Volume 19, Issue 12
Week 12 can be a brutal time at the Melbourne Law School. Some lucky students begin their QUIET retreat to beach houses in Noosa, Portsea, or Byron Bay for “some quiet space.”
But for the unwashed masses, it must suffice to allow the filth to pile up our living rooms and kitchens as we begin to bury ourselves in practice exams.
Of course, De Minimis’ offices are no exception to this filth – and I am not talking about the stuff we publish on our website.
Deep within our subterranean lair beneath the university, the palest and thinnest among us – starved from any sort of nutritious eating – have become near-indistinguishable from the white rats.
But that’s okay. Unlike holding a position of leadership within a socially valuable enterprise – like the LSS – the best part about being a columnist is that one does not need to show one’s face.
Come to think of it, even the term ‘columnist’ seems a bit far-fetched; a journalistic bid for respect from perhaps the least self-respecting writers within the student body.
But alas, here we are. It is a cold Thursday morning. The law school edges towards exams. The city towards lockdown.
And I have nothing else to write.
See you on the other side, friends!
The views in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of De Minimis or its Editors.
Volume 19, Issue 12
Silent tears under a fitted mask
Why don’t you become a pirate instead
Or an Egyptologist, like you dreamed when you were nine?
Though now you don’t even know who you are without the
Vacant, purple-rimmed eyes
After midnight, writing bad acrostic poems as therapy and
Carving out alternate realities on the phone in the palm of your hand
- Person X
Volume 19, Issue 12
A first year student, Daniel Kaffee, has experienced what he describes as a “moment of enlightenment” this week at the law building. Not usually known as an ideal place for meditative reflection and enlightenment, the rarity of such an event led De Minimis to immediately dispatch reporters to learn what happened.
Not having let the experience go to his head at all, Daniel described the phenomenon as “a conversation with God himself, like he was speaking directly to me. I totally understand what Moses must have felt, to have experienced such raw divinity and majesty.”
So, what was the revelation Daniel was selected to hear?
Volume 19, Issue 11
Dear Regretful on Royal Parade,
In the words of our Lord and Saviour, DJ Khaled - Congratulations, you’ve played yourself. You’ve cooked this semester so brutally a college fresher is impressed. And to think if you’d just read my study tips in Week 4 this whole thing could’ve been avoided. Never fear though, I’ve always been attracted to hopeless cases so you’re in good hands.
First things first, ‘work smart’ is going to become your life. You do not have time to panic. If you must, a quick cry while showering is allowed, but otherwise remain on task. No use beginning the readings and lectures from Week One and just plodding through as if you have 3 months, you don’t, you have less than 3 weeks. Some serious efficiency is required.
What you’re going to do is set a timer for 2 hours. Right now – like your Year 9 English teacher, I’ll wait. Ok good. Now that the clock is running, open Canvas, the website you haven’t visited since March. For each of your subjects you’re going to get the subject outline with your list of topics to study and put them in some kind of word doc/table/list situation. Aesthetics are not important, as long it makes sense to you. Under each big topic you’re going to break it down even smaller. A simple example would be ‘Agreement’ in Obligations, split into Offer and Acceptance. Again, they’re your subjects so do it in a way that makes sense to you. Under each of those headings you’re going to list the cases and statute referenced as “required” on the reading list. Repeat for all subjects.
Now you effectively have a one- or two-page to-do list for each subject, you need to work out when it's getting done. Sit down in front of a calendar, write in your exam and any other non-negotiable time sucks between now and then e.g. week 12 classes, work, etc. Look at the gaps and slot in your subjects in Morning and Afternoon sessions. For example, Obligations in the Morning one day, Torts in the afternoon with a break in the middle. Once that is all laid out, block out the last 2 slots of each subject to do practice papers. Whatever is left is your note-making time.
Volume 19, Issue 11
Start at 1.01
It has come to my attention that this semester will be the first time the first and second year JD cohorts will be able to study for exams on campus. I’m sure many of us intend to take advantage of the law building to escape our freezing cold sharehouses or noisy younger siblings. I am also aware that a great many of us third years are wary of what this migration into the building entails. We feel it important to inform the younger cohorts of how things are done.
