Volume 20, Issue 8
I am writing this piece in my personal capacity as a third year student at MLS, not the Managing Editor of this frivolous paper.
This piece is inspired by a comment from ‘DM Editor From Years Gone By’ on the recent ‘You Cannot Be Pro Brain and Pro De Minimis’ article. For those who didn’t see it, the comment essentially laments the decline in quality of De Minimis and calls on students to join the editorial team to rectify the ‘low effort year’ of the 2021 committee. This prompted me to reflect on what De Minimis actually was in ‘years gone by’ and how it has become what it is today.
The paper began in 1948 and dissolved in the late 60s/early 70s. In that time it evolved from being a news bulletin for the staff and students to becoming a gossip-driven, scandal-ridden magazine. The paper was revived in 2012 and has been in operation ever since. In 2019, my first year at MLS, I noticed that this revived version of the paper had slowly but surely inched closer to the controversial gossip tabloid of the late 60s. When COVID-19 came banging on the world’s door and the paper could only operate online, this direction only escalated. When I joined the committee I wanted to start this year by publishing an array of pieces from the archives to give students an idea of what the paper has been like in the past. If you head to the February 2021 archive you’ll be able to read those articles for yourself. I hoped displaying those older pieces would inspire students to get involved and contribute. This somewhat worked.
At present De Minimis has a team of five fantastic regular contributors: a satirist, media reviewer, current affair reporter, everyones’ Dear Learned Friend, and more recently, a wannabe astrologer. It has been my pleasure to get to know these people and work with them to produce the bread and butter of the paper. They have written on the Family Court merger, given advice to anxious clerkship applicants, and commended MLS for securing the latest season of The Walking Dead thanks to its ability to produce zombie-like students. De Minimis also has an insightful podcast, with recent interviews from Julian Burnside QC on public interest advocacy and Scott Stephenson on constitutional law.
So, what about The Other Stuff? Why is it that everyone I approach is not interested in sharing their nuanced opinions and the only students submitting work do so via auto-generated gmail accounts? I am not here to discuss any pieces in particular. I am instead interested in how the trend towards the inflammatory came about.
The most obvious cause I can see is precedent. Again, my cohort came to know De Minimis as the controversial paper that prompted heated discussions between classes or over a round of beers at PAs. This reaction was mitigated in part by seeing physical copies around the law building that also displayed lighthearted comics and satire, as well as people having the opportunity to talk to the editors face to face. Having a human to confront tends to increase peoples’ ability to give constructive criticism instead of writing anonymous comments to no one in particular. Since COVID lockdowns have almost completely destroyed the collegiality MLS is famous for, De Minimis has been reduced to a website where readers can be more selective about engaging with certain pieces over others. No more Kirby comic next to an anti-LGBT law firm hit piece.
Another cause is likely the state of our lovely little world. Try as we might to bring joy to MLS, staff and students alike are struggling mentally and emotionally. I remember during my time as one of the MULSS Education Directors in 2020 we received a couple of particularly mean-spirited emails from staff members who were clearly not coping well with the pandemic pressure. At present my friends and I are constantly anxious and exhausted. The desire to air any complex opinions on current affair topics is weak to non-existent. Anger and frustration reign supreme.
And finally, I hypothesise that the function of the De Minimis of the past has been replaced by meme groups. Why read about double-speeding a lecture in your university paper when Dank Law Memes posted about it two months ago? We’re going elsewhere for our laughs, and with a plethora of enriching legal and current affair critiques flooding our screens 24/7, there are plenty of other places people may wish to have their opinions published.
Well, as James Wilkinson wonderfully and completely unsolicitedly articulated, nothing would bring me greater joy than having the student body contribute. Remy Marshall’s response to Publius would have been another fine example of the back and forth debate that De Minimis used to publish had she chosen to send it to us. Of course being the new MULSS president, for which I congratulate her immensely, I understand why she chose the MULSS-produced Purely Dicta platform instead.
On a more personal note, I appreciate any criticisms you may wish to discuss with me. I guarantee there is very little you could say that would hurt my feelings. Even better, I would love to hear from anyone interested in taking over De Minimis in 2022 and talk about the future direction of the paper. I will endeavour to read the comments on this article, but I admit that I too am exhausted and will be channeling my energy into interim assessments rather than refreshing the website. If you’d like a more personable conversation, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line ‘to the dogs’.
Wishing you all a restorative mid-sem break,
Volume 20, Issue 8
Unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances the third article for this week will be postponed. Instead, De Minimis thought it would re-publish an example of the 2012 publication for students to draw inspiration from:
Volume 20, Issue 8
Dear Nosy in the Neighbourhood,
This is going to be short and not so sweet: whether your friend is or is not breaking lockdown rules is not your business, plain and simple.
If you feel more comfortable asking an online rag about your friend’s activity than your friend, you’re probably not that close. Putting aside the million compliant explanations – the person could be the partner’s roommate, she moved house, her relationship status has changed, she’s providing caregiving – even if she is bending the rules, it’s not your place to do anything.
While it is appropriate to report some breaches, such as massive house parties or someone breaching quarantine while infectious, this is not one of those cases. Melbourne has spent in excess of 220 days in lockdown. Is this an anti-lockdown piece? No. Am I saying it’s ok to break the rules? Also no. However, given the situation, shouldn’t we be understanding, kind and forgiving to those around us rather than pointing the finger? And this goes for neighbours and strangers, let alone someone you consider a ‘friend’.
Lockdown boredom gets the best of all of us but try baking bread or rewatching Tiger King before playing “Real-life Stasi Simulator”.
Your Learned Friend
The views in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of De Minimis or its Editors.
Through the course of my JD so far, De Minimis has been plagued by submissions which incite racism, sexism, and perhaps worst of all, the big-brained centrist “think”-piece that was “The Woke Oblivion.”
It is a testimony to the privilege of some at this law school that they see nothing wrong with speaking first on topics they know little about. This became obvious to me with “You Cannot Be Pro Choice and Pro Vaccine Mandate,” which couldn’t have had stronger “cis male speaking out of turn” energy if its author used the piece to announce their running for elected office with the Liberal Party.
