He passed me a bundle of keys, and I started fishing through them until I found a key-ring that read ‘Porta Vita’. He was answering my question before I had even inclined my head in his direction. “That’s what I wanted to call the café,” he’d raised his cardigan-clad arm to place his creaky hand on my shoulder, “but the law faculty told me that law students wouldn’t understand it.” He chuckled to himself, his
hunched shoulders bouncing in time, “too preoccupied with questions, they said, never appreciate the beauty of a simple answer.” More questions sprouted in my mind, but as I went to ask one of them, I noticed the knowing smile on the man’s face. Being a law student I wanted to prove him wrong so I decided not to ask any questions; though I didn’t get the feeling I’d outsmarted him. Confused as to how to beat this old sage, I thought it best to solve a simpler problem. I took the Porta Vita key in my right hand, moved to the door and opened it with ease. It wasn’t heavy in the slightest. As I swung it open I looked over my shoulder to see that the old man had vanished. All that sat beside my table was my super trendy Herschel backpack I had bought because I’m really cool; there was no sign of the 60-year-old wog Italian man. I looked back in the direction of the fridge, but the fridge is not what I saw. It was like a mirror, only I wasn’t in it. I turned my head back in the direction of the outdoor seating area, the boxes of herbs swaying in the breeze; I looked back at the door and saw the same thing in reverse, only there it wasn’t raining. If I had been in a more prudent mood I would have stepped away from the door and resumed what I had been doing (not going to class), but I had questions and I had a feeling there was only one way to answer them. *** I stumbled through the portal feeling queasy, as if I’d been to an LSS barbecue a few hours before. I made sure to remove the key chain from the door and bury it in the pocket of my jeans, before making my way to the front doors of the law school. Many things were the same: the building, the surroundings, the jigsaw couch things in the foyer that make little aesthetic or ergonomic sense. As I climbed the staircase to mezzanine, I noticed that all the students roaming the corridors wore smiles, many were laughing. It was unnerving. At this point I assumed I’d entered another dimension. The whole ‘old Italian spirit guide’ figure and the allegorical value of the ‘Porta Vita’ metaphor made it pretty obvious, heavy-handed even, just bad writing really, that wasn’t, punctuated well, either. I made it to the Student Centre desk and it was sufficiently attended, which was also strange, “Hi, I’d just like to know…” I realised the question I wanted to ask the
attendant made no sense. I began stammering. “Yes? How can I help?” the mid-twenties NorthMelbournite asked. I had an idea. “Well I’m from Farrago-” “You’re, from Farrago?” The cynicism was palpable. I dropped my voice to a raspier note, “Yeah I left my vintage glasses and ironical interest in mainstream politics in my fixie-basket,” she nodded, “anyway, I’m doing some demographical research and I wanted to get some statistics on the JD cohort.” “The JD? You mean the LLB?” My jaw dropped faster than a new Rihanna single. A world without the JD? Had the virtue of the Melbourne Model gone ignored? Fair is foul and foul is fair! What next? Did MasterChef still become a thing? God I hope so. “The extent of my statistical understanding is this: Asian student enrolments are at an all time high…” so it wasn’t because of the high Australian Dollar! “… V-neck sweaters are more common than ever…” Without an Arts background, the privileged students weren’t learning how to conceal their upper-middle class heritage! “… And mental health surveys show students are generally relaxed and happy.” Oh no. I started to feel faint, everything was wrong. Suddenly my legs weren’t strong enough to support my weight and I started stumbling backwards, hyperventilating. It happened so quickly I collided with someone.