You see, prior to COVID there were many rules governing the study spaces at MLS, rules that I fear will be lost to history if left unaddressed. Level 1 and 2 seating is fair game for everyone, including other faculties. The Mezzanine is for social study, complete with frequent coffee runs and meal breaks. And then there is level 3. The law library is for silent study. The JD study space is for JD students to use for silent study. You can do as you wish in other parts of the building, but the JD space is our space, and we all need to be on the same page about how we’ll use it.
I’m sure we’ve all heard the silence rule by now. The law library staff certainly noticed the shift in attitude towards, or perhaps lack of awareness of, this rule compared with March 2020. They kindly asked us in an email dated 11th May 2021 that “[we] respect this rule and ensure [we] do not have discussions (study-related or otherwise) in the [level 3] study space.” I am here to tell you that they have phrased this mildly. This is no joking matter. We must all be silent in the level 3 study space. It is a mandate. This rule is not limited to talking, it includes chip-munching, paper-rustling, drink-slurping, and especially the party-inducing volumes of Dua Lipa pumping through some students’ AirPods.
One of my final memories of the law building before the world collapsed was of a girl sitting in the far back corner of the level 3 space. You know the one, that seat that that one guy, my dear friend, always sits in. She had her laptop open in full view of the rest of the room and we all stared at the powerhouse of the cell spliced open on her screen. We were mortified that some first year science student had been allowed into the space, but worse, we were furious with whoever had let her in. I cannot believe that this has to be said. The JD space is for JD students. If they can’t swipe in, they must stay out. Doesn’t get much clearer than that.
“Rebecca, who cares? It’s not that deep, move on with your life.”
Volume 19, Issue 11
The LSS Special General Meeting (SGM) was on the 5th of May. De Minimis has written this short account of what went down, if you couldn’t make it on the night. A number of proposals were voted on. A copy of all proposed changes will be appended to the end of this article.
The meeting barely maintained quorum throughout, at one point having to be briefly paused when a poor internet connection saw attendance drop below the minimum-required thirty Members present. The motion to change membership requirements passed easily, despite it coming out that the Masters Last Students’ Association had not been consulted about the change. However, the proposal to merge the Environments portfolio with Equity and Social Justice (ESJ) failed to get up. It was obvious that the Leadership Team (LT) had thought carefully about the change, but it still faced significant questions regarding the effects it would have on service delivery, including from a current ESJ Director.
Volume 19, Issue 10
In bad news for MLS parents, a young clerk’s existing family have been superseded this week, it can be confirmed. De Minimis has independently verified reports that Ray Goopta, the supervising partner of MLS student Virginia Hallifax, has informed the young woman that the firm is her family now.
‘We’re all a family here,’ Mr. Goopta is reported to have said, ‘so if you need anything at all, please just tap the call button on your electronic collar.’ He later added, ‘your appointed sleeping cell is on level B4.’
The celebrated commercial law firm had not previously released any indication that they intended to expand their business into fostering young lawyers, stealing a march on their competitors. Industry analysts say that taking in young students and graduates, and forcing them to sleep on premises as a legal ward of the firm, has the potential to increase productivity.
‘You know, I kind of figured Ray meant it as a figure of speech, at first,’ Ms. Hallifax told De Minimis, ‘but he’s just handed me these adoption papers…which have already been approved by the court.’ She seemed a little put out that the papers in question refer to her as ‘mentally incompetent’, insisting she had graduated third in her MLS corps class. Whatever her opinion on the matter, law firm Helter Smith Skelter is now the official legal guardian of Ms. Hallifax (26).
The new direction of the commercial legal industry has come under fire from human rights lawyer and long-haired hippy Geoffrey Robertson, who has alleged the young lawyers in the Helter Smith Skelter (HSS) basement are housed in ‘inhumane, cramped conditions’.
Volume 19, Issue 10
Those who answer every single question in class have announced they will partner with those who stay silent and pretend to be writing notes to avoid answering to pressure lecturers to, “stop asking so many damn questions,” by the end of 2021.
According to the answerers, this decision was motivated by, “just feeling bad for flexing my extensive legal knowledge,” and, “making those silent noobs look stupid every week.” A spokesperson for the borderline silent monks said that, “This really benefits everyone. I swear we know the answers every time, we just don’t feel the need to be so arrogant by answering every single question that’s asked like our more talkative friends.”