The issue here is the prevalence of works which do little to promote constructive thought. We see too many articles which betray privilege; treating major issues as mere semantic curiosities, rather than considering the experiences of real people.
Before we proceed, yes, I have one of those privileged standpoints. If you’ve ever managed to peer through the blinding glare of my pale skin, you’d know that. I’m another cis white man with something to say. But the purpose of this article isn’t to play saviour or speak for anyone else. It’s to reflect on the state of this publication. We need more of the student body to bring forward their experiences and perspectives. We need more thought-provoking pieces, more witty zingers and satire, more high-quality discussions and debate in this publication. Don’t get me wrong. There’s plenty of articles published by this masthead that I’ve loved reading, and that they have published works polemic enough to inspire this chronically lazy student to write something is to the editorial team’s credit. Still, I don’t think the dogged “neutrality” claimed by them in publishing certain submissions, to the point of having to endure external probes into racial discrimination, is actually very neutral at all.
So what are we, the incensed law school public, to do about this state of affairs? It seems to me that we represent the overwhelming majority. Should the LSAT test what it’s supposed to, we are supposed to be rationally minded, intelligent people, and rationally minded, intelligent people tend to be upset when their law school, or an aspect thereof, represents values misaligned with their own. Furthermore, rationally minded, intelligent people tend not to propagate values such as vaccine scepticism, racism, or “anti-political correctness” (which, as far as I can tell, really means being anti making others feel comfortable, and anti allowing those who have not enjoyed as easy a life as you to join your elite spaces).
Volume 20, Issue 7
This semester especially might have left you in a bit of a health and wellbeing funk, instead giving way to Uber Eats dinners and laps around the fridge. If you start to put in the work to get a sustainable routine going for the rest of the semester, you’ll see excellent results both physically and academically.
This week should herald in a big confidence boost to get you passionate about the rest of semester, especially if you’ve been pining over a certain someone. Go get ‘em. Don’t let yourself be overwhelmed by your insecurities or fear of failure, it’s time to be bold.
If your work from home space has been feeling old and tired, now is the time for an overhaul. You’ll likely find you have ideas for more refreshing ways to go about your work and study routines, just make sure you plan out your changes before doing anything drastic. Start small if you need to.
You might have met some cool new people this semester and want to be better friends, be confident and organise that zoom call. As for cool new ideas for your summer, tread carefully, you don’t want to overload yourself with full-time clerkships while also pursuing passion projects.
It’s time to manifest that money baby, bring those financial goals into focus and kickstart that idea you’ve had. This is especially true if you’ve lost work due to the lockdown, have another look over your resume and apply apply apply, you’re about to have a much better time finding work or a side hustle.
You might feel like you’re been taking on too many obligations as of late and are putting other people way ahead of yourself. It’s time to throw all that to the side and focus on yourself and your near future. Think about what you truly want out of the rest of semester and shoot for that goal.
A lack of mid-semester break in the middle of semester is tough Virgo, but don’t let that personal pain you’re occupied with get you stuck in a study rut. This is your sign to seek professional help if you’re struggling to process intense emotions or a difficult situation.
If you’re taking a subject with any kind of group assessment or a project outside of your studies, now is the time to reach out and get those going. Lucky for you, being online is going to help your group dynamic, since making small talk in person isn’t exactly your jam.
Your power is in business right now. If those clerkships or job applications aren’t coming through for you, this is the time to be manifesting your own career direction. Talk to people outside of the law school box and test some fresh ideas you have about what your employment path might look like into 2022.
You might have been stewing over your true feelings and perspectives in the first half of semester, it’s time to express them. There’s an interesting JD opportunity that will pique your interest and present itself to you in the next couple of weeks. Take a risk and apply.
If you’re in a relationship, now is the time to put off your responsibilities and interim study sessions and spend some quality time with your lover. Your relationship and results will be better for it. If you’re single, you might begin forming an unexpected connection with someone in your class.
You might be feeling tensions in your personal relationships, especially those you live with. It’s time to have a talk about some boundaries, especially with those who don’t appreciate that you’re trying to study a full-time course in the middle of an especially draining lockdown. This will be difficult but absolutely necessary for your exam success this semester.
Volume 20, Issue 7
A 23-year-old JD student has reportedly sat through a two-hour Corporations Law lecture in just one hour.
The Melbourne Law School student, Tammy Thomas, launched into lecture capture like a bat out of hell this past Monday.
“You might think I have broken the laws of space and time, but no. I am just clever enough to have discovered this lifehack,” Tammy told De Minimis when our reporter sat her down for a chat.
“You see, us JD students are busy enough as it is. Sometimes I wonder if I’m the first person in my family to truly understand what that means. Anyway, that’s besides the point – these online lectures are totally boring. If you amp them up to x2 play speed, you will save half your time. It’s simple maths, really.”
However, Tammy’s housemate is not so convinced.
“I don’t know what the #$%^ she thinks he’s doing,” Hayley told us this morning.
“Playing lectures at that speed is just ridiculous. There’s no way she can hear a thing that’s being said. Half the time, it just sounds like some sort of robotic cult chant is blaring from his room. And even if she could make sense of the words themselves, Tammy is way too slow to keep up. I know that for a fact.”
Tammy did not seem bothered when we asked her about this later in the day.
“Sure, I might not understand every last thing that’s being said. But who cares - the important part is that I’m watching all the lectures. No matter how they look, when my grades come back in December, nobody will be able to say Tammy Thomas didn’t try her best.”
More to come.
Icarus is a first year JD student
Volume 20, Issue 7
Since the Texan legislature passed their ‘Fetal Heartbeat’ abortion legislation last week, I’ve had to endure a bunch of cringy takes from classmates cosplaying as Americans. As much as Texas is beginning to resemble a ‘shithole state’, the sky remains safely above our heads in Melbourne.