I turned to see who it was. The figure had dishevelled grey facial hair, glasses with one lens broken, and was hugely overweight. “Gimma dollar will you?” the figure slurred, either drunk or hungover or both. “Oh my God, Glyn Davis? Is that you?” The receptionist had rounded the desk at this point and was approaching Mr Davis, but he didn’t seem to notice. “American system. Graduate Schools. Begins here the revolution does!” The receptionist had reached Mr Davis and started patting him on the back. She spoke at him very loudly, “Glyn, you’re not making any sense.” “Yes he is!” I exclaimed, “The Vice Chancellor is the only one who is!” “That was my title once,” he went to burp, and at the fear of copping vomit in the face I pushed him to one side and bounded for the toilet. The thought of an undergraduate-dominated higher education system made me want to expel milky coffee down a dirty mezzaninelevel toilet. I made it to the disabled bathroom and burst through the door before noticing it was occupied. When I saw the occupant, my nausea and dizziness dissipated. They were replaced with stillness; my breathing became extremely slow. Sitting in front of me, was me, or at least an alter ego. He had shaggy hair, wore a bulky woollen jumper and his beautiful, dreamy, deep-as-an-ocean blue pupils had
THE STORY CORNER
become quite dilated. “Shit man, I’m tripping harder than usual,” he mumbled to himself. I closed the door behind me. “Are you smoking weed on campus?” I asked desperately. “No,” he spat, “I’m smoking weed on campus.” “Will the smoke detector go off?” “Nah the Uni has totally run out of money, so the smoke detectors are actually just polystyrene kids toys.” My palms were damp with sweat. This reality was all wrong; the continued existence of the LLB meant students were paying reasonable fees! “Well what the hell are you doing smoking at law school? Shouldn’t you be in class?” I asked. “Nah I’m taking this semester off to discover myself, I just come in now to continue my sordid affair with (redacted) and got distracted when (redacted) sold me pot and felt I needed a hit straight away, I’m actually waiting to meet (redacted) for this second joint.” My hyperventilating started again. “So you should probably leave because (redacted) already suspects I’m a paranoid schizophrenic,” now he was pointing at the empty space next to me, “and so should you Mr Bunny Suit Man.” I ran out of the room, spluttering on the fumes as I bounded down the staircase three-at-a-time. I prayed the portal would grant me passage back to my own life. I was grateful for this vindicating adventure, but what if my curiosity and doubt had trapped me here forever, as an undergraduate? I contemplated killing myself. I made it back to the door with the key in hand, swung it open, composed myself, and walked through it. *** My tour through different permutations of my university life continued throughout that afternoon. I stumbled into a world where only Arts was offered. There, I had a major in ‘postmodernism’, only referred to myself in the third person and dated a footstool called ‘Carrot’; I was an omnisexual. I spent 20 minutes meandering a University of Melbourne that only offered law. I met thirty-four douchebags in that time, and found my alter ego on level 4 of the library, simultaneously crying and masturbating. The door opened onto a world without university on my seventeenth attempt. It was utopia but for the nonusage of the expression ‘but for’ so naturally I couldn’t stay. It was my eighteenth trip through the Porta Vita in which I found the simple answer to my question. ***
I bumped into someone on the way out of the portal. It was me. “What?!” my other self asked, eyes widening and brow furrowing. I had the routine down-pat by now, so I proceeded, “You’re not crazy, this door allows me to transition between different dimensions where I can meet other versions of myself and before you ask, yes we have the same size penis; that’s a nature, not nurture thing.” He was still stuck for words, and I noticed people starting to file out of the law building for a mid-class coffee. I flicked the hood of my jumper over my head, grabbed my other self by the wrist and led him to the table I was sitting at during the start of this story. “Roll with me here for a sec, what course are you enrolled in?” I asked. “Arts and the LLB,” he replied with trepidation. Now I was just as shocked as he was, “but I already met the other me doing that; the only thing we had in common is that we both have sex with (redacted).” I suddenly noticed that in his right hand, he was holding the same set of keys I was, “hang on a sec, before I came out of that door, did you have a conversation with an old Italian guy?” “Yes, he’s still right there,” the other me had turned around to notice the sage’s absence. He turned back to me and asked slowly, “Are we in some sort of Kaufman brothers film?” “I am utterly befuddled too,” I thought to myself, which, because it’s a silly sounding word, somewhat betrayed the existential depth of the situation. “Do you like 30 Rock?” I asked him. “Love it.” “Do you like to cook?” “Only if it’s for multiple people.” “When dressing for university in the morning, do you try to find a look that says ‘I have thought somewhat about what I look like but not so much that it would reveal the contradiction in this style of not-thinking-about-howmuch-thought-I’ve-put-into-my-clothes’?” “Yes! I do that!” he said excitedly. I hadn’t discovered an alter ego, I had discovered myself. *** After we simultaneously shared the same epiphany, we spoke for some hours. I spent a few days in that reality, conducting Parent Trap-like practical jokes and discussing the question of, ‘if you have sex with yourself are you gay?’ Later I learned how to use the Porta Vita to become John Malkovich, and I spent my remaining years living the life of the esteemed Hollywood actor.