The leader of the ‘How else can I prove I’m smart and not an imposter if I don’t answer every question’ party has expressed concern over this initiative, stating, “It’s just not fair. The whole class needs to know that I know the answer. They need to see me as smarter than them. Answering questions is what I live for.”
Members of the ‘Wait, you guys actually go to class?’ party have shown overwhelming support for the initiative citing, “Well I mean, it’s not like I show up anyway. I already feel superior enough by not wasting my time in those classes,” as a key motivator. However, it is extremely unlikely the alternatively named ‘I can just get the notes from one of those stupid attenders’ party will be bothering to provide any meaningful support for the partnership.
The impact of the partnership long-term is currently unknown, but as all parties are confident they are superior to the others, the viability of the partnership remains doubtful.
More to come.
Tim is a first-year student.
This week's winner of De Minimis' 'Articles Against Real News' competition wins a $50 book voucher.
Why are women absent from Melbourne Law School’s upcoming ‘conversation’ about sexual assault in the legal sector?
As a law student, I have attended countless MLS events. Normally, they are enlightening and distinguished.
But, when I recently received an email promoting a conversation on sexual assault in the legal sector, I was shocked by the sole listed presenter – The Hon Kenneth Hayne AC QC.
Hayne is a formidable judge, and I would not blink an eye if this event had him speaking to one of his areas of expertise – the Banking Royal Commission, for example.
However, he is not someone who has demonstrated expertise or experience of sexual assault. Nor, is he someone that has been victimised by the glass ceiling, or boys’ club mentality rife in the legal profession. In fact, Hayne has explicitly benefitted from these things. His marriage to Michelle Gordon, whom he met when she was his instructing solicitor 20 years his junior, validates and encourages the culture of senior men making advances on young lawyers. It has clearly worked out for this so-called “power-couple”, but the vast majority of older men who hit on their younger female colleagues do so unwelcomed, and it turns into sexual harassment or assault far too often.
Why did MLS think it was a good idea to have a conversation about sexual assault in the legal profession, but have the sole presenter be a man, and someone with the seniority and background of Kenneth Hayne at that? People with structural power should not be the voices we give a platform to when it comes to discussing issues which overwhelmingly affect those without structural power. Women make up the vast majority of sexual assault victims, and men make up the vast majority of offenders. This appointment reinforces the sexism in the legal profession that gives rise to sexual assault, while piggybacking off sexual assault victims’ trauma. It is virtue signalling at its most transparent.
Volume 19, Issue 9
If you have a burning question you’d like our Learned Friend to answer, fill out the google form under the “Your Learned Friend” tab on the De Minimis website.
Dear Dripping in Distress
While there is nothing wrong with being proud to be an MLS student, wearing merch off campus is the uni equivalent of being the high school prefect who wore their badges off duty (you know who you are). It sends the message that you eat, sleep and breathe law school. Reading statute is your one true joy in life. You can name all High Court Justices 12 standards in on a Friday night. You are one set of Invisalign away from the veneer-like porcelains that will get you your own brochure feature on the JD handbook. If this is the image you wish to put out there, then by all means. If you’d like to cultivate a less MLS-centric personality though, maybe consider reaching for a different grey hoodie.
I get it – it’s week 9, exams are looming and laundry baskets spilling. However, wearing MLS merch outside your own house is only going to make things worse. It’s one thing to feel like you’re on the verge of breaking down, it’s another to openly broadcast it. Wearing MLS merch at uni sends the message of “I’m hanging onto this degree by a thread, and that thread is mostly polyester.”
Volume 19, Issue 9
Gale Galderon is in a bit of trouble.
The self-described intellectual cowboy should have learnt his lesson on the last exam he failed, but Gale is quite sure that this time he has all the answers.
Well, technically the answers are not his. He says that’s beside the point.
“Tap tap tap. Scribble scribble scribble. That white noise you hear in every class of people taking notes. Don’t you just hate it? What’s the point when I can just use someone else’s notes for the exam? Half the effort for twice the reward. [REDACTED] made the best notes anyway. My classmates can keep their carpal tunnel, the suckers.”
De Minimis writers, renowned for our faithfulness to high moral standards, made sure to warn the young student that his strategy was likely to put him in the Academic Misconduct Committee’s crosshairs – but he could not be deterred.