Spending a week with the Chief Judge of the County Court is a law student's dream - one that came true for Kate O'Connor.
The Juris Doctor student was selected by RMIT's Centre for Innovative Justice (CIJ) to shadow the Chief Judge of the Victorian County Court, Michael Rozenes AO, for a full week.
Thrown into the drama and excitement of the court, the experience opened Ms O'Connor's eyes to the internal workings of all aspects of the judicial system.
Among all the activities of the court, she saw one trial through from start to finish, as well as the highly publicised sentencing of one of Victoria's most notorious paedophiles, former priest Gerald Ridsdale.
"The Chief Judge communicated the complex legal issues (around the sentencing) to a room largely full of non-lawyers with a sense of sensitivity and sympathy. It is a job I do not envy," Ms O'Connor said.
"As a result of my week at the court I have entirely reconsidered the future direction of my legal career.
"When I began the JD at RMIT I had modest ambitions to be a solicitor working behind the scenes, but now I want to go to the bar and be a part of the action, the front line of the law."
Director of the CIJ, Adjunct Professor Rob Hulls, said the experience Ms O'Connor had at the Court was invaluable.
"When students get real experience of what happens in our courts it is life-changing," he said.
"They see where their passions can take them, and how they can contribute to making a difference to people's lives."
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