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My experience of a pre-law degree

From L-R: Hayley Tristram, Maria-Luisa Coulson, Steve Shaw, Amy Pascoe.

Murdoch Pre-Law and Law student Amy Pascoe shares her journey to becoming one of Western Australia’s leading costs practitioners.

Past student – and now a successful lawyer – Amy Pascoe graduated from Murdoch with a Bachelor of Laws with first-class honours in 2015 where she initially commenced her law journey through the Pre-Law program. She was admitted as a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Western Australia in 2016 and is currently working at Coulson Legal in Perth as an Associate Director/Senior Associate.

Amy’s area of law is often briefed in the late stages of the litigation process, where she is required to act on most matters urgently. Her day-to-day work varies, where she covers all aspects of practice including client liaison, briefs from law practices, advocacy, submissions, programming of matters and advice. 

“I generally work within party, party costs recovery and solicitor and client costs disputes. A large majority of our briefs are for matters within the Supreme Court of WA; however, we also are briefed in the Federal Court, District Court, international and domestic arbitrations.”

Amy was recently elected as a member of the Legal Practice Board of WA, and serves on both the Professional Affairs Committee, together with the Admissions and Registration Committee. She has served on the Law Society Costs Committee since 2016 and is currently the Deputy Convenor.

Studying pre-law at Murdoch

For Amy, studying pre-law helped kick-start her career in the legal profession as it provided her with the confidence in her abilities to undertake a law degree at university.

“The pre-law course helped me understand the expectations of a student in law school together with the knowledge of the unit outlines, course content and structure of assessments.”

During the course, not only did Amy realise she had what it takes for a career in the legal industry, but also that there were many other mature-aged students in the same position.

“Knowing I wasn’t alone in this journey and I had support from fellow students in a similar position was key in me finishing the course. I also made some great friends along the way.”

Amy found the process of applying for pre-law simple and the Academic Chair, Dr Steve Shaw to be friendly and approachable throughout the process.

“Steve Shaw was very friendly and very approachable when I started my pre-law journey. He was my first contact and I was very comfortable attempting the pre-law course with him as my lecturer.”

Continuing her relationship with Murdoch after study

On completion of the course, Amy received the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Academic Excellence and was granted a PhD scholarship to continue her studies. She continues to maintain a close relationship with Murdoch and is a lecturer in the Costs unit, which has run annually as an intensive elective unit since 2016.

“I am extremely passionate about educating both practitioners and law students on the importance of costs which is an important and complex area that every practitioner, no matter which jurisdiction they practice in needs to know.”

Amy has had numerous papers published and regularly lectures on costs issues at professional development seminars in Western Australia, including on behalf of the Law Society of Western Australia and Legalwise Seminars.


Interested to kick-start your law career? Find out more about our Pre-Law degree.
Posted on:

2 Jun 2021

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