The dry, uninteresting observation that almost none of us have any connection to Texas whatsoever didn’t prevent ‘my body my choice’ from swamping my Instagram feed. I found this tiresome, precisely because I agree with it; precisely because we all agree with it. Pretending that you are part of the thin red line holding the breach against the Victorian Taliban is annoying. It minimises the real courage of women in the American South, and a hundred other places besides, who face the very real prospect of their bodies being taken from them.
Here, bodily autonomy is sacrosanct.
Bodily autonomy, of course, is the fundamental right which abortion recognises. It is a foundational premise of our law. Ironic then, that many of the people who vocally support this principle when it pertains to overseas abortion rights, are also those in favour of vaccine mandates right here at home. The two are weird co-travellers in the left-wing political space I inhabit.
Volume 20, Issue 6
Featured in Upcoming Movies Part #1, yours truly had previously written the following in anticipation of the film: “Will you know the entire plot of the movie if you watch the trailer? Probably, but nonetheless it’ll be a likely effective and heart-warming film.” Boy oh boy is that selling this film short.
CODA is an acronym for a Child of Deaf Adults, and the protagonist of the film is the hearing daughter of a Deaf family, with Deaf parents and a Deaf sibling. All the deaf roles are, thankfully, portrayed by deaf actors, with Oscar winner Marlee Matlin (West Wing, Children of a Lesser God) and Troy Kotsur portraying the parents, and relative newcomer Daniel Durant as the brother. Understandably, this results in roughly 40% of the dialogue of the film being spoken in American Sign Language. The family operate a fishing boat and are heavily reliant on their hearing and high school aged daughter, Ruby, to successfully manage the boat, their income, and their wider lives. Ruby is played by the delightful Emilia Jones, a 19-year-old British actress who spent nine months learning ASL for the film. Unfortunately, Ruby has a true passion in the form of singing, leading to conflict with her family over both her and the family’s future.
There are some faults with this film. As alluded to initially, if you know the premise, and the fact that to some extent this is a coming of age film, you may be able to reliably predict the entirety of the plot. Furthermore, the film was produced for the relatively low figure of $10 million, meaning the production and general quality of the filmmaking does struggle at times, with the film looking quite ‘Netflix generic teen movie like.’ Quite frankly, these faults are absolutely and completely irrelevant for the simple reason this film will kill you with how heart-warming it is. Is the film trying to exploit your emotions with a generic plot you’ve seen before? Yes. Does it succeed in doing this? Overwhelmingly. Prepare the tear ducts because they’ll be fucking emptied. It might be overstating things to say that this film is a soul-cleanser, but I do truly believe that it achieves exactly that. It’s the exact type of thing that a cynical and borderline depressed law student needs to fight on another day.
Considering the media, culture, and Hollywood’s long-established association with representing minority voices and perspectives (sarcasm), it’s fantastic to see a recent appreciation for deaf stories in films such as CODA and The Sound of Metal. As mentioned earlier, and without turning this into a Sound of Metal hate piece, a key difference between the films is that CODA exclusively features deaf actors portraying Deaf characters. In my humble opinion, this is greatly advantageous for CODA, as the deaf actors bring a depth to their performances unavailable to those who are incapable of truly connecting with Deaf characters. This enhances not only the conventional acting, but it adds an extra element and extra flair for the Deaf characters of an individualised and adapted means of ‘speaking’ their dialogue through their sign language. That is, the way the sign language is ‘spoken’ changes to reflect the moods and thoughts of the characters in what I imagine must be a heavily authentic manner.
While 40% of the dialogue is in sign language, this presents the same difficulties as watching a subtitled foreign film, and by that I mean none. The acting of the sign language further makes this no barrier at all, as the abilities of the deaf actors to portray their characters emotions and thoughts results that in large sections the subtitles are borderline not even necessary. As outlined, our protagonist has an affinity for singing, and consequently the success of the movie arguably entirely hinges on whether said singing is of impressive quality. Thankfully, the voice of (I assume) actress Emilia Jones is fantastic, which strongly enlivens and heightens the stakes of the film, only causing more tears as it progresses towards the finale. So, if you love musicals you’ll really love this film, and even if you don’t you’ll still really love this film.
If the film didn’t catch me in my feelings as much as it did, I would be willing to write more about the fact it’s a remake of a French film. Furthermore, there is much to be said about a tech goliath like Apple potentially trying to enhance its image through filling a streaming service with as much deeply popular heart-warming material as it can get its hands on, however again I don’t care (which is probably exactly what Apple wants).
The film’s simply great. It’s only available on Apple TV+, and you can get a free trial to watch it and avoid paying. Do yourself a favour and chuck it on.
Tim is a First Year Student
Volume 20, Issue 6
Dear Qualified and Questioning,
Following on from last week, if you want to be a lawyer you will be a lawyer. If your only motivation for transitioning out of the space entirely is being worried no one will want you, that is a trash call. Being unwanted never stopped a single man named Jared, Nick, or Sam, why should it stop you? Shamelessly slide into those HR rep DMs with a ‘so we linking up or what?’ until you get your foot in the door.
If you really are done, there are of course options. Let’s not forget, you’ve got a whole undergrad to fall back on – you could dust that baby off and take her to market. The market probably won’t want her, but worth a shot. Otherwise, just sign up for another masters or PhD to prolong this problem for another couple years.
If the former isn’t an option (rip Arts kids) and the latter makes you want to vom, there are plenty of law-related jobs out there. Which one to target largely depends on what drew you to study law in the first place. Wanted to make a morally questionable amount of money? Have people go ‘wow that’s interesting’ when you tell them what you do? Help others (while getting paid and not having to interact with the public)? If you can figure out what the initial draw is, you can find out which avenue to go down to meet those needs.
Are you a massive wanker with a huge yet fragile ego? Politics or journalism could be the go.
Enjoy making money and doing glorified busywork? Consulting or some other Big4 circle jerk.
Hate yourself and want to bring others down to your level? Human resources or recruitment.
Like helping others, but mostly want a cushy 9 to 5 with decent pay? Government or policy making.
Want to actually help others and plan to live in a sharehouse until you’re 35? Advocate or community worker.
