As I sit writing this I'm on a train heading north, en route to meet my wee aunt Myra for a couple of days in Fort William, we'll take a stab at ascending Ben Nevis and no doubt have a good laugh while we're at it. The sun's shining outside and I'm feeling quite relaxed. That said, there's something tickling the back of my mind, it's telling me not to get too comfortable, which is probably a good thing. You see this trip is probably the last chance I'll get to relax for the next nine months.
Next week I'm back to uni and for the following nine months I'll be Drew Long, honours student, law clinic advisor and part time croupier, in that order. It's going to be a lot of work and will mean that I don't have too much free time. One of the blessings of the way my uni does things is it allows me to make my work at the clinic directly relevant to my studies. As part of my honours syllabus I've chosen to study "Ethics and Justice", a class ran by the law clinic director, Prof. Donald Nicolson, which awards credits for integrating case work done at the clinic with reflective essays on the ethical implications and issues raised by the work. This class represents what I hope will be a perfect blend of the practical, theoretical and academic side of a career in law.
I have been assured by other students that this is by no means an easy class, the reading list is extensive and the degree of weekly preparation required is not for the faint hearted. . . . challenge accepted! (I'll suit up if any of my cases go to court). Despite this I am looking forward to this class more than any other. I relish the prospect of being encouraged to look at real world, concrete examples of legal work, assessing it in terms of its ethical implications then looking at how this should affect legal practice.
I began my studies prior to the introduction of the clinical LL.B programme, something which I would have been very keen to be a part of. With this in mind I was delighted to find that this class, an integral part of the clinical LL.B, was open to those of us not on the the clinical programme. The ethos of the clinic is a good one and I'm proud to be involved with its work. By doing practical legal work for those unable to afford representation, then making an effort to view it dispassionately from a considered academic, ethical and moral point of view I hope to start forging a professional identity which I can be truly proud of. It surely can't be a bad thing that in so doing I can earn credits towards my degree.