UQ Law Mentor of the Year Dan Ryan and law student Kah Hey Loh who nominated him.
UQ Law Mentor of the Year Dan Ryan and law student Kah Hey Loh who nominated him.
21 May 2012

After helping a Malaysian law student “enormously” in her transition from the classroom to the world of legal practice, Barrister Dan Ryan has been named The University of Queensland’s Law Mentor of the Year.

Chief Justice of Queensland, The Honourable Paul de Jersey AC presented the prestigious award at the TC Beirne School of Law Awards Ceremony at Customs House on May 16.

The award recognises the valuable contribution to the TC Beirne School of Law by its alumni and legal professionals who volunteer their time as part of the UQ Law Mentor Program.

The program assists Bachelor of Laws students to cope with the challenges of law study and to negotiate the difficult transition from law school to the legal workplace by providing mentoring and career guidance.

Fourth year UQ law student Kah Hey Loh nominated Mr Ryan, who works as a barrister at Fullagar Chambers in Brisbane.

She said Mr Ryan helped “enormously”, by easing the transition from university to legal practice, and in developing a better understanding of Australian culture.

“He equipped me with useful study methods and advice about my legal career,” Ms Loh said.

“Through this program, I have been exposed to the practical aspects of my legal studies, which brings me closer to the working world.”

Mr Ryan praised the mentorship program for enabling students to forge relationships with practicing legal professionals that can have an impact on all facets of a student’s life.

“The real benefit of mentoring is getting to know each other in a one-on-one environment,” he said.

“This mentoring program makes available a deep well of experience which students may draw upon at any time.”

“It is a wonderful initiative of the UQ Law School. It brings advantages to students and it gives us the satisfaction of giving something of ourselves to the next generation of lawyers. And they enrich us in return.”

Dr Nick James, Director of Teaching and Learning at UQ’s TC Beirne School of Law, said the program was particularly helpful for students from non-English speaking backgrounds and those who did not have personal connections to the local legal profession.

“A lack of such a connection undermines the effectiveness of the legal education they receive,” Dr James said.

“Being mentored by a legal practitioner provides law students with a role model who can offer insight into the law and its operation in practice; guidance when making study and career choices, and professional networking opportunities.”

“A lack of personal connection with the legal profession can also be a source of considerable anxiety for law students, so the mentor program is an innovative and effective solution to overcome this particular learning challenge.”

Since its launch in 2007, over 400 students have benefitted from mentoring provided by more than 100 local, interstate and international solicitors, barristers, judges, associates, registrars and academics.

It has also been selected as one of UQ’s nominees for the 2012 Australian Awards for University Teaching (AAUT) Awards for Programs that Enhance Learning, in the Widening Participation category.

Media: Dr Nick James (07 336 56657, n.james@law.uq.edu.au) or Melissa Reynolds, School of Law Marketing, (07 3365 2523, m.reynolds@law.uq.edu.au).