In its 20th year, La Trobe Law School continues to reap big rewards for students participating in the Judicial Mentoring Program after running the program for 10 years.
This year saw 19 students participating in La Trobe Law School’s Judicial Mentoring Program under the guidance and mentorship of Magistrates from Heidelberg Magistrates’ Court.
The program has now been offered for over ten years by La Trobe Law School, students are encouraged throughout their mentoring experience to make deeper connections with important legal principles such as the rule of law.
In the program, students conduct research into a legal issue relating to the mentoring magistrate’s work Students not only receive credit as part of their course but it also provides them with practical legal experience and networking opportunities enhancing their chances at landing seasonal clerkships and traineeships.
‘The Judicial Mentoring Program is not a “shadowing” process so much as a real mentoring relationship.’ says Head of La Trobe Law School Professor Paula Baron.
‘This years’ cohort of participants offered up their praise of the program and of their mentors.
Having a Magistrate to ask questions and learn from is a highlight for most students as they provide a knowledgeable insight into the inner workings of the law system.’
Students also see firsthand how social issues such as those related to drugs and mental health have an impact on the system, with these kinds of cases appearing constantly before the Magistrates Court. For many being able to observe criminal procedures in action, watching the way that lawyers conducted themselves and seeing what makes for good representation is an invaluable experience.
The Judicial Mentoring Program has also garnered high praise from the participating Magistrates, with many indicating that it makes the practice of law egalitarian in so far as it provides opportunities for all students to make good connections.
‘We have found that by embedding our mentoring program in a compulsory law subject, the students are more able to link their experiences with their learning and have a deeper understanding and respect for the process of decision-making.’ says Professor Baron.
‘We believe that this not only consolidates legal understanding for law students, but assists the Court by producing legal practitioners that respect judicial officers and understand in a real way their duties as Officers of the Court,’
For more information on the Judicial Mentoring Program please visit: www.latrobe.edu.au/law/study/internships-and-placements/experiential-learning-opportunities/
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