Are you a massive nerd, obsessed with the law, and billables make you nauseous? Academic or judge’s associate.
None of these hitting? There are a million jobs that don’t require a degree at all, or you can start studying around the med school during SWOTVAC and secure a cushy house-spouse position. If all else fails, a professional son or daughter is always on the table.
Your Learned Friend
Volume 20, Issue 6
Australia has continued to break records this week as the number of Covid-19 cases continue to skyrocket. On the 30th of July 2021 the National Cabinet met and formulated a four-phase national plan to get Australia to a ‘Covid normal’ as soon as possible. While currently in phase 1, it is vital that the government implements the most effective measures it can to contain the virus. We at De Minimis thought we would help the process along and formulate some restrictions we think would be consistent with the health advice and get our case numbers trending down immediately.
1 - 22 hour curfews
The curfew has been very effective in reducing the number of cheeky home benders and one night stands that contributed to transmission in the past, but more can be done. That’s why we think that the curfew should be flipped. Rather than being confined to our homes from 9pm-5am every day, there should be a two hour window in which people are allowed out of their homes. This will help ensure that there can be no more sneaky indoor gatherings with friends during daylight hours.
Of course if everyone is allowed out during the same two hours each day, the streets will be busier than ever and the restriction will be completely useless. That’s why every morning at 9am, Premier Daniel Andrews should hold a press conference and pull star signs out of a hat to decide who gets their two hours when. The first sign drawn gets its two hours from 9am-11am, then the second sign from 10am-12pm, and so on in that fashion. With a reduced opportunity for compatible signs to have overlapping outdoor time, not only will there be fewer people out, but the ones that are likely won’t get along or want to be near each other.
2 - full body condoms
People are spending too much time in each other’s proximity without adequate COVID-19 protections. That’s why we think that everyone should wear a full body condom whenever they go to densely populated areas.
These should be of the form-fitting sex shop variety as opposed to the comedy costume variety, as the latter still allows air to circulate through the costume, exposing the community. The outfit must also be airtight. We understand that people will be unhappy with this - we know no one realistically wants to witness air pockets travelling up their partner’s back, and to see sweat covered latex stuck to armpits, but this is something we must do.
Some critics have taken aim at the claim that the outfit will 100% prevent COVID-19 infection, citing that this is only so because lack of oxygen will kill the wearer first. This is why we want to introduce an extra restriction, in that only free divers and others with exceptional lung capacities are able to wear them for longer than 2 minutes. We realise this would make exercise exceptionally challenging, but Victorians are tough and will figure it out. After their activities, suit wearers must report to certain designated parks and sporting fields, where they are to be hosed down en masse before being allowed to go home.
Disclaimer: if these placements don’t make sense to you, check your Mars and Mercury placements, the planets that rule action and the mind respectively.
Wants to make a positive difference in the world
Pisces, Libra, Virgo, Aquarius
These signs can be deeply idealistic and might almost feel obliged to make sure they are helping humanity as a whole. Libra and Pisces are especially able to take on the many perspectives of others. The Libra thinks that studying law will help them to bring harmony to a conflict-driven world and Pisces is driven by a need for a near spiritual understanding to humanity as a whole. Aquarius tends to think they alone have a unique enough approach to life and that with a law degree they will be particularly placed to further their altruistic goals. Virgos may be less outwardly emotive and driven more by rationality, but deep down they tend to pursue righteous causes rather than self-centred dreams.
Likes the idea of arguing a lot and getting paid to help people Cheat The System
Aries, Gemini, Capricorn, Scorpio
Often stubborn and cunning, these signs are in it for themselves and those they are loyal to. Aries and Gemini live for the fight, but where Aries probably care more about beating the competition outright, Gemini just likes mind games and plans to use their legal studies to further frustrate their opponents. Both Capricorn and Scorpio are truth-seekers and have a strong sense of right and wrong, but while the cool Caps prefer to take the high ground, Scorpio intends to use the law to play dirty.
Literally has no idea, but they’re in too deep to quit now
Taurus, Cancer, Leo, Sagittarius
It’s not that these signs don’t want to study law or be lawyers, but they may find that their initial motivations don’t quite align with this particular area of study. The wandering Sagittarius has a strong desire to understand the world, but will probably move on to other pursuits once they’ve learnt all they can about the legal perspective. Whatever initially drove Taurus and Leo to the law isn’t that relevant, because the Taurus commitment to finishing their projects will carry them through to graduation, and the Leo enjoys the prestige and admiration that comes with a legal education too much to give it up. The Cancer needs to help everyone that they can and a legal education definitely satiates that want, but if their heart isn’t 100% in it for the long haul, this career will be a huge burden. They will likely snap.
MLS BRINGS BACK WAMNESTY FOR SEMESTER 1; TOP TIERS WINK AND AGREE NOT TO LOOK AT THE GRADES WITH LITTLE ARROWS NEXT TO THEM
Volume 20, Issue 5
Spirits are high at Melbourne Law School this week. The LSS – champion of student rights – has declared triumph in its battle with the university’s cold-hearted bureaucracy.
It is said that students shall no longer have to slave away beneath the lash of online learning as it slowly yet endlessly deteriorates their grades. Indeed, the so-called ‘WAMnesty’ means that just like last year, students can opt to have this semester’s grades not affect their WAM in any way. For example, on one’s academic transcript a grade will look like this: ‘75^’ to indicate that it should not really be considered part of a student’s academic history.
The celebration of students throughout Carlton and the wider world reached a fever pitch when the most prestigious top tiers agreed to keep WAMnesty in mind when assessing graduate applications.
“Well, yes of course we won’t look at the grades students have elected not to affect their WAM,” a partner from one firm who asked not to be named told De Minimus.
“To be honest, I just take a sharpie to the grades with little arrows next to them. Or if I’m feeling lazy I close my eyes and open them when I think I’ve skimmed past those subjects. By accident I saw that one student copped a 50 in Contract Law. But fear not! I made sure not to include that in my consideration when it came to rejecting his application,” the partner added.
De Minimis should also report that the partner seemed to be suppressing a giggle throughout the interview, and may have burst into laughter on one or two occasions.
