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Read Caitlin's acceptance speech to learn more about her School of Law journey...
"I'm so glad I have the opportunity to say a few words about how great it was to study law at Deakin.
Deakin law is very highly regarded within the legal industry, particularly among commercial law firms.
I'm currently two months into my graduate year at Corrs Chambers Westgarth and the commercial focus of Deakin's law degree definitely gave me an advantage in the highly competitive graduate recruitment market.
When I was a seasonal clerk at Corrs last year one of the Partners had a task she needed done. She asked my fellow clerk from another law school if he had studied employment law. He said no. She asked him if he had studied another relevant subject and he said no. She frowned at him and she said what have you studied?
That was the first time I really realised that Deakin's uniquely commercial degree was having a direct impact on my ability to compete with other graduates in the workplace. Deakin students study subjects coinciding with almost every practice group in a Commercial law firm today. I was able to tell that Partner that I had studied both of those relevant subjects.
Not only does this equip students with enough legal knowledge for a starting point when we get into the workplace, it means that we can make an informed decision about what areas of law we are interested in.
On top of this I also had room to study subjects like family law and human rights law which I thoroughly enjoyed. I believe that these factors combined with the emphasis put on practical experience has given me an exceptionally well-rounded legal education.
The teaching staff at Deakin deserve the highest praise. Every semester I had a new favourite lecturer. I have particular respect for those who expected a lot from their students. Lecturers should never cater to those students who expect to be spoon fed. The necessary result is a lower standard of graduates. I am so glad that there was generally refusal by lecturers to engage in this method of teaching.
Many of the academic staff have been a source of inspiration and encouragement for me in my learning and in my career. I would like to mention Oscar Roos in particular, whose passion for his legal subject matter is a true inspiration, which I hope I will be successful in emulating throughout my career.
I also extend my sincerest apologies to all Deakin exam markers and heap my praise upon their handwriting deciphering skills. It's well known now that law exams aren't just testing the students. I am astounded by how much meaning markers are able to take from what is effectively six booklets of double-spaced hieroglyphics.
Such high standards of academic staff, a thorough legal curriculum and administrative efficiency are what made studying at Deakin so rewarding. I feel so blessed that my genuine love for the law has meant that studying hard hasn't been a chore. I hope the current law students at Deakin are enjoying the course as much as I did and making the most of the edge the Deakin law degree will give them as graduates.
I'd also like to quickly take this opportunity to thank my family.
Thanks to my brother Kilian, a budding doctor, for always keeping my feet on the ground. When I told him about my award he sent me a text saying "well done. Lawyers still suck though". He has been the target of almost all of my study stress over the years and I want to thank him for his patience and support.
Thanks to Dad for being such an inspiration. He is the perfect example of the rewards to be reaped from consistent hard work. I'm not sure where I would be without his advice and motivation.
And thanks to Mum for sitting through my tears after the Equity and Trusts exam in 2010 which was so hard it's in the running for the worst three and a half hours of my life. With Mum, I always knew that if I was lying awake at night worrying about an exam, she would be lying awake worrying about me lying awake worrying about the exam. Her kind-heartedness knows absolutely no bounds and if I turn out to be half the person that she is, I will be extremely proud of myself.
It's such an honour to receive this prize tonight.
Thank you to Justice Croft and the Supreme Court, to the award sponsors, to all the guests for being here tonight and thank you to the Deakin Law School.",
Dr Julie Clarke, Acting Head of School, School of Law, Caitlin Brown and Justice Clyde Croft, Supreme Court of Victoria