As one chapter ends, another begins

A little over two years ago I shared with you my joy at being accepted into the Master of Laws (LLM) program at the University of Sydney. I’m happy to report that a little over a week ago I received notification that I had completed my final subject, meaning all things going well I should graduate in the next ceremony later this year. Woooohooooo!

The LLM is the main reason I’ve been particularly quiet on here the last couple of years, as outside of work and exercise I was doing very little apart from studying. I like to think all the hard work paid off, as the lowest mark I received was 79, and my average mark across all subjects was just under 84:

LLM subject results

LLM results

Was the LLM as enjoyable as I thought it would be? Absolutely, although it wasn’t without its challenges.

On the plus side I loved the selection of subjects (some 150 in total) that the University of Sydney offers to LLM students (and if that isn’t enough to satisfy you there is always the option of cross-institutional study). The quality of lecturers was first-class, and the class sizes small enough that I found them really interactive and engaging. On the negative side, and this is more of a personal thing, I felt a lot of stress, pressure and anxiety to perform well, and to perform consistently across all my subjects. Part of this is simply wanting to do my best and push myself, but in the back of my mind there was always the realisation that the graduate lawyer market in Australia is very competitive at the moment and that if I wanted to have any chance of getting a job in law I would need to do well.

Have I done enough to secure a job in law? Have all the years of study, stress and pressure been worth it? I don’t know, as it will only be in the next couple of months that I begin to seriously look for a new job in the hope of following my passion and changing careers, so watch this space! 🙂

To assist in my job-hunting prospects I recently became an accredited mediator. For those who aren’t familiar, mediation is a largely informal process in which an independent third-party (the mediator) assists parties to identify issues in dispute, develop options, consider alternatives and (hopefully) reach agreement. Mediation is great because it empowers parties to resolve their own disputes, and is generally far less expensive, time-consuming or stressful for parties compared to going to court.

I decided to become an accredited mediator because mediation is increasingly becoming a mandatory part of many pre-trial procedures, meaning that before you even step foot in a courtroom you must have made a genuine attempt at resolving your dispute through mediation (or some other form of alternative dispute resolution).

Becoming an accredited mediator is not a particularly difficult process (a 5-day workshop followed by a video assessment), and the skills that you develop can be used across a wide variety of disputes, not just those that would otherwise end up in court! For further information on mediation or becoming an accredited mediator please see this website. A great book on interests-based negotiating (central to the mediation process) is ‘Getting to Yes‘ by Roger Fisher, William Ury and Bruce Patton.

That’s about it for now. What will I be doing with all my free time now that I’m not studying? Well for a start I’ll be spending a lot of time reading for personal enjoyment. Over the past two years I’ve collated a list of about 100 books I want to read (here for those curious). Other than that I’m looking forward to exercising more and importantly getting back into photography – just wandering the streets, documenting the world as it unfolds in front of me, and of course sharing the results on here! 🙂

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