Power-house of attorneys

The McDermott family’s third and youngest child to graduate from VU Law School is charging towards the bar with flying colours.

Of the collective noun 'an eloquence of lawyers', the McDermott family certainly fits the bill: Dad Gregory is a barrister, brothers Edward and Will are successful solicitors – and that's not to mention aunts and uncles.

But it’s Amanda, the family’s most recent VU graduate, who took out the most prestigious award in legal education in Victoria – the Supreme Court Prize.

Following her heart into law at VU

After gaining an arts degree from another institution, Amanda decided to follow her heart into law at VU, enrolling in the Bachelor of Laws (Graduate Entry).

“VU’s city location appealed to me with its close proximity to the courts; while the flexible timetabling made it possible to continue working in my paralegal job, and maintain study-life balance. My brothers both studied Law at VU so I’d heard great things.”

While she achieved the height of academic success throughout her degree (awards listed below), it was the practical life experience through work placements and an overseas study tour that enriched Amanda’s study journey and will benefit her career.

“The placements at VU were invaluable. My internship with Victoria Police (Prosecutions) gave me insight into the workings of successful prosecution and court processes, and strengthened my interest in criminal law. I also completed an internship at WEstjustice as case manager at the family law and family violence clinic, which was very challenging but rewarding.”

“I completed two summer school units in Berlin at Humboldt University. It was a privilege to explore the world and learn about other cultures and learning styles.”

While the siblings and extended family take their profession seriously, they are a tight-knit unit, always putting their files aside for what’s most important.

“My whole family – dad, uncle, brothers, cousins and I – all go to the footy together on a Saturday. The crazy part is that just the day before, my dad and his brother sat on opposite sides of a courtroom!”

The future looks brilliant for this bright spark. So what does she see for herself down the track?

“I’m now working for a firm in the heart of the legal precinct, and I’m so excited about my future in law. I hope to carry on the family tradition and become a barrister like my dad.”

VU proudly looks forward to the day when Amanda joins her dad in what is collectively (and appropriately) also known as a 'boast of barristers'.

Amanda's awards

  • Supreme Court Prize 2017 (awarded 2018)
  • University Award of Academic Excellence for having the highest GPA of all graduates across all courses in the College of Law and Justice (2017)
  • Legal Services Department and Victoria University Internship Program award for Outstanding Student, sponsored by Victoria Police (2016)
  • Booth Medal for Outstanding First Year Bachelor of Laws student (2015)
  • Outstanding Student Bachelor of Laws (Graduate Entry) (2015)
  • Dr Jim Rangelov Memorial Reward for Outstanding Student for Advocacy and Communication (2015)

Want to find out more?

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Writer:  Jessica Jury