What am I doing here? BY Andy Chislett What am I doing here? Reflecting on one’s own lack of direction has become almost the cliché state of mind for most postgraduate students and as a second year JD I am no exception. With each year that I drift further into my twenties, I find myself increasingly wondering how it is that I am still at University? It certainly isn’t for the ladies. Since beginning the JD my social life has gradually, but irrevocably been reduced until the only women I now come into contact with are fellow students. Beautiful, confident, intelligent women who whilst top notch examples of the fairer sex, are unlikely to be impressed by me doing something that they themselves are also doing and doing better. There still exists a small hope of finding a handful who are readers of Purely Dicta and also susceptible to overt flattery, but I digress. Why oh why did I commit myself to three more years of study? I am constantly reassured that “it will all be worth it when you graduate”. The reasonable person would conclude that yes, six years of high quality education would ultimately benefit you. But what if at the end of it all, you decide that perhaps you don’t want to become a lawyer? Even uttering these words within the hallowed walls of the law school elicits gasps of shock. An attempt to consult a careers advisor shows that they are similarly unprepared for the possibility. Careers: We have so many wonderful firms that you could apply for. Me: But what if I don’t want to be a lawyer? What else could I do? Careers: You don’t want to be a lawyer? Why are you in law school? A perfectly valid and logical question that has
brought me back to my original point. The reality is that while I have been gradually accumulating debts my more practically inclined friends have been learning a trade and are now currently earning more than I ever will as a lawyer. The struggling life of a university student was endearing as an undergraduate, however there reaches a certain age when an inability to pay your phone bill simply becomes depressing. There is one benefit of drifting through law school, Mum is just so happy. A look of pure relief washed over my mother’s face when I informed her that I was abandoning my dreams of stand up comedy and television in favour of pursuing a respectable career in the law. The worry lines that had blessed her face since the day I chose a B.A at Melbourne over medicine at Monash seemed to melt away and as a closet mother’s boy it felt good to ease the old chook’s pain. I can’t be the only one though; there MUST be other students here with the same apathetic attitude to their studies. Although I see my fellow classmates seemingly enjoying every minute that they get to spend surrounded by three ring binders in the level 3 library, my inner skeptic can’t help but question whether they are being sincere. No one’s passion in life can be taxation law. I’m definitely jealous of them though. I want nothing more than to know what I want to do with my life. A real passion, a dream to work towards and more importantly, one that won’t change daily depending on what movie I’ve seen. Nonetheless, there are worse things I could be doing than the JD while I wait for inspiration to strike. The people are nice, the lecturers are friendly, the exams can mostly be done at home and most importantly, mum is happy.
THE STORY CORNER
A method to end the madness BY Tessa Sidnam It’s weird being 22. Being 22 and having to make decisions. Being 22 and carrying what I like to call a modified sense of entitlement, a sense of entitlement which has been complicated by the awareness of injustice brought upon by a liberal arts education and further complicated by coming to terms with the value of money. Being 22 and in constant evaluation of my own morality. Being 22 and regretfully hyper-aware of at least some of the implications of the decisions I’m making yet being 22 and making compromising decisions anyway. Like that time I bought a texturally-deficient muffin because I couldn’t be bothered walking further to get a better meal. I blame this state of constant over-consciousness on globalisation. That’s because I don’t know about anything else; I did a Melbourne Model Arts degree. But seriously, it’s not that hard to blame everything on globalisation. It’s responsible for my existence (my parents met travelling), my insatiable need for instant gratification, and most notably the snow leopard J Brand jeans that I bought off the internet. I still don’t even really know what globalisation is, but know it is to thank for the imported sparkling water I drink. I can’t fathom a world without the opportunity for sparkling water, and can barely imagine what I’d have to wash my car with were it not to exist. Ok, whatever, I live a life of comfort made complex by my awareness of this comfort. Not that big a deal. I’m lucky. I only have to deal with first world problems. Plus, now that I’ve expressed my permanent predicament – the fact that all my excellent education means experiencing a daily shift in ideological alignment resulting in constant theoretical confusion – I feel less guilty writing about first world problems because at least I’m aware that they’re first world, you know? It’s kind of like having a ‘guilty pleasure’ song (Ke$ha – TiK ToK); the fact that you know it’s trash permits you to dance like you’re psychotic when you hear it. Living in a capitalist society means that I am being endlessly confronted by overzealous marketing ploys, posing a consequently difficult challenge to my pact to save the world. I like challenges, and I like winning, but I haven’t figured out what winning entails in this instance. All I’ve achieved so far is a string of over-intelligent rants which perfectly expose my meta-crisis. Is there such thing as the striking of a fine balance between selling out to appreciate capitalism at its finest, and giving myself wholly to the betterment of mankind? And is a life of humanism a life devoid of material pleasure? What if I find tax law strangely enjoyable? What if I get a kick out of applying my knowledge to the most novel of problems? Would it still be called ‘selling out’ if I were to do something ideologically-compromising for want of a particular sort of mental stimulation? Would it still be