Diogenes is a first year JD student.
Volume 20, Issue 5
Degrees by research are not something that most of us, especially in the law faculty, give much thought to unless we are directly considering doing one ourselves. But the importance of research to well-rounded universities, and indeed society as a whole, cannot be underestimated. It is for that reason that the government’s proposed changes to research funding should be criticised by all students no matter what we study.
The Department of Education, Skills and Employment is the body that oversees funding for research degrees (HDRs - Higher Degrees by research), and it has been tasked by the Government’s 2021-2022 budget to implement a new scheme ostensibly aimed at increasing researcher employability by increasing funding to universities whose research degrees incorporate industry internships. This initiative is part of the Research Training Program (RTP), which is the scheme under which the funding given to universities for their research degrees is determined. Currently, funding is determined according to three factors given different weight – 25% of funding per student is determined according to how much competitive income the University receives for that research, and another 25% is allocated on ‘Engagement’ income (essentially non-competitive income).
The other 50% of funding per research student is determined by ‘completions’, or essentially how many students actually graduate with their research degrees. This is obviously problematic for many reasons beyond the scope of this discussion. These completions are, confusingly, further broken down and sorted according to various weightings (on a positive note, completions by indigenous students are weighted higher than non-indigenous in an effort to encourage a greater indigenous presence in research). It is through these weightings that the industry internships changes will take effect – once implemented, researchers who undertake an industry placement of at least 60 days over three months, within the first 18 months of their degree, will net their university a greater completions weighting than those who do not. For example, current low-cost research doctorates attract a weighting of 2.0, whereas the same doctorate with an industry internship will, under the new scheme, attract a weighting of 4.0, doubling the value of the 50% of research funding that graduations bring universities.
Volume 20, Issue 4
Director: Sara Colangelo
Cast: Michael Keaton, Stanley Tucci, Amy Ryan, and Tate Donnovan
Release Date: September 3, 2021 (on Netflix)
Based on the true story, this film follows mediation and ADR specialist Kenneth Feinberg as he is appointed to administer the US government's Victim Compensation Fund. Created in the aftermath of 9/11, the fund provided varied levels of compensation to victims in exchange for an agreement that they could not sue the airlines involved. The film explores the ‘nuances of determining the value of a lost life’, which from both an ethical and legal perspective may be of great interest to us Law students. Michael Keaton and Stanley Tucci are greatly underappreciated actors that can be relied upon to deliver great performances, especially in a film such as this that provides them meaty material to sink their teeth into. It was not greatly rated out of Sundance, but it may be a rewarding watch.
No Time To Die
Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective, Beasts of No Nation)
Cast: Daniel Craig, Rami Malek, Lea Seydoux, Ana de Armas, and the rest of the usual Bond crew
Release Date: October 8, 2021 (in Cinemas)
Bond films are always exciting and worth viewing, and this one, Craig’s final outing as the character, has the added benefit of being able to provide a firm, conclusive ending to its narrative. Through Skyfall, Sam Mendes was not only able to create a good Bond film, but he was able to elevate the franchise by creating one of the better films of its year of release. The highs of Skyfall only made the lows of follow-up Spectre more disappointing, with that film returning to a more generic franchise style instalment. The reins of the franchise have since been handed over to Cary Joji Fukunaga, and it will be intriguing to see the direction in which he decides to take it. What may also garner attention is the unique combination of Fukunaga and Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag), who is credited as co-screenwriter after conducting rewrites on the high budget action film.
Top Gun: Maverick
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Cast: Tom Cruise, Miles Teller, Val Kilmer, Ed Harris, Jon Hamm, and Glen Powell
Release Date: 19 November (in Cinemas)
It’s been thirty-five years since the release of the original Top Gun (1986), a film that is arguably the complete personification of toxic masculinity. Or, if you ask Quentin Tarantino, outrageously homoerotic. Does the original have… questionable elements, including being fundamentally military propaganda? Undoubtedly, but fuck it’s good. The premise of this sequel, the introduction of Miles Teller (Callsign: Rooster) as Goose’s son, and Maverick as an instructor, is enough to completely justify the decision to make this film. Korinski’s past projects include Oblivion and Tron: Legacy (not a great sign) but it does identify his strong skills with CGI. Take your dad along, guaranteed he’ll love it.
Don’t Look Up
Director & Writer: Adam McKay (Vice, The Big Short, the good Will Ferrell movies)
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Jonah Hill, Cate Blanchett, Merryl, Chris Evans, Timothee Chalamet, Ariana Grande, and many others
Release Date: Unconfirmed, late 2021 (on Netflix)
Two low-level astronomers, DiCaprio and Lawrence, must convince the world that an approaching comet will destroy the earth. This plotline, from what I can understand, acts as an allegory for the climate change debate with much allegorical satirisation of climate change deniers. This likely explains why keen climate change activist DiCaprio agreed to do the film, and in particular play a comedic role that is somewhat unfamiliar terrain for him. McKay has described the film as in-between his films The Other Guys (which I consider better than even Step Brothers) and The Big Short, which means this film should be hilarious while also masterfully explaining concepts and ideas in a theatrical manner.
Volume 20, Issue 4
Dear Spiralling at Seven Seeds,
While a judgemental shrew at times, I try my best not to be a hypocrite. Having also just thrown myself on the altar of the commercial firms, I’m not going to harp on about the ways in which the clerkship process is ‘fundamentally broken’, ‘based on nepotism’ or ‘entrenched in elitism’. It is, but that doesn’t mean the desire to succeed within, or even in spite of this system isn’t still there. So rather than taking a carton of eggs on my next daily walk past 101 Collins, I’m instead going to treat you to some of my favourite, frustratingly true cliches.
“CROSS THAT BRIDGE WHEN YOU GET TO IT!”
First and foremost, applications closed a few days ago. It will be a little while before those rejections start flowing, if that is even what’s headed your way. Short of some psychometric tests over the next few weeks, there’s nothing you can really do between now and then. Let’s pause the spiral until it’s at least warranted and try not to fail Corps in the meantime.
