Deakin Law School 30th anniversary

In 2022, Deakin celebrated 30 years of teaching law at Deakin. Over three decades, Deakin Law School staff, students and alumni have become an integral part of the Victorian, Australian and international law communities.

Deakin Law School launch

Deakin Law School's program launched 30 years ago in February with an address by the Chief Justice of the High Court, Sir Anthony Mason AC KBE GBM QC, in which he noted the value offered by a small school dedicated to a single area of the law – commercial law.

The focus on commercial law was supported by the school’s location in the Department of Commercial Law, Faculty of Commerce. At that time, the combined Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Laws was the default offering. The program was driven by the passion and dedication of Professor Phillip Clark, who later became the Foundation Chair in Law.

Today, led by Dean, Professor Jenni Lightowlers, Deakin Law School is a vibrant institution, still strong in its foundation of commercial law, expanding into challenging and diverse areas of public and contemporary law, and serving the community through its law clinics.

I’m proud of the legal education and experiences we provide to our students and equally proud of our scholarship and advocacy, as well as our law clinics, which provide legal support to the most vulnerable people in our society.

Professor Jenni Lightowlers

Dean, Deakin Law School

Learn from legal experts

Learn from legal experts

Dean of Law, during our 30th anniversary year and now Executive Dean of the Faculty of Business and Law, Professor Jenni Lightowlers is considered one of Australia's leading advisors to universities, both in Australia and the South Pacific. As one of Australia's few  deans practising law, her experience serves to build a bridge between the profession and both the law school and the wider faculty.

Professor Matthew Groves is one of Australia’s leading authorities on administrative law. Matthew’s book Judicial Review of Administrative Action and Government Liability is in its 7th edition and is the most cited law text in Australian Courts. He says, 'As we celebrate 30 years of Deakin Law School, I’m pleased public law is recognised as one of our strengths as it’s vital to every aspect of our lives – so it's important that Deakin stays at the forefront.'

One of the best laws schools in Victoria

Since its launch in 1992 the Deakin Law School, and its course offerings, have come to be considered one of the best in Victoria. Ranked among the top three law schools in Victoria,* Deakin Law School is also one of 31 law schools in Australia that has received Council of Australian Law Deans (CALD) certification.^

Deakin is ranked in the top 1% worldwide for law.# Deakin Law School reinforces strong links into real-world professions, equipping our law graduates for any job that uses the analytical, smart, technology-savvy, global skill set they’ve acquired.

Meet our alumni

Michele Tucker

Michele left school in Year 10, but once she knew she wanted to study law, Deakin was there. Now, as Principal Solicitor and Coordinator of the Deakin Law Clinic, she’s teaching Deakin law students.

Paul Sokolowski

Deakin law alum, Paul, now a partner at Arnold Block Liebler, thinks of himself as 'the accidental lawyer'. With Deakin Law School behind him, his career has been rich with purpose.

Jasmine Doak

Jasmine Doak studied law at Deakin in the 1990s. Now General Manager of People and Culture at Coles, Jasmine’s career has embraced law, HR and corporate governance. She looks back on her Deakin experience and its influence on her life and career.

Deakin Law School in the community

New law clinic in Geelong

The Deakin Law Clinic has operated in Melbourne since 2017 and is a community legal service providing legal advice for clients who cannot easily access legal support for financial or other reasons. On 9 May 2022, Deakin Law Clinic Geelong officially opened to provide family law support for the communities of Geelong and south-western Victoria.

Deakin Law School high school debate

The inaugural Deakin Law School high school debate was held on 26 June 2022, as part of the Deakin Law School 30th anniversary celebrations. Students from 17 schools participated; competitors were impressive with Melbourne Grammar School taking the win over Camberwell Grammar School. The event was hosted in collaboration with the Debaters Association of Victoria.

From Mabo to the Uluru Statement from the Heart

On 19 October 2022, Deakin Law School hosted a topical and informative discussion, 'From Mabo to the Uluru Statement from the Heart: Lessons learned and where to from here'. The panel event featured three prominent voices in the struggle for reconciliation, Dr Bryan Keon-Cohen AM QC, Dr Shireen Morris and Professor Mark Rose, moderated by Professor Jenni Lightowlers.

Discussion spanned the fraught road to the Mabo decision and what followed, the First Nations’ Voice to Parliament, the need for constitutional recognition of Indigenous sovereignty, alternative priorities for reconciliation, treaty negotiations and more. Our panellists conveyed a clear message: that there is a long way to go and there is much work to be done, but there is also much to hope for.

Watch the panel discussion (1:19:47)


*QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023
^Council of Australian Law Deans (CALD) 2020
#QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023

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