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Cite as: December 2009 83(12) LIJ, p.15


Melbourne Law School is seeking more mentors for its Juris Doctor (JD) graduate law students.

Under the Law School’s mentoring program, launched this year, first year JD students are given the opportunity to meet with a mentor. Students indicate their interests and are then “partnered” with mentors in legal practice, on the Bench, or working in policy formation and other legal roles.

Melbourne Law School Associate Dean (JD) Associate Professor Pip Nicholson said the Law School’s alumni had been a wonderful source of mentors but increasing numbers of students meant more would be needed in the next few years.

“We are eager to hear from those who would like to be a mentor,” she said. “The generosity with which people have offered to mentor this year has been inspiring, and we hope other mentors will join us in guiding the next generation of law graduates.”

Associate Professor Nicholson noted that many law students grew up without knowing any lawyers or law graduates personally.

“While students have access to a specialist careers office and faculty members to advise them, mentors are an invaluable source of advice,” she said.

In developing the JD program, the Melbourne Law School explicitly sought to build bridges for students to meet with law graduates. The mentoring program has been a great way for students to gain real understanding of the legal environment.

Associate Professor Nicholson said acting as a mentor was not an onerous obligation.

“It is a very informal arrangement. We encourage the student to work well with their mentor. It is a great way for students to receive advice about how to make the most of their law school experience.”

The Melbourne Law School is also developing an outreach program aimed at prospective students from rural and regional areas. It is hoped this will eventually help bolster retention of lawyers in country practices.

“We think there are potential students in these areas who may never have considered studying law, and particularly graduate law leading to admission to practice, and we want to reach out to them,” Associate Professor Nicholson said.

For more information about the mentoring program, contact Helen Green on ph 8344 1000 or by email h.green@unimelb.edu.au.

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