A day in the life of a Juris Doctor – Aleasha

22 Jul 2020 | 7 MINS

Hi, I’m Aleasha and I’m in my second year of my Juris Doctor (JD), about halfway through the program.

I chose this course because I knew I wanted to do a law degree, and I was initially set on doing the JD because I received a Direct Pathway into the Juris Doctor from high school. As I progressed through my undergraduate degree majoring in Law and Society, I realised the JD would be the right path for me for a few reasons. 

First, I knew the JD was designed for students who already had a university qualification, and who were 100% committed to a postgraduate degree in law. The course is very focused, streamlined, fast-paced and exciting. 

Second, the UWA Law School has a long history of successful graduates and has produced countless impressive lawyers, as well as other esteemed professionals and academics. 

Third, the JD is an internationally recognised qualification and a prerequisite to practise in the United States. 

Aleasha Sanchez-Lawson and JD girls 
Me and the JD girls at an International Women's Day Breakfast (I'm second from the left, in front)

 

Finally, the JD had opportunities I wanted to pursue, such as participating in the UWA Jessup Moot team.

UWA Jessup Moot team 
Our UWA Jessup Moot team (I'm second from the right)

My favourite part of being a JD student is absolutely the connections and friendships I’ve been able to form. Although that sounds clichéd, the JD really is a shared experience and I wouldn’t be able to thrive in this degree if I didn’t have such a compassionate and hilarious friendship network. Close connections are definitely fostered by the structure of the JD.

Aleasha Sanchez-Lawson at Law Ball

The first year of study is entirely made up of core units, where there is real opportunity for collaboration and getting to know your cohort. It is further fostered by the events run by the School and the Blackstone Society, especially the social events.  

I’ve also thoroughly enjoyed the JD as the Law School is brimming with lecturers, tutors and other academics who care deeply about refining our legal and critical thinking skills. I’ve learnt the immense value of logic and reasoning, which is applicable beyond a career in law.

Further, there are many inspiring and intelligent women in the School who encourage me not to settle for less and to continue to strive for true equality in the profession. 

My typical day

AM

My typical morning during semester involves a 6.45–7.00am wake-up so I can snag a good parking spot outside the Law School.

I’m the type of person who prefers studying at the library than at home, so I’ll be on campus on the days I’m not working – but that is by no means necessary. I’ll meet some friends at Bayside Kitchen for the first coffee of the day and then head to the Beasley Library or Reid Library

In the pre-COVID-19 world, we’d often have a face-to-face lecture in the morning. In breaks between classes, I’d do my assigned readings or tutorial preparation. Since COVID-19, our lectures have been pre-recorded and delivered online through the Lecture Capture System. Most of the lecturers record and upload smaller, more manageable clips so we don't have to sit there and churn through a straight two-hour lecture by ourselves!

Lunch

Aleasha Sanchez-Lawson eating lunch with friends on Oak Lawn

Lunch usually includes a circle on the grass at Oak Lawn in half-sun, half-shade to accommodate everyone’s temperature requirements (my friends can be picky). It is deeply important to avoid the swooping kookaburra, who many of my friends have fallen victim to. 

The lunchtime mark may also include a Blackstone event, as this is when most students are free to attend. This could be anything from a careers event where firms visit campus or a wellbeing event with free cupcakes. 

I’m the Academic Mentoring Director of the Blackstone Society and mentoring sessions also run around lunchtime. These give the first-year cohort the opportunity to receive academic and wellbeing support from older students also in the JD program. 

 

Aleasha Sanchez-Lawson at the Supreme Court

PM

It’s likely time for a second coffee at this point. I tutor undergraduate law units in the Business Law and Law and Society majors, and I may take one or two of these classes in the afternoon. I may also have a tutorial of my own.

JD classes are often in the early evening, as practitioners tutor many of the units and have to make their way to campus after work. 

 

 

After dark

Depending on the time of semester, my evenings can vary greatly. In exam time or assignment period, we’re still at the library after the sun goes down. My friends and I will usually walk to Broadway for a bite to eat. When I get home, I’ll watch episodes of The Office to wind down, so I can get a solid amount of sleep for the next day. 
I might be participating in an advocacy competition after dark, as there are co-curricular competitions that run in the evenings.

There are plenty of spots near UWA to meet friends for dinner after a day spent on campus. My favourites are Miss Chow’s, Grill’d and Vans Café.

Extra-curricular

Outside a typical day at university, I am a paralegal in a litigation team, which is really exciting. I work there one to two days a week. I also love to do escape rooms, go to book club and host themed dinner parties. 

Most importantly, I really cherish the quality time I get to spend with my family, my boyfriend and my other friend circles outside university. I also love to travel in the university breaks, both in Australia and internationally. 

Aleasha Sanchez-Lawson in Budapest

Travelling to Budapest pre-COVID-19

 

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