Many students come to law school with a strong desire to make a difference and these awards should serve as a validation of that ambition and a reminder that knowledge will set them on that path.
ANU College of Law has awarded some of the top students in its cohort at the annual Prizes Ceremony.
Dozens of prize donors including representatives from several top firms such as Clayton Utz, Meyer Vandenberg, Oracle, and King & Wood Mallesons attended the ceremony to meet and award the prizes to their outstanding recipients.
Public and community sector donors included Legal Aid ACT, the Australian Capital Territory Bar Association, the ACT Director of Public Prosecutions, and the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department and Australian Government Solicitor.
Several distinguished figures in the ACT legal community such as ACT Human Rights Commissioner Dr Helen Watchirs OAM and ACT Supreme Court Justice Richard Refshauge were also among the guests.
The prize recipients represented the best of an exceptionally bright group of ANU students and graduates but the stand-out for the ceremony was 2016 graduate Naomi Wootton, ANU University Medallist, who received six more prizes to add to her remarkable CV.
ANU Law Dean Professor Stephen Bottomley presented the event.
“Many students come to law school with a strong desire to make a difference and these awards should serve as a validation of that ambition and a reminder that knowledge will set them on that path,” he said.
“It is also a chance to give our diverse cohort a glimpse of what lies ahead. The prizes awarded each year are generously donated by ANU College of Law alumni and our friends in the legal community, who also wish to acknowledge our students’ achievements and follow their success.”
Bachelor of Laws and Juris Doctor Sub-Dean Associate Professor Amelia Simpson gave this year’s remarks, choosing the ironic but important theme of failure.
Addressing a group of people who have excelled in their studies, she spoke about the vital lessons to be learnt from failing or even being average at something.
“With my Sub-Dean hat on I’m often reminded that some lifelong 'successful' students are quite scared of being 'average' at anything,” she said.
“A preparedness to stare down ‘failure’ is actually, nowadays a valuable skill that anyone can cultivate and it’s something savvy employers are likely to go looking for in your CV.
“If you cannot quickly name other things about yourself – unrelated to study – that make you feel proud, then you need to make a conscious effort to diversify. And not just for your CVs, also for your peace of mind.”
The full list of prize donors and recipients is available in the Prizes Booklet.