Making the most of it
In her final year, this student's time at UTS exemplifies how to take advantage of everything our Law degree has to offer.
Margaret Cai has packed a lot into her years studying a double degree in Law and Communication (Social and Political Sciences) at UTS.
From competing overseas in the Oxford Intellectual Property Moot to being elected President of the Australian Law Students Society, she has made the most of every opportunity and become a valuable member of the UTS Law community.
Margaret admits that when she began as an 18-year-old almost 6 years ago, she had a fairly simple and clinical approach to university:
My intention was to study hard, make some friends, and graduate after five years with two degrees that I'd probably forget about after I used them to land my first job.
Her university life did not go according to this simple plan. She has most definitely achieved the good grades; tracking to finish with a Distinction/High Distinction average but Margaret has accomplished so much more than her 18-year-old self ever imagined.
By throwing herself into almost every event and extra-curricular activity on offer, she turned her university life into an impressive, rewarding and life-changing experience.
In fact, her record of involvement reads like an almost exhaustive list of what UTS Law has to offer.
Margaret joined the Brennan Program which fosters a commitment to social justice, equity and service to the community; she competed in national and international mooting competitions and was a part of the three-person team which made it to the semi-finals of the Oxford Intellectual Property Moot in 2019.
Her interest in legal technology saw her compete in the annual Allens Neota Tech Challenge where student teams design apps to help not-for-profit organisations with their work.
She was also a student ambassador, a member of the UTS Law Students Society executive team and volunteered for both the peer mentoring program and as a coach and judge for faculty based competitions.
As the current president of the Australian Law Students Association, Margaret has worked with her colleagues to make significant changes:
We have expanded the ALSA from a knowledge-sharing body to one which prioritises advocacy and student opportunities - including establishing the association as a key stakeholder in legal education as well as in initiatives to deal with mental health and bullying and sexual harassment in the profession.
Margaret is the recipient of this year’s Faculty of Law Dean’s Service Award and also appears on the inaugural Dean’s Merit List which recognises students who have demonstrated consistent achievement across all areas of study.
The Law Faculty’s Associate Dean (Education) Maxine Evers says in many ways, Margaret is a role model:
As a law student, Margaret has excelled in each of the core elements of University life; academic study, extracurricular activities, social justice initiatives and engagement with the law school and the broader community.
But it hasn’t been all plain sailing. Early this year Margaret suffered an acute autoimmune condition which left her stressed, tired and lethargic. It also triggered dramatic hair loss.
However, she’s pushing through and is working to complete her Honours thesis which explores technology, intellectual property laws and online trade mark practices.
After that, it’s into the professional legal world – Margaret has already been selected in a graduate program and will take up a position with global law firm, King and Wood Mallesons (KWM) in 2021.
Whatever happens in her future career, Margaret says she’ll always be indebted to the Faculty and the unique features of UTS Law:
The people you encounter are generous with their time, the study environment is one where curiosity and teamwork help you thrive. And from the very first day, there’s a social justice imperative that drives our community. These are the hallmarks of the culture at UTS Law.