called ‘selling out’ if I did tax just to get reactions out of people? Is it sad that I get enough utility out of people’s reactions to make such a consideration? Is it sad that I use the word ‘utility’ in casual conversation? Yes, yes it is. I love telling people I chose to do tax law as my elective. They always think I’m joking. That’s because they don’t think you can save the world through tax law (probably wrong), which means they necessarily think I’m going to save the world (no comment). And I feel validated when I realise that they think I’m going to save the world, but I also feel bad admitting that I genuinely don’t know whether I will, and so I instead make jokes about Kony, laughing nervously. Even the people in my tax class don’t believe that I study tax. This probably isn’t helped by the fact that I don’t show up very much, and that when I do, I’m usually wandering in late, wearing some sort of black draped outfit, only to place myself in the back left corner to play with my equally black hair. These days, my fringe is almost long enough to cover my eyes, but not long enough to hide the lack of understanding in them. A lack of understanding regarding the horrendous traffic and the guy that washed my windscreen causing me a whole lot of guilt when I had no coins for him, a lack of understanding regarding the over-poached egg I digested just moments ago for $17 which I had to pay in coins, a lack of understanding regarding the fact that I lost the eBay auction that caused me to be late to class and now someone is in my seat. But it’s ok being late, isn’t it? That way I will get a good result at best. No boy wants a girl with a great result. Is that even true? I’ve spent so many sleepless nights thinking about it that I’ve ended up late to class enough times to never really find out because I’ll never really get great results, only good ones at best, and then someone will marry me one day. And my law degree will have been so useful because when my husband starts talking about some merger that he worked on overnight I’ll have buzzwords such as ‘stock surrender’ and ‘takeover strategy’ up my sleeve. And my sleeve will be made of silk, and my walls made out of Rothko. It’s the perfect solution! Goodbye moral dilemma, who knew that marriage could solve you? Such a small burden of avoidance for such a large payoff! If I get married, then I obviously won’t have to work at all. And then I won’t have to make a decision, and I won’t have to morally compromise myself. Not contributing to the world prevents me from causing any harm and not causing harm is the same thing as doing good, right? Disclaimer: I’ll change my mind tomorrow and want more than anything to be Louis Vuitton’s lawyer, and tax law will be my new best friend.
LOST IN LOVE To the bearded hipster who orders with a keep cup at Bar Scopa – let’s get environmentally friendly together so I can show you what I’m doing for the planet. Love, Gone native below
To the tall, dashing, financially secure second year who runs his own company, Infusion Design – I crave those days you swagger into Uni splashed in corporate attire. With slicked-back hair, stylish thick glasses, and that charcoal pin-striped number to match, you easily put the ‘buff ’ in Warren Buffet! So here’s my enterprising proposition baby – scrap the sole-proprietorship, pair up with me, and let’s design a fusion of our own! Max
Sup Farrago, To the professor who oozes both undeniable class and pulsating sex appeal. I could easily see you at Spice Market; scotch and dry in one hand, gorgeous twentysomething in the other. Your deep, raspy, smokers’ voice had me hot and bothered all throughout Evidence and Proof. For months on end I dreamt of nothing else than your dry wit, intellectual prose and reassuring smile. Then Advocacy came along, and I quickly realised our previous encounters had been nothing but foreplay. The instant you strutted into class, shirt profoundly unbuttoned, chest hair protruding, tan glistening, musk emanating, there was an incomparable stirring in my loins. Andrew Palmer, take me in the Moot Court now! Love, Fiona Leigh Mclure
Totally newspapered De Min on the first night! PDicta
To the 156cm blonde who hops off the Number 8 tram at Lincoln Square each morning at 8:33am; and always orders a skinny chai latté, half sugar, from Briscola Espresso in the first break of her second class; and alters between the Primavera from Porta Via on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and the Tasmanian cold-smoked salmon from Seven Seeds on Tuesdays and Fridays; and every evening prefers studying in the Nook as opposed to the Law Library – the view into your South Yarra bedroom window is pleasant. How about letting me in some time? From, Rory H.
