UQ Law Awards honour its legal stars

Almost 200 students from Queensland’s oldest law school have been recognised for their diverse achievements at an award ceremony at Brisbane’s Customs House.

Head of School and Dean of Law Professor Sarah Derrington said The University of Queensland’s TC Beirne School of Law encouraged students to strive for greatness across all areas of student life.

UQ Law Awards honour its legal stars
At the UQ Law Awards (Photo: UQ)

“Our annual Law Awards honour students who embody excellence in many different forms,” Professor Derrington said.

“We celebrate the diversity of the cohort by recognising students who have achieved outstanding academic results, created positive change through pro bono legal work, and earned scholarships aligned with their passions and accomplishments.”

Among those recognised were UQ Law School’s first Leadership, Excellence and Diversity (LEAD) scholars. Professor Derrington said awards such as the LEAD Scholarships gave students opportunities they would not ordinarily have access to.

“As a law school in the world’s top 50, it’s so important to create these opportunities for the next generation of legal minds—particularly gifted students who face hurdles such as the cost of living while studying.”

Professor Derrington acknowledged the high volume of student pro bono work and community outreach, with more than 140 students awarded for their contributions in this space.

Pro Bono Centre volunteer and academic prize winner Priam Rangiah said she felt privileged to be recognised.

“The UQ law program is challenging, but receiving my awards makes all the hard work feel worthwhile,” she said.

“It has also been fascinating to work with the Pro Bono Centre. I’m currently working on a report comparing the constitutions of several Asia-Pacific countries—something I would never have been exposed to otherwise.”

December 2016 Valedictorian Sam Walpole, who won three academic prizes, said it was a great honour to round out his degree with acknowledgement from his teachers and mentors.

“It’s a fantastic way to cap off six very interesting years,” he said. “I came to UQ with no background in the law or real contacts in the profession. I’m very grateful to the school for giving me my introduction to law as a discipline and profession.

“I had the opportunity to learn from several academic staff, moot overseas, get involved in student societies and research and, above all, learn a lot about the law and pick up broader skills I can use in the community.”

UQ law alumnus and Vice-Chairman of Deutsche Bank Australia Mr Steven Skala said studying law at UQ was the springboard for much of his illustrious career, and implored students to fulfil their potential and live meaningful lives.

Professor Derrington said the awards were also an opportunity to acknowledge the quality of the school’s teaching staff and the significant contribution made by its alumni and friends, whose donations made many of the awards possible.

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