Dean's Merit List 2020: Recognising ‘all-round’ merit
The Dean’s Merit List Award recognises and rewards the outstanding academic achievements of students.
The learning environment and support provided at UTS Law pushes me to become a better student, and being a part of this inaugural list is an achievement that will continue to inspire me.
– Olivia Wakeling
To me, the award brings great satisfaction, as it feels like my efforts across my studies are being acknowledged and celebrated.
– Lydia Watson-Moore
Olivia and Lydia are two of the 90 current and graduating Law students recognised in this year’s inaugural Dean’s Merit List for Academic Excellence.
It’s always been a tradition to reward students who achieve the best results in their subject areas but last year the Law Faculty decided to broaden this recognition to acknowledge ‘all-rounders’; the students who work consistently and perform well across all their studies.
Merit List recipients are students who have achieved a weighted average mark (WAM) of 80 in all their completed study – effectively gaining a Distinction average overall.
Law Dean Professor Lesley Hitchens says it’s about acknowledging sustained commitment:
Achieving the highest results in a subject will continue to be important but the Merit List allows us to recognise students who demonstrate consistency in study and performance across the year.
Naomi McKeown spent many years in the corporate world before she came to UTS to study the Graduate Diploma in Migration Law and Practice (MLP) and enjoyed her studies so much that she enrolled in the Juris Doctor (JD).
She has excelled across both courses and appears on the Merit List twice.
Naomi says she feels very fortunate:
I have an extremely supportive family and I know they are proud. That makes the inevitable sacrifices they have made - especially during my assessments and exam time - worth it. I think it also sends an important message to my young children that effort does not go unnoticed.
Margaret Cai has packed a lot into her time as a Law student at UTS both in her studies and with her co-curricular involvement across a range of activities including the Brennan program and Mooting competitions. She’s also the current President of the Australian Law Students Society.
Margaret says the Merit List recognition is rewarding especially as she is about to finish her degree:
I look to the Dean and many of the Law Faculty members as examples of the kind of people I aspire to be within the community and the legal profession. Although the award represents recognition of what the recipient has achieved, I hope my commitments - within and outside of UTS - actually reflect how privileged and proud I have felt to be a UTS Law student.
Adam Silver is a recent graduate and is now working at Allens. He says while studying Law at UTS was its own reward, he’s grateful for the recognition:
Although enjoying my law degree was ultimately more important than the marks I received, it is still great to know that all the hours dedicated to conquering law readings and sweating through final exams paid off in the end.
Tomas Kemmery* is in the graduate program at Herbert-Smith Freehills. He believes employers would rate a Merit List recipient highly and he also appreciates the collegiality of being recognised with his peers.
I think inclusion on the List demonstrates to employers that a student has strong results across the board. For new graduates, this type of consistency of performance and cross-disciplinary aptitude is important - perhaps even more so than specialist knowledge.
Law firm, King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) is one of UTS Law’s industry partners. National Manager Graduate Resourcing, Sam Garner says there are definite advantages for students who have shown achievement across a broad range of areas:
We are always impressed with individuals who, through commitment and resilience, have demonstrated their ability to identify and achieve goals they have set for themselves. We would congratulate any student who is recognised on a Law Dean’s Merit List.
All Dean's Merit List recipients receive a Certificate of Award and the List will continue to be a feature of the annual UTS Law Awards Ceremony.
*Tomas Kemmery received the University Medal for Law and other students in this article also received other awards. Read the full list of Law Award recipients.