As thousands of law students resume classes, Australia’s newest law campus will open its doors for the first time.
The Australian Catholic University’s new law campus in Sydney opens today with its first intake of 110 students. Three quarters of the new students will study combined law degrees, and the remaining students are enrolled in the Bachelor of Laws course.
ACU Law Dean Professor Brian Fitzgerald said establishing the new law school had been an exciting project. “Because we’re small, we’ve got the opportunity to try different things,” he said.
In addition to the standard Priestley 11 subjects, law students at ACU are also required to study competition law, consumer protection law, international trade law, international human rights law, public and private international law, and comparative legal systems. From second year onwards, students are also required to complete 80 pro bono hours each year.
ACU’s law faculty first opened in Melbourne last year with an intake of 130 students. Professor Fitzgerald said the university had received positive feedback from students and achieved good retention rates. This year the law school in Melbourne will welcome 200 new law students, and the faculty has plans to encourage interaction between students at the Melbourne and Sydney law schools.
The new program brings the total number of Sydney law schools to seven. When asked about the difficult employment market for law graduates and whether there were already too many graduates for the number of roles available, Professor Fitzgerald said that the old assumption that law students will only go on to work as barristers or in private practice is no longer the reality, and that the faculty aimed to develop students’ skills so they can find work in a range of areas.
“Law graduates now will go in lots of different directions… we aim to prepare students for careers across the board.”
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