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Student spotlight: The ‘limitless’ opportunities with a law degree

4 September 2020
Highlights of studying law at Sydney
Adam Herman talks about why he chose to study at Sydney Law School, the ‘limitless’ opportunities available to law students, and the advantages of online study.

Sydney Law School student, Adam Herman

Why did you choose Sydney Law School?

My decision to study at The University of Sydney was based on two factors: (a) its academic standing, and (b) its campus culture and community.

I was looking to start a career in media and law, and the University of Sydney is really well-regarded in both of those subject areas worldwide.

Over the years, the value of coming here has been immense; having access to the best experts in these fields and having the opportunity to network with the movers and shakers in the industry. For instance, I distinctly remember being taught by Justice of the High Court on my second week at University – and for me, this was a fantastic experience, which is seldom replicated anywhere else.
Law student, Adam Herman

Equally, I wanted to go somewhere that had a fun, collaborative and community-like atmosphere on campus. After visiting a number of Open Days and Info Days throughout high school, it was clear that the University of Sydney had exactly what I was looking for. The friends I’ve made at Uni are amazing, and having those support networks is really important to me. The clubs and societies have been a great way to meet lifelong friends, network with industry professionals and learn leadership skills. 

What are the highlights of your studies at Sydney Law School?

The opportunities here feel limitless.
Adam Herman

I’ve been fortunate to have had a range of opportunities and awards come my way at Sydney Law School.

I am a Sydney Scholars Award holder. After applying in Year 12, this award and scholarship was a fantastic way to celebrate coming to University, and over the years has enabled a range of other activities and overseas trips which may have not been possible otherwise.

In 2019, I was Treasurer at the Sydney University Law Society (SULS), which is Australia’s oldest, largest and most active law student society and has an annual turnover of over $150,000. As a 20 year old student, there aren’t many scenarios in which you’re held with the responsibility of being an Office Bearer of a registered charity with reporting obligations to several government departments.

How would you describe the quality of teaching at the Law School?

We’re very privileged to have access to quite literally the leaders, trailblazers, and most celebrated individuals in Australian and international legal circles.
Law student, Adam Herman

Many of my current and past lecturers and professors have practised law for many decades in public and private practice; and some are decorated judges of prominent state and federal courts. Having these incredibly experienced perspectives on hand when you’re learning the most fundamental parts of law was indispensable, and really helped to solidify my understanding of formative legal principles.

Questions always go resolved, and feedback is high quality and specific. Teachers are there to tease your understanding, and always invite the opportunity for students to ask questions and challenge understandings and interpretations of law. 

How have your overseas study opportunities helped shape your career direction?

Adam Herman in Beijing

In 2018, I studied at the London School of Economics and Political Science Summer School. And, I travelled back to London in 2019 to do an Industry and Community Projects unit program, with key University partners Accenture and HSBC UK, where we were tasked with responding to a real-world problem being faced by these firms. At the end of the program, we provided a case study and proposed solution to C-suite executives – which was a fantastic exercise of problem-solving and teamwork.

In 2018, I travelled to Peking University to do an introductory Mandarin course in Beijing, China, as part of the University’s Open Learning Environment (OLE) offering. This was an incredible experience where we were immersed in the local language, culture and customs while studying at China’s top university.

These experiences have informed my aspirations for my future career in law. I’d love to split my time working in Australia and the UK, helping organisations resolve their difficult cross-border disputes and transactions in commercial law.

How does it feel to be part of the USYD community?

The community, whether on-campus or online, is strong. I genuinely feel part of a wider community of individuals who are passionate about what they’re studying and want to make an impact on the world.

In my own experiences, this community materialises in always having friend networks to reach out to whenever I’m struggling with a concept or reading, need a bit of help in locating a legal resource, or need a reminder about an upcoming assignment. These support networks are an enormous help throughout law school.

What are the benefits of work and study?

Adam Herman

I work as a Paralegal at Afterpay, an ASX20 financial technology leader. I find myself engaging with the law most when I’m able to put it in practice, and working while studying is the best way to do it. It is so rewarding to apply a commercial legal principle a matter of days after learning it at university, and later on I’m definitely performing better in assessments as a result of having absorbed the concept at a deeper level in practice. 


Adam's online study insights and advice

I had a degree of apprehension when classes moved to online delivery. Now that we have experienced almost a full semester through online delivery, I am pleased with how they are running.

We have access to our same academics and content, and class sizes have remained as small and intimate as ever.

Tutors and Professors have remained open and willing to interactivity, and welcome questions through Zoom calls, so any areas of ambiguity are always cleared up in classes. A number of my tutors have also recreated their consultation so one-on-one help is always available.

To me, flexibility is the main benefit. In Semester 2 we were given the option to do either online or in-person classes, and I decided to choose online primarily for the greater flexibility. Online classes allow me to reclaim my commute time, slot classes in amongst my work day, and control my own schedule.

I think law is one of the areas of study which does not suffer detriment through virtual instruction – given the bulk of the course content is written material, and most learning happens through discussion among peers and the analysis of problem questions. These tasks work very well on videoconferencing tools.

Speaking from first-hand experience, there is almost no down-side to online classes. I wouldn’t have elected to continue doing Semester 2 virtually if I had thought otherwise.

Given that a lot of the on-campus experience has moved online, the feeling of community and camaraderie remains strong – we’re all one team at Law School, and having those networks remain solid and supportive as ever has been a great help in getting me through assessment and exam period digitally.

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