Seeing the law in action

Ryan McNelis has completed a Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Global Studies, with placements that gave him the opportunity to see the law in action

Ryan McNelis is proud to be following in his mother’s footsteps when he graduates from La Trobe at the end of this year.

“My mum Jenny studied history at the Bundoora campus back in the late 70s and she was a big influence on my decision to study at La Trobe. I am really looking forward to celebrating with her at graduation in December.”

However, it was law rather than history that sparked Ryan’s passion, choosing to study a Bachelor of Laws/ Bachelor of Global Studies.

“I have always been interested in learning how the legal system works and how lawyers can have a positive role in society by protecting individuals and upholding their rights,” he says.

Ryan said his placement at Victoria Legal Aid’s Ringwood office was a great opportunity to see the law in action.

“I really enjoyed getting hands-on exposure to the courts, particularly as it coincided with studying the criminal procedure portion of my subject, 'Evidence Law'. With one of the major assessments being a mock bail application, being able to observe real bail proceedings at the Magistrates’ Court was invaluable.”

After completing his placement, Ryan continued as a volunteer at Victoria Legal Aid, where he has been able to hone his skills.

“Having continued as a volunteer clerk after my placement, I have been able to further develop my skills while also contributing as best I can to the important work the duty lawyers at Victorian Legal Aid perform,” he says.

After graduation, Ryan hopes to pursue commercial law and one day combine his love of technology with his legal expertise.

“I am hoping to get a graduate position at a commercial law firm. I am also interested in specialising in a practice area connected with technology.”

“I have a personal passion for technology and computers, and having worked in the IT industry while I was studying, I’d be interested in any opportunities that allow me contribute this technical knowledge to a changing legal industry.”