If that rejection tap does start flowing, then it’s go-time on the spiralling. Feel like shit, have a cry, engage in some self-care. Now, self-care doesn’t necessarily mean spending $72 on bath bombs and doing pilates. Rather, do something that will actually feel good and help you unwind. Go scream in the park, drink wine in the shower, bleach your hair, text an ex or have a 17-hour depression nap. Whatever you need to do, get it done. Rejection stings, put on some ointment and once it stops hurting, take the bandage off. (If you find you’re feeling particularly low about the whole process, beyond normal disappointment and frustration, it may be time to reach out and have a chat with someone.**)
“EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON!”
At worst this is a speed bump on the road to becoming Harvey Specter, at best it’s a freeway exit to the right path. If you want to be a lawyer, and I mean really want to be a lawyer, you’ll find a way in. This doesn’t have to change your life plan if you don’t want it to. Will getting a grad offer at a T6 be significantly more difficult without clerking? Yes. Is your dream of being a lawyer now completely down the drain? No. Even commercial firms have alternate ways of getting in down the line, let alone the large volume of boutique firms or other practice areas you could apply to.
If you were never that keen on commercial law, even better! This could be the kick you needed to do some soul searching and figure out that you’d rather get serious about your WAG career than wear ugly suits and practice law for the rest of your life.
“[INSERT BILLIONAIRE] DROPPED OUT AND LOOK WHERE THEY ARE NOW!”
Now I’m not advocating for dropping out, although it's definitely on the table. My main point, however, is that no one is too good to fail. The clerkship process is fickle and, after a certain point, largely luck based. Failing at it is not an indictment on you personally. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad law student or will make a bad lawyer. The Dissenter-in-Chief himself, the Hon Michael Kirby failed to get a single offer from any of the top Sydney firms back in the day. Now don’t let your ego get too inflated, getting rejected by 20 firms doesn’t mean you’re the next Kirby, it means you’re not special. Spend your time wallowing, dust yourself off, and keep it moving – you’re not out of the game yet.
Your Learned Friend
** The MLS is already a struggle without the added burden of COVID-19, and there is no shame in reaching out if the struggle is more intense than usual. If you or someone else needs support, contact Lifeline at 13 11 14, or Beyond Blue at 1300 224 636.
Volume 20, Issue 4
Over the past month, the Taliban have launched a lightning advance across Afghanistan, culminating in the capture of Kabul on the 15th of August. It is yet to be seen whether the new regime will be able to keep hold of their prize, and put a stop to the civil wars which have consumed Afghanistan for two generations. At this early stage, however, they seem poised to do so. They seized control of the restive Northern provinces before an effective resistance could be organised, capturing or driving off several prominent anti-Taliban leaders. It seems likely the world will have to come to terms with a new Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan.
Over the coming months, a great deal of ink will be spilled regarding the fallout from the Taliban’s lightning takeover of Afghanistan. The broad trends, however, seem relatively apparent, and global actors are scrambling to reposition themselves.
Perhaps the most keenly felt effects of the new Afghan government will be felt in neighbouring Pakistan. Despite being a military ally of the United States, Pakistan has been consistently implicated in funding and supporting the Afghan Taliban, and it is likely the two countries will enjoy friendly relations.
The ascension of the Afghan Taliban will greatly assist Pakistan in their ongoing campaign against the Pakistani Taliban. Don’t let their names confuse you: the Pakistani Taliban and Afghan Taliban are no friends of one another. On the contrary, they have been involved in frequent armed clashes. Pakistan has been waging a campaign to suppress the Pakistani Taliban for years, and suddenly look a lot more likely to succeed, with the fall of the Afghan Government which had indulged the Pakistani Taliban operating on Afghan territory.
Furthermore, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has the potential to be another much-needed ally in Pakistan’s bitter conflict with main regional antagonist India. Pakistan has long been accused of supporting Islamic extremist groups operating in Indian-controlled territory, particularly in the disputed Kashmir region. Now, thousands of hardened Taliban fighters find themselves without domestic enemies, and might be induced to travel to nearby Kashmir.
Volume 20, Issue 3
We’re of course assuming that each sign is a barrister arguing as prosecution counsel for a vulnerable client before a jury in a criminal law case.
The peacekeeping trend-wearing Libras don’t want to be lawyers in the first place, let alone remain composed while arguing with people who can’t even agree on the facts. This is their worst nightmare realised. Pisces come in at a close second because their romantic and fanciful outlook on the world makes them prone to forget which set of facts they’re actually arguing for. The whole situation is very overwhelming and they refuse to Handle It. Aries comes in third for the angry tears they’d shed thanks to their complete lack of emotional regulation and propensity to throw tantrums when they don’t get their own way.
One might think Cancers would break down as soon as they set foot in a courthouse, but they are well practised at bottling up emotions so they remain composed just long enough to give the opening address. Leos would be relying quite heavily on their charisma over actual preparation, so once the defence counsel poke holes in their theory they’d lose all of their confidence. A fiery Sag can take the challenge of court in stride, but occasionally their impatience will get the better of them and they will need a brief recess.
Scorpios would take the intellectual challenge in stride, but after a particularly rough day a few tears may slip out on their way to the bathroom. Practical and precise, a well read Virgo may become very frustrated with a criminal case’s lack of respect for the truth, but will ultimately keep it together. While Aquarians deeply care for humanity, they aren’t so fussed with the well being of individual people, so their emotions are less likely to be involved no matter the outcome for their client.
Taurus are too stubborn and set on winning to worry about feelings, while Geminis will mask any feelings they have about the case in a thick shell of sarcasm and “but what about______”. And of course, it should go without saying that Capricorns are so internally anguished and externally cold that a Judge will twerk on the bench before they cry in front of a jury.
Volume 20, Issue 3
Floridanese man Charles Adams was delighted to find that he would be studying Constitutional Law in his second semester at Melbourne Law School.
