Four law students stand outside VU campus.
Miguel Valle Abrego (Bachelor of Laws, 3rd year), Melissa Kirby (Director Sharpe & Abel), Neeta Krishna Kumar and Theodora Petsas (Bachelor of Laws, 2nd year).

When Sharpe & Abel (S&A) were looking for property options, they wanted more than just well-appointed office space in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD. They wanted to align themselves with an organisation with strong principles and with people who live by their values– which is why, as of early December, lawyers and strategists Sharpe & Abel will make their new home in Victoria University’s College of Law and Justice, at 259 Queen Street, Melbourne.

The multi-disciplinary team pride themselves on doing things differently. Unlike massive law firms, they don’t think about their clients in terms of “six minute increments”. Instead, they work with clients over the long term to pre-empt and solve problems in the industrial and technical sectors, creating win-win relationships that span years rather than minutes or hours.

The new location, in the centre of Melbourne’s historic law district, supports VU’s ‘flipped campus’ model, where industry partners are conveniently co-located in order to foster synergies and opportunities for students, staff and industry, internships and research.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Adam Shoemaker said that Sharpe & Abel’s proximity to VU’s City Tower was a significant advantage for the University and he’s hoping more organisations will consider being part of the ‘flipped’ model.

“The flipped campus model has immense benefits, and we are delighted to welcome and share these with Sharpe & Abel. Our common goals ­– to exchange knowledge, to nurture collaboration, and to develop unique learning opportunities for students – will be strengthened by the industry immersion this alliance brings.”

As one of the most industry-connected universities in Australia, VU provides almost 20,000 student placements across a diverse range of industries and has extensive collaborations with organisations, and government bodies.

Sharpe and Abel’s Managing Partner Ms Melissa Kirby said the move to Queen Street signals a step in maturity for the Melbourne-based firm. “We are delighted to partner with VU and look forward to exploring the ways our firm and VU students can collaborate with impact. We are a values-led firm, and we excel when we work with organisations and people who excel in what they do. In the case of VU, we share the vision of openness and excellence and providing a door of opportunity for students from any background. We look forward to sharing our industry knowledge and working with the next generation of legal professionals.”

At VU, Partnering with Principal is not just a slogan, it is a commitment embedded in the University’s strategic plan, along with Doing Dual Differently, Maximising Research Impact, Protecting Country and creating a Thriving Place to Study and Work. It is also about actively contributing to VU’s vibrant student community made up of 90 different cultures.

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