Leigh Howard secures another win for Law

Leigh Howard
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Final year School of Law student Leigh Howard has secured the 2009 Ron McCallum Medal in Sydney. Leigh competed against young lawyers and other law students from around the country to win the prize. Leigh is the first Victorian ever to have won the medal.

Leigh was selected to participate alongside 4 other finalists after submitting an essay on a chosen topic of industrial relations. This year’s competition was focused around Australia’s statutory labour law, following the passage of the Fair Work Act on 1 July this year.

Leigh delivered a presentation on the new collective bargaining arrangements in the Fair Work Act. Particularly, he addressed the new obligations to bargain in ‘good faith’, and argued that these new obligations will change the dynamic of bargaining in Australia. Leigh’s presentation was judged best by a panel of 4 judges, including Joe Catanzariti (President NSW Law Society), Graeme Watson (Vice President of Fair Work Australia), Arthur Moses (Senior Counsel of the NSW Bar) and Ron McCallum AO himself.

Ron McCallum was extremely pleased to see a Victorian and particularly a La Trobe student take the medal. “Leigh comes from a fantastic university, full of wonderful academics, so I am pleased that Leigh will be taking this back to them”, he quipped.

During his research, Leigh interviewed industrial relations Barrister Stuart Wood in order to gauge the real-life effect that the new provisions were having on business. “Stuart is a specialist in this area and a great mind, so I was really lucky that he set time aside for me” Leigh said. He also had the help of Jessica Salafia (Law Students' Association officer), Konstantine Ketsetzis (Law Students' Association Vice President) and Jill Murray (Senior Lecturer), who arranged a rehearsal before Leigh left for Sydney.

After graduation Leigh hopes to work in the industrial relations sector of the legal profession.