The Law Faculty hosted its annual Law Scholarships & Prizes Evening on 4 June, celebrating the high-achieving students of 2018.
Dean of UNSW Law Professor George Williams acknowledged and thanked the donors for attending the event and for their generous contributions supporting the scholarships and prizes. He praised the students for their “determination, perseverance and courage”, saying their work helps to “improve the world we live in”.
“Despite advances in technology, we need innovation that only the talented lawyers of the future can provide,” he said.
Guest speaker was UNSW Law alumnus Lachlan McKnight, CEO of LegalVision, a commercial law firm disrupting and transforming the legal industry. Talking about the legal industry and AI disruption, Mr McKnight offered practical advice to the students.
“A key skill set for lawyers now and into the future is the ability to rapidly empathise with a client, to be able to interact and understand a client’s needs quickly. This cannot be replaced with AI,” he said.
Among the students honoured on the night were the Undergraduate and Juris Doctor Valedictorians.
Nanak Narulla is the 2018 Undergraduate Valedictorian for outstanding academic achievement and for significant contribution to the communal life of UNSW Law.
Mr Narulla took the Faculty’s ethos around social justice to heart during his time at UNSW Law and balanced his academic achievements with a strong commitment to social issues. His accomplishments include being a presenter in the Law Society documentary Yindyamarra and as an academic law tutor at Nura Gili, which prepared him to intern in native title law at the Miriuwung Gajerrong Corporation in the East Kimberley, Western Australia.
He volunteered as a student refugee and asylum seeker advocate at the Villawood and Wickham Point detention centres, which led to employment in the refugee legal team on Manus Island, PNG. He engaged with the Australian Human Rights Centre (now the Australian Human Rights Institute) and travelled to China to work as an intern at Zhicheng Public Interest Lawyers in Beijing. He also co-edited a special issue of the Centre’s human rights magazine, the Human Rights Defender.
Mr Narulla’s strong academic record includes winning the National Environmental Law Association essay competition with his Law Honours thesis. He continues to write and is currently working on a piece for the Australian Environment Review.
“It’s a privilege for me to be recognised as the 2018 Undergraduate Valedictorian by a law school that is filled with intellectually curious, ethically driven and engaged staff and students. The academics taught me to read between the lines of the textbooks to find a deep appreciation for the law, and my fellow students have shown me the rich community that operates around it,” Mr Narulla said.
“UNSW Law highlights social justice issues throughout its curriculum and makes internships and practical work experiences accessible to all students. I’m immensely grateful for the fact that many of my most meaningful professional experiences have been facilitated and supported by the Faculty. I hope that, in these times of educational change, it continues to keep the student experience and broader community engagement at the centre of its ethos.”
Lauren Stefanou is the 2018 Juris Doctor Valedictorian and also the recipient of the Juris Doctor Medal for the best performing Juris Doctor student Summer Semester 2018/2019.
Ms Stefanou said it was a great honour to receive the awards.
“It’s very humbling to be recognised with these awards. I’m grateful to UNSW Law for both the excellence of its teaching staff, and the various experiential learning opportunities that were available as part of my degree,” she said.
“Gaining practical experience in a variety of legal work environments helped me not only to develop my professional skills, but also to develop a sense of where I wanted to go beyond graduation, outside of the more typical clerkship program pathways. My Juris Doctor has very much shaped the path I will take as a lawyer hoping to make a positive social impact in my career.”
Ms Stefanou packed a lot into her time at UNSW Law. She was elected to the executive committee of the UNSW Law Journal Editorial Board, and also tutored in Evidence Law in the Nura Gili Indigenous Tuition Assistance Scheme.
She undertook her practical legal training (PLT) placement with the Police Powers solicitor at Redfern Legal Centre in 2017 and has volunteered at the Aboriginal Legal Service in Redfern since early 2018. Ms Stefanou is currently working on a research project about social disadvantage and sentencing at the Public Defenders Office.
Ms Stefanou also received an Order of Merit Certificate for placing first out of the graduating cohort for Semester 2, 2018 and Summer Semester 2018/2019.
She will start as Associate to a Judge of the NSW District Court in September 2019 and hopes to pursue a career in criminal law as a defence advocate for disadvantaged clients.
2018 UNSW Law Prizes
The Dixon Family Indigenous Law Prize
Kirby Pearson for the best performing student in the Indigenous Pre-Law Program, 2018
The Law Society of NSW Prize
Isobelle Wainwright for the best performing student in Stage 1 of the Bachelor of Laws Program, 2018
The MinterEllison Prize
Lachlan Peake for the best performing student in Stage 5 of the Bachelor of Laws Program, 2018
The Ashurst Prize
Aoife Daly for the best performing student in Stage 2 of the Bachelor of Laws Program, 2018
The Herbert Smith Freehills Prize
Ganeshmoorthy Chandrasekaran for the best performing student in Stage 3 of the Bachelor of Laws Program, 2018
The Baker McKenzie Prize
Raul Vellani for the best performing student in Stage 4 of the Bachelor of Laws Program, 2018
The Allens Prize
Andrew Brodzeli for the best performing student in Stage 1 of the Juris Doctor Program, 2018
The Banki Haddock Fiora Prize
Maximillian Rabie for the best performing student in Stage 2 of the Juris Doctor, 2018
The Bird and Bird Prize
Thomas Gillespie for the best performing student in Stage 3 of the Juris Doctor, 2018
The Maurice Blackburn Lawyers Prize
Vincent Floro for the best performing student across all postgraduate programs in the Law School, 2018
Judith Parker-Wood Memorial Prize
Emma Hunt for the top graduating student in the Masters of Human Rights Law and Policy or the Master of Law, Human Rights Law and Policy Specialisation, 2018
2018 UNSW Law Juris Doctor Medals
Semester 1, 2018: Evan Oh
Semester 2, 2018: Thomas Gillespie
Summer Semester, 2018/2019: Lauren Stefanou
2018 UNSW Law Valedictorians
2018 Undergraduate Valedictorian
2018 Juris Doctor Valedictorian
2019 UNSW Law Scholarships & Awards
Juris Doctor Scholarship for Academic Excellence
Juris Doctor Equity Scholarship
Juris Doctor Scholarship for Indigenous Students
Juris Doctor Scholarship for International Students
The Faculty of Law Postgraduate Coursework Academic Excellence Scholarship
2019 UNSW Philanthropy Scholarships & Awards
Dixon Family Award
The Lilian Cohen Memorial Award was established in honour of Lilian Cohen a passionate teacher and educator who believed in equal access to education for all. This Award helps to support students to commence their studies at UNSW Law.
The Judge Bob Bellear Indigenous Scholarship was established in recognition of the achievements and legacy of Judge Bob Bellear. This scholarship supports Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander students undertaking a degree at UNSW.
The Ngoc Tram Nguyen Scholarship supports young people from non-selective secondary public schools in south west Sydney to achieve their potential and undertake study at UNSW Law.