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Victorian Bar awards Hume students for academic excellence

Seventeen students in Hume, Victoria, have been recognised by the Victorian Bar for academic excellence in legal studies, in a move to entice more young people from diverse communities into the law.

user iconLauren Croft 03 July 2023 Careers
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The students come from a variety of schools across the city of Hume and will each receive $1,000 from the Victorian Bar Foundation and $500 from the Hume City Council.

Additionally, the winning students will get to participate in work experience during their school holidays, including a tour of the Supreme Court of Victoria and briefings from leading barristers.

The chair of the Victorian Bar Foundation, retired Supreme Court judge John Digby, said the joint initiative between Victorian Bar and Hume City Council is aimed at encouraging local students to pursue a career in the law — and emphasised the growing number of lawyers from diverse backgrounds.


“We want to encourage future generations from diverse communities to consider law and highlight that a career at the Victorian Bar is open to all,” he said.

“More than 40 per cent of all junior barristers are female. Approximately 15 per cent of barristers were born overseas and come from 33 countries. Almost half have at least one parent who was born overseas, and 10 per cent speak a language other than English at home.”

The patron of the Victorian Bar Foundation, High Court Justice Michelle Gordon AC, said the Student Achievement Award and Mentoring Program, which is in its fifth year, reinforces that the Victorian Bar is open to all, irrespective of socioeconomic circumstances, ethnic background, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or disability.

“My father arrived in this country in the 1950s as an economic refugee. I come from what my mother describes as ‘humble beginnings’,” she said.

“What I learnt was that with hard work, opportunities, encouragement and support from others, I was able to have a career as a barrister as well as be a wife, a mother, a friend and to seek to contribute to the broader community in different ways.”

Justice Gordon also told students that the award and mentoring program would expose them to potentially life-long links with current leaders in the legal profession.

“Grab with both hands the opportunity that this award gives you,” she added.

“Be inquisitive. Ask questions of the people you meet because we will ask questions of you. I know we will be surprised by what we can learn from each other.”

Mayor of Hume City Cr Joseph Haweil added that the partnership has continued to benefit the local community.

“Partnering with the Victorian Bar Foundation is a way the council can support our community to reach their full potential through their academic achievements, which are celebrated through these awards,” he said.

“Pursuing a career in the legal sector is just one way the young people of Hume can strive to make a change in this world, and I hope those involved are proud of their hard work and take the opportunity to learn from others in the field.”

The Victorian Bar Foundation Student Achievement Award and Mentoring Program winners for 2023 are Jasmine Roeschmann, Komal Joshi, Aron Ko, Mohammad Mahmood Sheikh, Abdurrahman Merhi, Filiz Ozkadi, Claire Adams, Selafina Akauola, David Geissler, Rita Gawrge, Hajrah Sajid, Maryam Albert, Sarah Foster, Flanna Maju, Tyra Saavedra, Callum McMahon and Hanna Alnader.

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