“Introduction to Legal Method and Reasoning” sounds like such a benign subject, but the name belies what one would usually take to be introductory. One can hardly blame it, though, for there is nothing about the law that is simple, despite what some people may say. How else to bring the fresh meat up to speed on the oncoming academic storm that will rock the boats of 350 new JD students’ lives, get them addicted to the adrenaline of studying by the seat of your pants, and leave them coming back for more?
Okay, so perhaps that last part isn’t entirely true. But what is true is that in the two weeks during which LMR was held, twelve seasoned legal veterans dispensed a righteous fury of knowledge covering case law, precedent, statute, burdens of proof, constitutionalism, statutory interpretation, the nature of the state, Kirby J dissenting (as always); and Heydon J complaining about judicial activism, from their brains to ours.
All of the essential basics of the legal world were covered, as were many particular questions relating to the materials covered. Foetuses, drink-driving on motorcycles, steroid-munchers, alcoholic loose cannon Perry getting on her scooter, alcoholic gambling naturopath Dahlia doin’ her thing, and too many Lynches. What unites these things? All of them are covered by law! All of them are, in some way, tiny little singularities that touch us all in minute, yet remarkably significant ways. Law is not just the study of right and wrong, it is also the study of the human experience in motion.
Much thanks must be given to these twelve apostles, as without their care we would not have been transformed from clean slates into the leather-bound volumes we are now, ready to have pens put to our delicate and supple- ok, this is getting a bit 50 shades if you know what I mean. But seriously, major thanks go from every class to their respective steward. Special thanks to Julian Sempill, because I’m writing this article and he was my seminar leader. Ask him about his views on the unwashed masses, or men’s fashion sometime. He’s in the know, trust me.
In addition, special sessions were run accommodating astute methods of note taking and studying, as well as plumbing the boundless depths of legal research. As a cohort, the entire 2015 entry JD class extend their thanks to our legal librarians for sharing eldritch secrets of the law school library intranet. We also cannot thank Ian Malkin, Chantal Morton, Alison Duxbury and the rest of the first-year JD pastoral team enough for all their efforts.
Perhaps the most important lesson every new student has learned regards the pace of life at law school. For most readers, this will already be an apparent fact, but I’m running out of things to write about. There’s going to be reading or reflection to do every day of each semester for the next three to four years. It’s funny to think of that clichéd saying that people in the Middle Ages read, in their lifetimes, the equivalent of what is contained in a newspaper today. How far we have come. How far we still have to go!
As a final reflection, the most valuable part of LMR was the chance to make new friends. I’ve heard it said already by a number of students I know in second year at MLS, but the friendships formed in the first year of law are ones that will likely continue well into our adult lives, as we finish our studies, start our careers, and charge forthrightly into everything life (and law) has to offer. Many of those friendships will have started with feeling slightly awkward in a classroom surrounded by a dozen or more similarly perturbed adolescents – and yet, thanks to LMR, here we are.
So, from me to everyone in the 2015 cohort and beyond: let’s do this, Leeroy Jenkins.
Mitchell Hollman is a first-year JD student at Melbourne Law School.