I am deeply convicted by the idea that those privileged with access to education have a duty to respect this privilege by working to the best of their ability in their chosen field.
As she sees out her final days as a research assistant at the National Judicial College of Australia (NJCA), ANU College of Law graduate and University Medal recipient Naomi Wootton has reflected on how much she enjoyed studying law.
At the end of January, Naomi will take up a role as a tipstaff for the Honourable TF Bathurst, Chief Justice of New South Wales. However, when Naomi began her double degree five years ago she expected her Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Arabic and minoring Indonesian, to be her primary focus.
“I didn’t expect to like law, I thought I’d drop it and continue my BA, and then I started it and found I loved it,” she said.
“My BA ended up becoming the secondary degree instead of the primary one.”
Naomi has always been a driven student, receiving two academic scholarships – the ANU Region Scholarship and the Ethel Tory Scholarship – and working as a student editor on the Federal Law Review.
“I am deeply convicted by the idea that those privileged with access to education have a duty to respect this privilege by working to the best of their ability in their chosen field,” she said.
“I am extremely grateful to the ANU for their provision of an academic scholarship at the start of my degree which has been of enormous assistance throughout the last five years.”
ANU College of Law Dean Professor Stephen Bottomley said Naomi was an outstanding student. As well as finishing with first class honours, and receiving the University Medal, she had been named the 2016 Lawyers Weekly Australian Law Student of the Year and has twice been awarded academic prizes for achieving the highest overall results at the College.
“Not only does Naomi have an exemplary academic record, her love of the law has driven her to achieve a great deal in five short years, and become a wonderful ambassador for the ANU College of Law,” he said.
Naomi said ANU College of Law lecturers Wendy Kukulies-Smith and Pauline Bomball had been strong mentors throughout her degree, with Wendy hiring her as a research assistant on the Commonwealth Sentencing Database, and Pauline becoming her honours supervisor.
“Wendy’s been my constant confidante and Pauline was my Foundations of Australian Law tutor in the first semester of my first year,” she said.
“I had no idea what I was doing and initially thought ‘I’m so terrible at this’, but Pauline was such a fantastic tutor. I carried much of the advice she gave during those tutorials all the way through my degree.”
Wendy said Naomi had done excellent work on the Commonwealth Sentencing Database alongside her achievements in her law degree.
“She has been a fantastic research assistant whom, I am certain, is destined for great things,” she said.
“As she leaves the ANU and moves on to the next chapter of her life as the tipstaff to the Chief Justice of New South Wales, she will be greatly missed.
“I am sure that she will bring great credit to herself and the ANU College of Law with all that she does and achieves.”
Naomi said if she could go back and give advice to herself as a first-year law student it would be to seek out the avenues that bring happiness and satisfaction.
“I think it would be to worry less about resume building and more about doing things that are interesting and make you happy,” she said.
“Doing things that make you happy will inevitably make you a more interesting, well rounded person and that might actually help you get a job more easily than ticking all of the boxes you think you have to tick.”