His tutor, Dr Sven Stevekson, did not disappoint. The scholar’s enthusiasm for the subject glowed like fire. It quickly became clear that just like back home in the US, Australia’s legal system bound down tyranny through the chains of the Constitution.
Democracy. Liberty. Freedom. Such words were etched into the very foundation of Australian law. Charles knew that he had made the right choice when he decided to study his JD Down Under; the land was free, and home to the brave.
But there was just one problem. Charles could not seem to find the part about a well regulated militia and the right of the people to bear arms.
This was an issue, because like any patriot, Charles knew that without a Second Amendment his Australian classmates were easy prey to be stripped of their rights.
He felt his spine go cold as he flipped through his pocket edition of the Australian Constitution – surely, this could not be. But the words could not be found.
He approached his tutor after class, sure that he had made some sort of mistake interpreting the text.
But no. To his horror, Sven confirmed that after a tragic mass shooting in a place called Port Arthur many years ago, the Australian government had made the decision to strip citizens of their God-given right to own metal tubes capable of shooting down helicopters.
“How could they do this!” Charles demanded.
“It’s outrageous. It’s unfair,” he added when Sven only raised his eyebrows.
His tutor just shrugged in reply.
“I don’t know Charles. I suppose we like to be able to roam around outside our homes without fear of being gunned down by a complete stranger. Back in my uni days I worked at a cinema, mind you. I’m not sure how I’d have felt knowing a white male who’d spent too many hours on the dark web could just stroll in at any moment and open fire on the crowd for no reason. Probably not very good.”
Sven did not seem to notice Charles quietly seething. As he packed up his books, the tutor said, “we have, however, seen a spike in sternly written letters. I guess this is just how some folk vent their frustration when their supermarkets don’t sell hunting rifles.”
Red in the face but doing his best to maintain composure, Charles waited for Sven to leave the room. “Sitting ducks,” he whispered.
Submitted by ‘please don’t sue me NRA’
The views in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of De Minimis or its Editors.
Volume 20, Issue 3
As the Morrison Government has scrambled to fix its humiliating lethargy in securing a steady supply of vaccines, jab availability is rising steadily across every state. Since Delta variant outbreaks have shut down the East Coast, all adults have been granted access to the domestically manufactured AstraZeneca ‘Covishield’ vaccine.
Therefore, the focus of many prominent voices in the media has moved from pressuring the government to make vaccines available, to pressuring the public to take them. Concurrently, the latent frustration of the Victorian community, from months of recurrent lockdowns, is no longer primarily vented at the government, but at the vaccine-hesitant within our communities.
This developing impulse to blame outbreaks and restrictions on those reluctant to take the vaccine is problematic for a number of reasons. For one thing, we know that vaccine-hesitant people in Victoria are more likely to live in communities of colour. For another, we know that minority communities are likely to disproportionately bear the negative health consequences of the pandemic, as compared to White Australia.
Qualitative Victorian data is hard to come by, but we know from comparable work undertaken in the US and UK that people of colour and immigrant communities report less trust in institutions, and public health messaging around vaccines may have less of an impact for that reason.
Volume 20, Issue 2
Sagittarius are the explorers of the zodiac and love to push the boundaries of what is possible or break out of the mould. They are best suited to tackle the balance of probabilities that plague many a tort issue and will get creative with the facts to construe the best interpretation of the situation for their client.
Stubborn and rule-abiding, Capricorns love a checklist, and following the rules of contract formation are right up their alley. While able to think creatively in assessing the more fluid areas of law in the subject, they are much happier pointing out exactly how you managed to completely and utterly fail to specify the parties to the contract.
Principles of Public Law: Gemini
Able to blend into any area they please, Geminis are great at getting into the ‘vibe’ that is PPL. Their minds are constantly jumping from one idea to the next while maintaining a deeply intelligent inner world. They will never be bored of the complex possibilities this broad subject has to offer.
Aries have their eyes on the prize, the true trailblazers of the zodiac. They’re quick, impulsive, and competitive to the max, perfect for settling disputes over who did what, in what order, and whether there is a breach they can demand a remedy for. They value honesty, and will be blunt about bringing forward evidence for those tricky repudiations.
Disputes and Ethics: Libra
The masters of harmony and diplomacy, Libras were born to mediate. Their ability to appreciate all points of view make them ideal for working through disagreements and helping parties resolve matters before anyone can so much as think ‘disagree to disagree’. Their love for others drives them towards near ethical perfection.
Constitutional Law: Virgo
Much like the Constitution, Virgos are big picture thinkers, but a little reserved upon first glance. You need to get to know them really well before they reveal all of their nuances. Virgos have exceptionally high standards and will hold all parties to the highest standard of the Commonwealth of Australia.
Scorpios are one of the most passionate and independent signs and are not afraid to stir the pot, or take it with them if it is a chattel that is purposeless after a land transfer. Scorpios are intuitive, which serves them well in categorising the various property interests their clients can snag from their opponents.
Administrative Law: Aquarius
Much like the facts of an administrative law case, each Aquarian is enigmatic and unique. It’s actually the Aquarians' aversion to being boxed in and labelled that allow them to blitz through the giant list of grounds any admin case may be pursued under. They understand how their client’s individual circumstances best fit into the equation.
Corporations Law: Leo
The bold and self-assured Leos are naturals at untangling company directors from the sticky situations they get themselves into. Leos will absolutely put themselves first, which makes them excellent at understanding the priorities of a company from the richest of shareholders to the lowliest of creditors.
Equity and Trusts: Pisces
Pisces are the psychics of the zodiac, and have the most intuitive sense of good and bad and right and wrong. This strong gut instinct makes them skilled at identifying inequitable outcomes in what seem like sound legal judgments, and they will not rest until those injustices are addressed. You can count on a Pisces to look after your estate and affairs.
Evidence and Criminal Law: Cancer
Emotive and sentimental, Cancers hate white lies and small talk and will cut right to the core of any issue. They can sense when they aren’t being told the full picture and will search high and low to find out the truth. Much like criminal law, they value individuals and will give anyone a chance provided that that person gives them the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Legal Theory/Research: Taurus
Represented by the bull, Taurus are known for being the hardest-working of all the signs and once set on an idea will not easily change their minds. It will take a lot of reading and talking and investigating into an idea or proposition before they so much as think about changing their perspective, but once they’ve got all their research in front of them, they’ll gladly present you with their conclusions.
