Judith Latta, current Juris Doctor student, shares some insight into her student journey.
What was the motivation to study the Juris Doctor?
As a Director of Community Relations in a non-profit I was motivated by the opportunity to enhance my skills and knowledge so I could add value to the organisation.
What attracted you to RMIT?
I was working full-time, so the initial attraction to RMIT was that the lectures are conducted in the evenings and are available online. I attended a postgraduate information event and was impressed by the quality of the academic staff; those who I met were experts in their fields, great communicators and personable.
I was also attracted by the practical nature of the curriculum and the range of opportunities to gain experience through the Centre for Innovative Justice and volunteer placements.
What is the best thing about studying the Juris Doctor at RMIT?
The opportunity to mix with colleagues who are passionate and curious about their law studies and who are keen to use their knowledge of the law to make a contribution to society.
You recently completed the Mishpatim Seminar as an elective, what drew you to this seminar?
I was interested in the opportunity to study both Israeli and international law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem - a prestigious 90 year old university, whose founders include Freud and Einstein – situated high on Mount Scopus overlooking what to many is the ‘spiritual land’ of the three great monotheistic religions. A scholarship awarded by the Australian Friends of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem assisted with my tuition fees.
What advice would you offer to other students who are attending a seminar like this?
Seize the opportunity, go with open eyes, hearts and minds and give it your all.
What did you gain from the experience and did it change your views on law or on yourself?
Undertaking the Mishpatim Seminar was a highlight of my professional life.
The lecturers were international lawyers and legal academics who offered a global perspective and discourse on the Israelis achievements and challenges. The course also examined International Law and the role and challenges faced by the International Court of Justice in making decisions within a framework of competing national interests.
The Israeli Supreme Court is the country’s highest court and the judges have a proud history of fighting to maintain a separation of the powers. A watershed moment for me was listening to Justice Hanan Melcer speak about the Supreme Court’s application of ‘wisdom’ in their decision making.
Separation of powers is a doctrine worth fighting for!
My colleagues were Australian students studying postgraduate law, undergraduate law and international studies. Many of us have stayed in touch via catch-ups and a WhatsApp Group. It’s great knowing so many people in the field – all over Australia.
Personally, it gave me the confidence and self-belief that I could try something out of my comfort zone and have a sensational time.
What are your career aspirations for the future?
I’m now inspired to speed up my studies and practice as a lawyer in an area of social activism such as Consumer Law. Fighting for the rights of the ‘underdog’ may be my new calling.
Any other interesting facts or learnings from your student journey?
Oh, I forgot to mention that the food in Israel was superb; hummus, shawarma, salads, fruit, pastries, eggs and nuts. The hospitality of the Israelis was sensational – warm, friendly and appreciative that 30 Aussies had travelled across the world to learn about their achievements, challenges and aspirations.
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Story: Ainslie Logsdon