Academic accolades and a commitment to supporting fellow students were the winning attributes that saw the University of Newcastle’s Rhea Thrift (pictured) take home this year’s Forensic Document Services Law Student Award.
Thrift impressed the judges with the numerous academic prizes she has piled up through the course of her legal studies. But they knew they were dealing with an exceptional student when she revealed that in her spare time she is writing a research dissertation on the role of the rule of law in parliament’s ability to oust judicial review of administrative action.
Thrift is a volunteer at the University of Newcastle’s legal centre and manager of a publication on mental health issues faced by law students. She launched the title Valens in 2011 in her role as Director of Student Publications for the University of Newcastle Law Students’ Association.
Despite an active university life, Thrift also manages to consistently achieve high-distinction grades.
Joseph Wenta, associate lecturer at the Newcastle Law School, praised the high achiever for her contribution to academic and cultural life at the university, describing Thrift as “an enthusiastic participant in all classes [who] offers thoughtful and respectful contributions to discussion and debate”.
Her belief in excellence extends beyond the university too. She has juggled full-time work, a range of extra-curricular activities and volunteer work while completing her law degree.
Thrift reveals that her ambition is to go to the Bar, and with a successful clerkship at King & Wood Mallesons under her belt and a position as tipstaff at the Court of Appeal already lined up, Lawyers Weekly doesn’t think it will take her very long to get there.
Thrift was unable to attend the 2012 Women in Law Awards. Stephanie Puris from King & Wood Mallesons accepted the award on her behalf.