UTS Law celebrates its 40th anniversary
Professor Lesley Hitchens:
2017 marks the 40th anniversary of our first enrollments. Tonight, we celebrate our beginnings and we look forward to our future.
When I started kindergarten, I actually didn't know how to speak English. I was that little Asian kid who didn't know what was going on. It has inspired me to study law and pursue a career in law because I know what it feels like to be the little guy. I want to help the little guy out and I will be a voice in the community.
Do we not run the risk of concealing those that have fallen through the cracks? I can say with conviction that I need not ever worry about such concerns here at UTS.
Flexibility was really why I chose to study at UTS. It meant that I was able to be the first in my family to graduate from a university. I guess by contributing to that scholarship it helps me match my love of education and UTS.
Catherine Livingstone AO:
There will be some pretty tough questions that we have to face as a society, so the universities, I think, can play a significant role in identifying some of those ethical questions ahead of time and looking at the institutional frameworks that will possibly allow us to have a more constructive debate.
Professor Lesley Hitchens:
So, please join me in welcoming to the stage UTS Law's very first graduate. The Honerable Justice Tricia Kavanagh and UTS Law's 15,000th graduate Robert Chen.
Tricia and Robert represent the diversity, the achievements and aspirations of all our alumni. We congratulate our global community, our 15,000 alumni contributing to society across a range of sectors and industries.
Thank you so much for being part of the UTS Law story.
UTS’s Faculty of Law has this year marked its 40th anniversary as a law school; celebrating 40 years since it began delivering lectures at UTS’s precursor – the New South Wales Institute of Technology – in 1977.
Held at the UTS Aerial Function Centre, last Thursday’s 40th anniversary event saw 300 alumni, staff, former staff and friends of the faculty gather to celebrate the occasion.
Since its establishment in 1977, the faculty has gone from strength to strength to be ranked as the #43 law school in the world – despite being less than 50 years old. It has received recognition for its dynamic approach to legal education, which favours innovation, practical experience and a flexible study load.
Professor Lesley Hitchens, current Dean of UTS Faculty of Law, used her keynote speech to reflect on the school’s history and the milestones that have shaped its current success.
“We are still a relatively young, and a relatively small law school, but we’ve always been ready to evolve and innovate,” she said.
“We were the first law school in New South Wales to introduce a Juris Doctor program, the first university in Sydney to offer an accredited PLT program; we’re home to three innovative research centres and we have an enviable research reputation that is renowned for its real world impact. These are just a few of the things we are celebrating here tonight.”
Speaker 1: For me, being a UTS alumni means being really proud, actually.
Speaker 2: UTS Law is a launch pad for future careers to do anything.
Speaker 3: To me, UTS means a bright future with diverse opportunities engaging in many different fields and not just law in a siloed capacity.
Speaker 4: It's combining technology and law. And it's uniquely placed in the market to do that.
Speaker 5: A combination of energy, passion, a commitment to social justice, a sense of opportunity for students.
Speaker 6: Great friendships. A really supportive environment and a world class education.
Speaker 7: UTS gave me opportunity, I ran with it and it's wonderful to have an opportunity to say, "Thank you."
Speaker 1: We're 40 years old, if you like, tonight. We're 40 years young is the way I think about it. And it's just something to be really proud of. And there's so much more future for UTS Law.
The faculty’s ground-breaking flexible study conditions – including reduced study loads and night time classes – has meant the school has traditionally been home to an older cohort.
“When the law school began, we were unique because we offered greater access – through our flexibility – to students,” said Professor Hitchens. “It opened the study of law to an entirely new, mature cohort.”
Despite a change in student profile; now made up of more school leavers, the faculty is still just as committed to access and opportunity. On the night, Law Equity Scholarship recipients Fatma Alameddine and James Tran took to the stage to discuss how the monetary scholarship had afforded them the opportunity to pursue a career in law.
Today, UTS Law has an impressive community of graduates – many of which work in a leadership capacity across the legal and judiciary sector. Recently, the faculty celebrated the graduation of Juris Doctor student Robert Chen – the 15,000th person to graduate from UTS Law.
Robert was joined by UTS Law’s 1st alumna, the Hon Justice Tricia Kavanagh, at the event. Both were commended for their accomplishments and commitment to justice. “Tricia and Robert represent the breadth and depth, the diversity and attributes, the achievements and aspirations of all our alumni,” said Professor Hitchens.
With solid foundations already in place, Professor Hitchens said the forward-thinking faculty was just getting started. Like always, it was looking for the next opportunity to evolve and tackle the changing nature of legal work.
Referencing the new Legal Futures and Technology major, available to all commencing undergraduate students in 2018, Professor Hitchens said the faculty was “reflecting on its successes but looking forward”.
“We want to remain leaders in providing our students with an education that will set them up for the future,” she said. “The faculty fits well into a university of technology, because it is technology that is having a profound effect on law and on the way it is practised and accessed. This is our future too – both for education and our research.”
The faculty’s future focus is set to get a matching exterior, as plans move ahead for Law’s relocation to the new – and decidedly modern – Building 2 in 2019.