Updating Results

Australian National University (ANU)

  • 36% international / 64% domestic

Natasha Ritchie

I am currently studying a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice. I am a full time student and working full time as well. 

What did you study at undergraduate level and when did you graduate? What are you studying now? Are you studying and working at the same time?

I studied a Bachelor of Laws & Bachelor of International Relations (double degree) and graduated in 2018. I am currently studying a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice at the Australian National University. I am a full time student and working full time as well. 

What have been the most important stages of your life?

The most important stages of my life have been the two exchange semesters I took abroad; one to Indonesia, and one to Amsterdam in The Netherlands. I also took a leave of absence from study during my second year of university to travel and work in South East Asia and Europe. These periods of time led to a lot of personal development and growth.

Working in various roles (some voluntary and some paid) in a range of settings (commercial, not-for-profit, government) before I graduated was vital for my career and sense of direction.

How did you get to your current (or most recent) job position and how long have you been working there?

I am currently on a long term secondment as a consultant; I've been in this role for almost 6 months.

What made you decide to progress with further study?

I decided to progress further with my studies as it is a requirement to become a fully qualified lawyer. While practicing as a lawyer isn't one of my immediate aspirations, I'd like to have the option to do so in the future if my plans change. I decided to undertake the Graduate Diploma now while I'm used to the rigors and routine of studying, rather than having an extended break while focusing on my policy job and then being required to get back into the swing of study later on.

How did you choose your particular further study course (compared to others)? / Were you weighing up any alternative degrees or career pathways before choosing this qualification?

I chose this course as the university has a good reputation and the course was able to be delivered in a way that suits my lifestyle; I'm working full time and managing a not-for-profit so I needed flexibility in course delivery. I looked at studying the Masters of Legal Practice, and looked at the same course through different institutions but ultimately felt this was the best fit.

What was the process to get accepted into your course? What were the prerequisites?

I was required to have completed a law degree (or be in my final semester). The application process involved me providing proof of the prerequisites and providing a brief personal statement of intent. The process was simple and easy to navigate. I don't remember it being difficult at all, which was a relief!

What does your study involve? Can you describe a typical day? (if it’s difficult to describe a typical day, tell us about the last thing you worked on?)

It is difficult to describe a typical day, as a lot of my study is delivered and assessed online. Usually the lecturers for a subject will make online content available such as mini-lectures and reading lists. I spend about 30 minutes a day studying this material. There is a very quick turnaround time between new material and assessment so I have to ensure I am staying up to date. There is also a lot of group work involved so I spend a lot of time using google docs with my team!

Will this course be beneficial in your career? Where could you or others in your position go from here? Please explain your answer.

My course will be beneficial in my career, but mostly as a check-box sanctification measure. I need to have this qualification to practice, and it is relevant really only to those interested in legal practice. I am learning a lot of the more administrative and practical aspects of the law that weren't covered in my degree, but I do feel that my placements/clerkships taught me what I am now, learning through the course. 

What do you love the most about your course? 

I love the flexibility of time, which means I am able to work full time and manage other commitments while still studying. The use of online multimedia tools is great because it means the information is accessible in a variety of formats and you can choose to learn in your preferred style - for me I like to watch short videos and read a lot.

What are the limitations of your course?

The limitations are that the course is a required qualification and is attempting to accommodate people with extremely varying levels of experience. I have had a lot of practical legal experience and sometimes it feels as though the content is basic/going over things I feel law graduates should already know.

Which three pieces of advice would you give to a current undergraduate student? They don’t necessarily have to be related to your studies, or even to one’s professional life.

  1. Do your research about career options early! Don't rely on any institution to provide information for you. Use your initiative.
  2. Find placements, volunteer work and get experience! Get out there early and be prepared to work many roles, for many hours (often unpaid). Everyone who graduates has a degree.. to stand out you need experience.
  3. Marks aren't everything. I've never been asked for my transcript for the purposes of my GPA. Sure, some organisations really value that, but in my line of work its about what I bring in terms of experience, values and work ethic rather than a number from my degree.