SAMANTHA MARINIC, EMMA SHORTT
Volume 1, Issue 1 (Originally published 27 February 2011)
As a fresh faced JD my first sighting of Ian Malkin was at the arduous Orientation Day back in February 2010. He sat causally on a desk dressed in cargo shorts and a t- shirt, in front of 250-odd law students as if he was having an informal chat.
We approach the modern yet clinical 8th floor of the Melbourne Law School. A floor that looks like any other as you step away from the elevators.
But then we round the corner and approach Ian’s office. The
eclectic assortment of curiosities posted around the room and the luscious plants make me feel instantly at ease. We need more plants and colour in this building I think to myself, more reminders of hope and life. Less about sombre grey and stainless steel rubbish bins.
As a graduate?
Ian spent time working for a Criminal Defense firm, where the competition with other firms was so intense he worked every weekend for two years at the behest of the firm’s partner Sheldon trying to swipe up the newest offender in the juiciest murder of the weekend.
In the beginning, his job was to meet with offenders at the Winnipeg jailhouse, a building he describes as a curious law- enforcement factory, close to its resources (criminals) and filled with layers for housing inmates, court rooms and police.
“It was like you put a ball (the offender) in one end, give the box (the jailhouse) a shake and out pops the ball on the other end”.
During this time Ian found himself constantly frustrated with the ‘system’ in which he worked and the self-perpetuating nature, and systemic injustice of the criminal law system. He recounts one story where a judge set bail rules requiring offenders not to set foot on the main street, thus making re-offending inevitable. Put simply, Ian describes this time as ‘soul destroying’.
Alternative career paths?
Outside the law, Ian entertained a career as an investigative journalist, had it not been for the popularity generated by Watergate and highly competitive program requirements (of course we can understand that there’s a program more competitive than law). While pursuing his undergraduate degree in Politics and Economics, Ian admits that if it were not for his distaste for the compulsory subjects calculus and statistics, he probably would have continued into his honours year. Finally, following the disenfranchisement of working as a defence lawyer, Ian entertained the idea of becoming a social worker or probationary officer.
If you ruled the world for a day, what would you do?
Ian is not a megalomaniac at heart but with a little coaxing on our behalf he states he would eliminate privilege and promote equality and equal opportunity.
How do you manage stress?
Ian paused for a moment and chuckled. It appears that the best way he manages his stress is to kick back and watch the latest episode of his favourite show. He shudders at the thought of sport. So next time you see Ian around the law school, mention how good the latest episode of Game of Thrones or Boardwalk Empire was last week.
Samantha Marinic, Emma Shortt