To the blonde wearing that generic white top at Richmond station on Monday morning – I was that guy in the equally generic dark suit. Although my message is so descriptively vague it could apply to just about anyone, I’m still going to persist with this creepy public letter. Our eyes met for a period of time that in no way signified a shared connection, but I still can’t stop thinking about you. Notwithstanding my clear desperation, I will now play it cool and ask you out for a casual beverage. Coffee? From, Every ‘here’s looking at you’ ever
Hi Purely Dicta, It’s me again. Just wondering if you got my last few texts? I checked with the phone company and all 44 definitely went through. Anyway, just wanted to say that I had a really good time Saturday night. Sure we went a lot further than I initially anticipated, but you seem like a nice publication. In case you’re wondering, I don’t regret losing my first page to you. Call me when you get back from that unexpected work travel thing. Also, I’d really appreciate it if you could reply to my e-card. Love you, De Minimis
THE STORY CORNER
Gabi &Flick’sBad Advice We’ve f***ed up our lives, now it’s your turn
Dear Gabi and Flick, I have met a lovely girl via a social networking site and can’t wait to meet her properly! She is from Lagos in Nigeria, and has never been to Australia before. She says that she is in love with me. We will be meeting in the flesh for the first time in August – I’m sending her money for the airline ticket and also a little extra for the orphanage she runs. My question though, is how likely is it that she will be willing to sleep with me, do you think? I am aware that there are many cultural differences on this, and many other issues. - Ned, Carlton Dear Ned You shouldn’t worry Ned, we think you will be well and truly f***ed by this girl in the not too distant future. In the meantime, we would very much like to help with the orphanage: it is so rare to find someone in this world who is truly selfless. So send us your bank details and credit card number and we promise that wewill transfer some money into your account, which you can then forward to your girlfriend. Don’t forget the three-digit security code on the back of the card. Also, your PIN would be handy.
Dear Gabi and Flick, Exams start tomorrow and due to my ill-timed introduction, and subsequent addiction to Game of Thrones, I have not prepared any notes. Furthermore, I have been shunned by the entire JD cohort, after voting Eddard Stark in the JD Facebook group poll, ‘Who do you admire most for no tangible reason?’ instead of Justice Kirby. As a result, no one will send me their notes. I am worried I will fail, what should I do? - GoT <3 Dear, GoT <3, Michael Crommelin once told my PPL class that ‘notes won’t save you’… so just enjoy your last day of freedom before exams (there are new episodes of Game of Thrones out this week). However, if you’re participating in the JD Facebook group then I’m assuming that you prefer to document and discuss everything, down to the very last detail, much like the incessant desire to post a live feed of results, ruining for everyone, what was (until that point) a glorious summer holiday. If this is the case, I would say this is your only option; loiter around the printer on level 3. During SWOTVAC, many students without homes and/or basic amenities will be printing off their final set of notes. Wait for the relevant subject to appear in the queue and then pounce quickly with your library card to print, before the student originally printing them can walk that short mile outside to bust you. It’s not stealing if you pay, right? (Hint: if the author isn’t a local student, you know they’re good.)
Dear Gabi and Flick, At law ball I had too much to drink and hooked up with a classmate. Now he won’t leave me alone; I’m receiving constant messages, and requests to catch up. I don’t like this guy, but want to let him down gently cause we have to go to uni together for the next 3 years and I don’t want things to be awkward between us. Help! - #neverdrinkingagain #whatadisaster #takeahint Dear hashtager, Firstly, it appears that you spend too much time on Twitter. How do you Twitter folk ever understand what is being said with all those words and no spaces? We find it very confusing. Digress! Ok, back to your dilemma. As we recently learnt in Crim, intoxication is not a defence (we think, we weren’t paying much attention that week cause we were too busy planning what to wear to law ball). So it looks like you’re going to have to deal with the repercussions of your actions. We suggest you make the most of this situation and begin a relationship with this guy. Hopefully he lives near you and is smart so you can be driven to uni everyday and get handed readymade exam notes at the end of semester. Even if you hate him it will be worth it for those perks. And when you break up? Don’t worry about it – all the law school breakups we’ve seen so far have ended amicably and maturely…yeah…
Dear Gabi and Flick, I am an Arts undergrad and am considering applying for the JD next year. Any advice? - Sa Indie Dear Sa Indie, Isn’t your first name supposed to have a few more ‘A’s? You should DEFINITELY apply for the JD, it’s great. The LSAT was heaps of fun. You only have to sit in a room for 7 hours answering questions like: if Gabi and Flick go to dinner on Wednesday night and Flick can only eat chicken every second day of the week and James Franco is really cute, what is most correct number of planets in the solar system? Once you get to law school you get to hang out with lots of super cool people who definitely will not stress you out by telling you about all the study they do and how often they volunteer to save the whales in Africa. During SWOTVAC your hair will fall out and your doctor will prescribe you valium, which is great because thin hair is in this season and valium has a really good street resale value. We look forward to seeing you on level 3 soon.
