Court insiders: VU law students shadow Melbourne Barristers

This week, 20 Victoria University (VU) law students completed a one-month barrister shadowing program in partnership with the Victorian Bar.
Wednesday 16 August 2023

The Victorian Bar, in partnership with Victoria University Law School, developed the barrister shadowing program in 2022 to help demystify the profession.

The program gives students the opportunity to forge links with barrister mentors and understand the pathways to becoming a barrister, while building networks, legal understanding, and advocacy skills along the way.

The experience provides crucial inspiration for current students, from diverse backgrounds, many of whom don't have personal contacts in the law. It helps them consider a future career as a barrister, which in turn will improve the Bar’s diversity of representation by attracting individuals with a wide range of perspectives and experiences.

Victorian Bar Student Engagement Committee Co-Chair barrister Tim Farhall said forging a career at the Bar requires additional training, experience, and networks.

Tim Farhall at Victorian Bar chambers, judging a moot court
Tim Farhall

“The program allows students to observe the work of a barrister firsthand, build connections within the profession, and decide whether the Bar is for them,” he said.

It’s also very rewarding for the barristers, who get to share some of their knowledge and experience with the next generation of budding lawyers.

For VU student Rokhsar Zamani, now in her final year of the Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Criminology, the experience has ignited a long-term ambition for a career as a barrister working in criminal law.

Rokshar is looking forward to completing her degree and Practical Legal Training before exploring career options in criminal law, eventually at the Bar.

“It gave a lot of insight into the life of a barrister,” she said. “I had so many different expectations coming into the program, but I feel like it has given me a whole new world; it has made me want to become a barrister even more.”

L-R: VU law students, Suheda Oztas and Rokhsar Zamani
L-R: VU law students, Suheda Oztas and Rokhsar Zamani

VU student Jeremy Maria Dass is in the third year of his Bachelor of Laws (Graduate Entry). Jeremy completed a degree in biomedicine before starting his law degree, and has a strong interest in medical malpractice and misconduct by medical practitioners.

The program introduced him to barristers working in these areas and has also helped hone his advocacy and legal research skills.

“The shadowing program has been great. It has provided me an opportunity to see the work and lifestyle of a barrister to understand very complex cases; it has definitely provided a detailed insight into how to advocate a case, and how to produce legal research,” he said.

The program achieved great success in 2022 and 2023, with multiple Victorian law schools now participating.

Jeremy Maria Dass at Victorian Bar chambers
Jeremy Maria Dass