John-Patrick Asimakis is the 2021 recipient of the Peter Cameron Sydney Oxford Scholarship.
As the recipient, John-Patrick has headed to the UK to undertake postgraduate studies at the University of Oxford where he will study a Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL).
The BCL is renowned as the most rigorous Masters-level law degree in the common law world. I am looking forward to making the most of the outstanding teaching that will be on offer.
What was John-Patrick’s pathway to receiving such a competitive and renowned scholarship?
John-Patrick’s academic accomplishments as a Bachelor of Laws student included being the 2019 University Medallist in Law and receiving numerous academic prizes. He was also a reporter, volunteer, and skilled mooter. And he graduated with honours.
In 2018, John-Patrick and his team were crowned National Champions of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition. He was also named best oralist in the Australian grand final and 15th best oralist globally.
In 2021, John-Patrick transitioned from competing to coach, and he successfully coached the Sydney team who were crowned Jessup Moot World Champions.
Speaking in the High Court in Canberra and winning the National Championship of the Jessup Moot is an experience I will never forget. Coaching Sydney’s 2021 Jessup team and the immense elation I felt when the team won the World Championship would also count among my fondest memories of my time at Sydney Law School.
While managing the demands of studying law, John-Patrick contributed to the Wingara Mura-Bunga Barrabugu Summer Program at Sydney Law School, mentoring Indigenous high school students. He was a reporter for The University of Sydney’s student newspaper Honi Soit, volunteered at not-for-profit organisation Newtown Mission, and was vice-president of the Sydney University Amnesty International Society.
He was also a Research Assistant at the Law School where he contributed to the Financial Services Human Rights Benchmark.
To add to his impressive list of achievements, John-Patrick speaks four modern languages, and knows Latin and Classical Greek.
We spoke to John-Patrick about his time at Sydney Law School and his future plans.
I didn’t think there was any better Law School in the country. Sydney’s long list of impressive alumni who have made their mark on the law and on civil society, its excellent academics involved in teaching and supervision, and its reputation for a thorough doctrinal approach to legal study all appealed to me.
I was not disappointed in my expectations.
Undertaking Law Honours gave me the opportunity to design my own research project, benefit from expert supervision and work independently to draft a thesis in the area of international civil aviation law, which is soon to be published.
Being awarded the University Medal for Law at the conclusion of my degree was a tremendous thrill.
I feel absolutely honoured to have been awarded this scholarship. Without the generous support the scholarship provides, studying at Oxford would simply not be possible for me.
The significance of being interviewed by the Governor as well as by a representative of the Cameron family and members of the profession and the academy was not lost on me, and I feel privileged to be able to follow in the footsteps of several Sydney alumni whose study at Oxford this scholarship has enabled.
I genuinely loved my undergraduate studies in law.
At the risk of sounding cynical, I don’t think all or even most law students could honestly say that. So pursuing further study in law is something that has always appealed to me.
My plan is to practise law, and to continue contributing to legal study by writing and teaching. I hope also to maintain an international dimension in my future work to the extent possible.
Try to engage sincerely with and enjoy your legal studies, and not to get caught up in the competitiveness that too often blemishes the degree and the job market. Get to know your teachers and ask them for advice and recommendations, realise there are many career opportunities beyond clerkships, and take any chance that comes your way to start getting practical legal experience. Also be open minded about where you may end up. There are lots of career paths which someone with a law degree can fruitfully pursue.