Fun and learning for first-year law students
O-Week 2017 Recap
First year LLB Welcome
First year Bachelor of Law (Hons) students received a warm welcome to the TC Beirne School of Law as the refurbished Forgan Smith West Wing threw open its doors to the 2017 students during O-Week.
Head of School and Dean of Law Professor Sarah Derrington said that at less than 200, and with an entry requirement of OP1, this year’s first-year intake was the smallest in recent history.
“The small cohort is a deliberate strategy to ensure excellent student-to-teacher ratios and collaborative learning opportunities,” she said.
“Our restructured programs have been designed to take advantage of the school’s new state-of-the-art facilities following the $33 million refurbishment last year.
“Our aim is to continue to strengthen our reputation as a world-class leader in legal education.”
Professor Derrington said she was very aware of the need to promote diversity in the student population by ensuring all students with the academic aptitude had the means to access law studies at UQ.
“Thanks to the generosity of our alumni and the legal fraternity, we have a range of support for students from disadvantaged groups including the introduction of the LEAD scholarships this year,” she said.
Monday: students attended a welcome covering what all first years need to know, followed by pizza with student society executives and teaching staff in the Alumni Court.
Tuesday: students visited the Federal and Magistrates Court. Students heard from judges and the DPP at the Federal Court, before viewing a proceeding in the Magistrates Court.
The legal profession pulled out all the stops to make the students feel welcome. The Supreme Court was the original destination, but after a fire in the building on Friday, judges graciously made last-minute arrangements to speak to students at alternative venues.
Postgraduate students were also welcomed at a cocktail reception on Tuesday.
Wednesday: UQ Market Day was a huge event. The four law student societies – UQLS, JATL, ALPSA and UQILS met potential new members.
Wednesday night: parents of first year students met other parents and law school staff members at Forgan Smith.
Thursday: the recipients of the LEAD scholarship met each other and their academic advisers for the first time.
Wellness at law school
Professor Sarah Derrington said the school aimed to ensure new students felt welcomed and comfortable with their teachers and peers ahead of the academic program, which was inspiring but challenging.
“Statistics show law students and professionals are at a relatively high risk of suffering depression and psychological distress,” she said.
“I want to ensure that from day one our students feel confident that they are supported and can ask for help if they need it.
“We offer a range of wellness programs to help students develop the skills to build resilience throughout their time here, skills that I trust they will be able to carry into their professional lives.
“The small cohort allows us to build personal relationships with the students and ensure they are getting the support they need and that their learning is optimal.”