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New lawyers retrace history

20 April 2016

On Tuesday 19 April, 113 new lawyers were officially admitted to practice Australian law and were welcomed to the profession at the Supreme Court of Victoria.

Chief Justice Marilyn Warren, and Justices Joseph Santamaria and Rita Zammit, presided over the 9.30am admission ceremony in Banco (courtroom 1).

Justices Jack Forrest and Peter Almond sat with the Chief Justice on the Bench at the 11am ceremony.

At the first ceremony, the Chief Justice shared five key pieces of information with the new lawyers, essential for a modern lawyer to know.

“The current legal market is highly competitive and demanding, and at times exploitative. To be employable as a lawyer you need to be alert, conscientious, a good thinker and a good team collaborator.”

Her Honour encouraged those aspiring to employment as a lawyer to make themselves stand out in a crowded field, before raising her second point – pro bono work.

“It is an excellent way to gain experience and simultaneously contribute to the administration of justice. The courts, daily, face many individuals in criminal and civil cases who need help but do not have legal representation. Those individual’s liberty, livelihood, home and human rights might be at stake,” the Chief Justice remarked.

Her Honour urged the new lawyers to read and reflect on Associate Justice Ierodiaconou’s recent paper on the topic, which is full of excellent tips on how to look after yourself and those around you.

Following the ceremony, the new admittees signed the Supreme Court roll and were each presented with a copy of the anniversary publication, ‘Judging for the People: A social history of the Supreme Court in Victoria 1841-2016’.

“The main order of business on that first sitting day, 175 years ago, was the admission of 19 lawyers, including four barristers. Hence today, the new lawyers retrace history - and become part of history,” said the Chief Justice.

The book covers the key events, people and cases that have shaped the Court and state of Victoria in the 175 years. Accomplished scholars, historians, members of the Victorian Bar, judges and Court staff are among the contributing authors in this joint collaboration between the Supreme Court and the Royal Historical Society of Victoria.

The book’s editor, Dr Simon Smith, was on hand to personally present the books to the new lawyers.

“It’s an exciting day, quite exhilarating,” said admittee Alexander Gelber, upon signing the roll and receiving the book.

Having just secured a position as a volunteer lawyer at the Asylum Centre Resource Centre, the Chief Justice’s speech resonated with admittee, Phoebe Lindner.

“It was quite relevant how Chief Justice Warren spoke about getting involved in pro bono work because that is something that I am passionate about and excited to be involved in,” she said.

Both ceremonies were streamed live on the Court’s website for friends and family to watch from afar. The ceremonies are also available to view on demand (External link) on the Court’s website.

Copies of ‘Judging for the People’ are available to purchase from the Supreme Court Library, phone 03 9603 6282 for more information.

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