Volume 20, Issue 2
Dear Bland at Barkly Square,
The optimism of this cohort never fails to exhaust me. I’m not sure how your semester is shaping up, but personally I’m planning to carve out some time each week for fun pastimes like “showering” and d“getting dressed”. However, if you are feeling slightly more ambitious, I have you covered.
A hobby is a low threshold – it merely needs to be off the clock and fun for fun’s sake. However, some people still struggle with this concept, trying to wrap up their free time in self-improvement. Not to turn this into an anti-hustle culture rant during clerkship season (the hypocrisy would be too much, even for me), but it’s worth having something you’d do no matter who was watching. However, if you want to pretend running marathons and helping the elderly is how you unwind, more power to you.
Now I know what you’re thinking, “I’m a law student, I am but a vessel for dicter – no thoughts, head empty.” While that may be true, somewhere deep in there is someone that is interesting to talk to at parties. A good way to unleash them is to think about what you do when you procrastinate (besides that).
If you’re anything like me, most free time is spent consuming content which is not much of a hobby. However, if you put your psychoanalysis cap on you may find there’s more going on than meets the eye. Are there any common threads in the content you’re taking in? Are you watching a lot of historical fashion YouYube videos? Maybe time to look into upcycling or knitting. Loving nature docs on Netflix? Maybe time to go out on some local walks in your area. Binging on travel vlogs? Maybe you want to up your language skills on Duolingo. Whatever it is, don’t try and pick up something that you think you should be interested in, like intellectual podcasts or yoga. Despite appearances, you already have a personality ready and waiting to be explored – no need to borrow anyone else’s.
Your Learned Friend
Volume 20, Issue 2
Director: Sian Heder
Release: August 13 (Apple TV)
Set in Massachusetts, a family of Deaf fisherman rely on their hearing daughter to manage both their lives and their business. The daughter gets a passion, wants to move away, but as her family relies on her so dramatically it would hurt them. If that sounds particularly cliche you’d be right, but the thing about clichés is they work. Will you know the entire plot of the movie if you watch the trailer? Probably, but nonetheless it’ll be a likely effective and heart-warming film. That Coda is an American adaptation of a French film makes it feel eerily like the horrific The Upside, an American adaptation of The Intouchables. Considering the buzz and eventual streaming service bidding war for Coda out of Sundance Festival, there is hope that it is not another cash grab English adaptation.
The Last Duel
Director: Ridley Scott
Cast: Matt Damon, Adam Driver, Jodie Comer, and Ben Affleck
Writers: Damon, Affleck, and Nicole Holofcener
Release Date: October 15
Brutal 14th century France with actors everyone loves? Check. Perhaps you also want Matt Damon with a mullet, and a blonde Ben Affleck? You’ve got that too. Damon’s wife (Comer) alleges that she was raped by her husband’s best friend (Driver), which culminates in the eponymous last sanctioned duel (with knights in armour!). The biggest potential issue is whether the premise can sustain a 140 minute film. Hopefully the writing reunification of Damon and Affleck (Good Will Hunting) alongside the addition of Holofcener provides enough nuance to make it entertaining.
The French Dispatch
Director: Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel, Isle of Dogs)
Cast: Name any actor – they are probably in it.
Release Date: October 22
Anderson’s films can be roughly divided into three categories of: early films, animated films, and later films. While the later films such as this are always extremely enjoyable, for mine they are not especially effective. The style arguably overwhelms them, and the endless supply of recognisable actors can make the films feel like a collection of cameos. That being said, Anderson has an undeniable filmmaking skill, and with this film being divided into three stories hopefully each actor will be able to contribute more than just a cameo. If you see it, you’ll enjoy it, however I question how seriously you can (or are meant to) take it.
Volume 20, Issue 1
To get anywhere these days
It seems a clerkship’s a necessity
An expo here, a summit there
It may well be the end of me
I lied to the interviewers
Said I’d like to help the poor
I hope it isn’t obvious
I’m here for corporate law
Enough about me – how about you
What can you do for me?
I would like to discuss the culture here
And of course, my salary
On my way out of the top tier
I shook the partner’s hand
My grip was firm, I held his gaze
Winked and said: “I think you know my dad”
I’ll miss the oh-so-moral high ground
Of the student society
But these are just the things you do
When you’re law school royalty.
Byrion is a second year JD student
The views in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of De Minimis or its Editors.
Volume 20, Issue 1
The world has come to a sad pass, a local man is convinced, on this dark winter’s evening. Jerry Peterson (22), laments the stifling atmosphere of fear created by PC culture, and the murderous denizen of this house.
‘I just feel like in the current climate [referring to the darkened home of a blind former soldier] I have to really watch my words in a way I didn’t before,’ Peterson told De Minimis.
The R.M.-wearing member of the MLS Young Liberals has found himself in hot water recently, for airing some rather unvarnished views on cancel culture, in a place where even the slightest whisper could see him shot with improbable accuracy.
Volume 20, Issue 1
As we all trudge back to another semester at the University of Zoom, it is okay to feel a little embittered.
The solemn email we all received last week from the Provost relayed his ‘extreme disappointment’ at the latest lockdown. The message, seeking to sympathise with both domestic and international audiences, assured us of the University’s commitment to its students. It was sent a couple of days after the notification about our student invoices.
Well, Professor McCluskey, perhaps we might be forgiven for snarling at UniMelb’s professions of camaraderie.
We are not all in this together. In fact, it’d be more apt to say that students and MLS have been pitted against each other by the pandemic. The University has flatly refused to cut fees, even for students who are literally not allowed into the country of their purported alma mater. What does it mean for your resume to proclaim ‘attended Melbourne Law School’? Frankly, a lot less than it used to, if attending Melbourne Law School means lying naked in your bed with undiagnosed depression, constantly checking that your camera is still off.