News + Views

Past RMIT JD students: Jack Faine

Jack Faine completed the RMIT JD in 2017. We had a chat with him to see what she's been up to since.

When did you graduate, what have you been up to since then?

I graduated at the end of 2017. In March 2018 I started as a Trainee at Maurice Blackburn. I have just finished 6 months in the Employment and Industrial Section of the firm, working on a range of discrimination, Fair Work Act and public law matters

Tell us a little bit about your career journey and why you decided to pursue a law degree?

Prior to studying law I worked in a school-based education program in remote Western Australia for a couple of years. The program I was working for lost its funding and I realised that I need to take the opportunity whilst I was young to get further qualifications. I decided on law as it provided a broad base of skills. This was more of a pragmatic/practical decision as I wasn’t sure which direction I was going to take in my career.

How well did the RMIT JD prepare you for your career?

RMIT and the CIJ go to exceptional lengths to accommodate students and to help them gain experience in their particular areas of interest. I benefited greatly from this approach to university and I am very appreciative of the experiences I gained. For example, when I discussed my interest in criminal law with teachers they put me in touch with someone working in the criminal jurisdiction to follow to court for a few days. If I had shown interest in music/copyright law I could have taken a subject doing an internship at a Media Arts law firm. The law can be boring and somewhat impenetrable and without the opportunities to explore the pockets that interest you it can be overwhelming. I am grateful to RMIT and the CIJ for the flexibility and the help to find those pockets of interest.

What involvement did you have with CIJ while studying?

I was in a privileged position to only have to work part-time whilst studying, which allowed me the time to participate in a bunch of really great programs run by the CIJ. The best programs I participated in included placement with a Magistrate in Geelong, a placement at the Mental Health Legal Centre (which involved regular visits to the women’s prison at Dame Phyllis Frost Centre) and the trip to New Zealand to have a look at the incredible innovative programs running within their justice system. I can’t recommend the CIJ programs enough. If you have the time, get involved as it’s an opportunity to get first-hand experience that is otherwise unattainable

Is there anything that surprised you about working in the legal sector?

The political and legal system is stacked against those that are down on their luck and I’m amazed by the resilience of our clients at MB to persevere despite their difficult circumstances. I’m also constantly surprised at how energised those working at Defendant firms are to get out of bed each morning and fight for insurance companies to make life a little more difficult for people that are having rough trot.

If you had one piece of advice to give law students, what would that be?

Do things because you enjoy them or want to try them out and explore that area of the law/work. Life is too short to do things only as a means to an end, so don’t worry about how it looks on the CV – my experience is that genuine interests and experiences come across stronger in interviews anyway.