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Annabelle Khoo, Bachelor of Laws (Honours) student sitting in library with classmate

4 reasons to study a law degree at UQ

UQ people
Published 16 Feb, 2024  ·  7 mins

Hi, my name is Annabelle Khoo and I’m studying a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) at UQ. Here’s why I chose to study a law degree, what the experience has been like and why I’d recommend studying law at UQ to others.

Why did you decide to study law at UQ?

I have always been a creative person. I have a passion for the arts – music, drama and literature. I have also always enjoyed talking to people. I thought maybe a career in law would allow me to hone my passions and strengths in a productive and meaningful way. Then, upon hearing about the UQ Pro Bono Centre, I knew I could achieve my goals by studying a UQ law degree.

I never really pictured myself as a lawyer. I definitely didn't know the difference between a 'solicitor', a 'barrister' and a 'judge'. But looking back, I'm so glad I listened to my instincts and gave it a go.

Annabelle Khoo Bachelor of Laws (Honours) student

Would you recommend studying law at UQ to other students?

I would recommend studying law at UQ for 4 reasons: 

1. Excellent teachers 

At UQ, the teachers are second to none. What they teach and how they teach it will prepare you for the legal profession. They are incredibly kind and accommodating, and very invested in your success.

2. Camaraderie between students

I believe that there is a unique camaraderie between UQ Law students. Our cohorts are relatively small, so you get to know most people in your classes. But because there are so many extra-curricular opportunities provided to us through the Law School, we all end up spending a lot of time together - even outside of classes.

Whether it's acting on stage together for the UQ Law Revue, running Management Committee meetings as the Secretary of the UQLS, flying to Sydney to do a 'Moot of Origin' against the University of Sydney, or getting to know my peers while on placement. My law friends are some of the most special people I've ever met.

3. Valuable extra-curricular activities 

The Law School and Law Society provide robust extra-curricular activities that allow students to involve themselves in the culture of the degree outside of their studies. These include the UQ Law Society (UQLS), the mooting program, the UQ Law Revue, and the UQ Pro Bono Centre. These programs have defined my time at university.

Through the curricular and extra-curricular placements facilitated by the UQ Law School, I have learnt invaluable practical skills. I have learnt how to talk with, interview and understand vulnerable clients (for example, those who are homeless, criminalised, disabled, incarcerated and/or have low literacy levels). I have learnt how to liaise with legal professionals, work in a legal team, write letters, juggle responsibilities and compile research for solicitors and barristers.

My placement through the Clinical Legal Education subject was an invaluable experience that involved being placed in a community legal centre. I had the opportunity to shadow a Human Rights Lawyer one-on-one, as she provided legal advice to highly vulnerable homeless individuals. I saw first-hand how empathetic lawyers and accessible legal advice can change people's lives. It was my first experience with this kind of law, and at that moment, I knew I would do it for the rest of my career.

4. The UQ Pro Bono Centre 

This Centre has provided me with experiences that will shape the trajectory of my career. I feel like it has given me a purpose and a place in the legal profession.

One of the most interesting things I've done during my time at UQ was volunteering in a barrister's assistant team for a coronial inquest. Facilitated by the UQ Pro Bono Centre, I compiled a research brief for a barrister to use in his submissions to the State Coroner. This brief compiled research regarding the use of spit hoods and solitary confinement against disabled Indigenous women in prison.

In my brief, I was able to analyse my research using the problem-solving framework taught to me in my Human Rights Subject. It exemplified how transferable my university skills are to real-world legal practice.

"Studying a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) empowers me by equipping me with widely applicable knowledge and skills that I will undoubtedly use for the rest of my life."

Looking forward, I want to pursue a career in human rights law. I’d love to earn a Judge’s Associateship after I graduate, travel around regional Queensland on circuit and then work in a regional community legal centre.

These goals stem from my time with LawRight and Prisoners’ Legal Service – both placements organised by the UQ Pro Bono Centre. It has become clear to me that there is a liminal space in the community – occupied by homeless, criminalised and incarcerated people in Queensland – where the legal system is not providing adequate support. A very small number of hard-working lawyers are currently keeping these Queenslanders afloat, and I want to contribute to this effort.

Where could a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) at UQ take your career?

Learn more about the program

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