Dear Gabi and Flick, How do I get rid of timeline and go back to the old Facebook? Myspacetom Dear Myspacetom How the mighty have fallen. You can’t, so stop asking.
QUIZ 1. Grab the book nearest you. Open to any page. What kind of words can you see? [a] ‘Feoffment’, ‘estoppel’, ‘purportedly’, ‘amicus curiae’, or any kind of italicization or Latin. (3) [b] ‘Spaghetti’, ‘panda’, ‘thunder’ or ‘happiness’ (the word OR the concept). (2) [c] A really cool picture of a tree or something. (1) 2. What is in your bag right now? [a] Highlighters, a phone with a shortcut to the Constitution app, four different coffee loyalty cards and a pen sporting a name like ‘Arthur’ or ‘Clayton’. (3) [b] Tissues, mints, non-prescription sunglasses and a wallet with actual money in it. (2) [c] I don’t have a bag. I carry my worldly possessions in my heart. (1) 3. When was the last time you questioned your life choices? [a] This morning. (3) [b] Sometimes I have my doubts, but then I think about the difference I’m going to make in people’s lives and it’s ok. (2) [c] I always knew I was destined for this. Also, my horoscope said that consistency is a must for Taureans. (1) 4. A typical swat-vac dream for you is: [a] Running into REB, late, not being able to find my seat, then realizing I studied for Contracts instead
Why are you even taking this quiz? Go back to Environments, or Monash, or wherever it was you came from.
Are you a law student? Answer the following questions and add up your score. BY CHELSEA DRIESSEN
of Tax, but then working out it doesn’t matter anyway cause I don’t remember ever taking advanced Russian, and I can’t explain this to the invigilator because every time I open my mouth I can’t make a sound, and then I look down to see that the only thing hiding my sun-deprived body from everyone’s view is my copy of the Constitution. WHY did I buy the pocket-sized version??? (3) [b] Walking around, seeing people I don’t really recognize, in places I can’t quite pinpoint, doing things I can never fully remember, with a llama and a tent peg. (2) [c] Flying. (1) 5. The Americanised spelling of ‘italicisation’ in question 1 made you: [a] Grammar is unimportant. Meaning is all that matters. (1) [b] Having just checked that it is in fact spelt the American way, I realise now that I don’t care. (2) [c] Geez, AGLC3 rule 1.9. Who edits this thing?* (3) 6. You spend your free time: [a] Volunteering to save the planet, or the whales, or the magentaspotted frill-necked ant, or something. (1) [b] Sleeping. (2) [c] Coffee. (3) 7. Have you done the reading for tomorrow? [a] We don’t have any reading,
17 – 23
Make your mind up already. You’re either:
we just need to spend two hours thinking about the meaning of thought. (1) [b] Of course. Next week’s cases are tough though, watch out. (2) [c] Competition Law is due in a week and a half. So no. (3) 8. Based on their skills and attributes, which person(s) do you most respect and aspire to be like? [a] My parents. (1) [b] Nelson Mandela. (2) [c] Paula. (3) 9. You chose MLS because: [a] Oh, no, I prefer the Premier League to that Major League nonsense. (1) [b] I made an informed, individual choice to attend a university in the middle of nowhere with a lot of other people who also like justifying why they didn’t get the marks to attend a good uni think Monash was the better decision. (2) [c] A multitude of reasons, all of them the right ones. (3) 10. Your top three most-visited websites are: [a] Greenpeace.org, The Australian, realestate.com.au (1) [b] iwastesomuchtime.com, whatshouldwecallme.tumblr, ASOS. (2) [c] Facebook. (3) * The author of this quiz is in fact in awe of the Editors of Purely Dicta and wishes to congratulate them on their skill (/ incredible willpower in resisting the urge to change ‘italicization’ [sic] back to the Macquarie Dictionary spelling).
24 – 30
Law student. Don’t you have reading to do?
(a) in the workforce; (b) a commerce student; (c) one of those really annoying super-overachieving law students who somehow has time to do everything and still gets amazing marks; OR (d) a plain old garden-variety law student lying to beat the test. It didn’t work.