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There’s no such thing as a ‘typical’ JD student

JD block letters

Us JD students are a random bunch. We come from all walks of life and often have strange and wonderful stories about to how we ended up in law school.

My undergrad studies took the form of a science degree where I focused heavily on drug design and pharmacology. However, mid-way through I realised I was better suited to reading books than wearing gloves and delving into organs… so after graduating I enrolled in law.

With many universities adding Juris Doctor courses to their selection of law courses, and some moving to a JD-only model, the number of JD students in Australia has risen in recent years.

A Juris Doctor student usually studies all year round, completing at least eight or nine subjects a year, while also working full time or close to full time. Many decided to undertake a postgraduate law degree to increase their career options.

But that’s where the similarities end. The JD students you share classes with are anywhere from about 22 to 92 years old, and unlike the well-worn path from high school to an LLB, there’s no typical pathway to the JD.

The students I share classes with range from a very personable paramedic to a professional musician who rocks a ponytail and is passionate about defending the property of music. Then there’s a graphic designer who previously worked for Kraft, a grandmother of twelve, and two mums who coordinate their class timetables around when their partners can babysit. Then there’s a restaurant owner with a remarkable memory for cases, a handful of arts grads, a nurse, a Legal Aid receptionist and several overly stressed, briefcase-in-hand men who walk into most classes looking far too serious.

While we have very different backgrounds, our law school experiences are much like those of LLB students. We’re also grappling with the Priestly 11 subjects, have the same law student quirks, share the same problems, and are driven crazy by that annoying student who repeats exactly what the tutor said.

Despite looking like the thrown together cast of Community, sharing classes with a broad range of people really does help to make study interesting. Plus a tax law study group is much easier when a few group members are commerce graduates who majored in accounting.

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