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Latest News & Events

In Brief

Sliding doors, common goals

Some of you may remember the crucial scene in the film Sliding Doors, as Gwyneth Paltrow’s character charges towards a London tube – down the stairs, across the platform, squeezing through the train door in the nick of time… or, in the alternate universe arriving a second later, and the doors slide closed in front of her. The film, billed as a romantic comedy, has a deeper narrative about how random events can fundamentally influence our lives. It also highlights that the choices we make in response to events can be as decisive for the future as the events themselves.

In Brief

If you go down to the café today…

I’m sure that many of you have seen the picture circulating on social media of the Parisian café with giant teddy bears strategically placed to ensure social distancing. If you haven’t, you can read about it here. The bears sit at tables, apparently in mid-conversation, with cutlery, glasses and serviettes laid out before them. The humans in the café seem almost as interlopers in this Ursidae gathering of brown fluffiness. I was captivated by the photo I saw – I was impressed with the café owner’s inventiveness which made physical distancing seem a bit less alienating, and intrigued by my reaction, and others who commented on social media about it.

In Brief

Where to from here?

We can all be forgiven, I think, for being a little dispirited this week.

Just when we thought that we were out of the woods, with infection rates dropping and some normality returning to life, it now feels a bit like our isolation is becoming indefinite. I’m sure I echo the sentiments of many members when I say that I understand why we need to remain working from home, but I’m very tired of it!

In Brief

On respect

Some of you might have watched the Netflix series, ‘Last Dance’, about Michael Jordan, the Chicago Bulls and the incredible journey that he and his teammates shared that culminated in Jordan’s retirement after their successful campaign in the 1998 NBA Finals.  Many things struck me about the story that unfolded in this series. The Bulls were successful – not just because they had a bunch of talented players, but because they had a bunch of talented players who respected each other enormously and wanted team, as opposed to individual, glory. And the person who drove that culture was perhaps the greatest basketballer of all time.

In Brief

The difference we can all make

Making a difference does not always mean undertaking grand gestures. Often, people make a difference to others through simple deeds that provide relief and hope. In Australia, there are many people in need of help – those disadvantaged because of poverty, social isolation, low literacy levels or discrimination. These factors often result in people being unable to exercise their fundamental human rights, including access to justice.

In Brief

What success looks like

No doubt, you have all heard of the iceberg illusion. Icebergs can appear smaller than their actual size because they have two parts: the top is visible above the ocean’s surface with the larger part hidden below. The iceberg illusion is also commonly used as a metaphor to describe the real nature of success. An achievement is visible to all, but the successful outcome masks the real work behind the scenes – the planning, hard work, dedication and perseverance it took to get there. In other words, we see a degree, but not the countless assignments; we see the gold medal, but not the hours of training; we see the court win, but not the late nights preparing and crafting strong legal arguments.

In Brief

It won’t happen to me

Cyber horror stories. We share them regularly. The unsuspecting victim receives a “phishing” email. It looks like it’s from a company that already has their data and wants the victim to verify his or her details. The victim visits the verification link contained in the email. He/she is prompted to enter his or her login information into a fake verification form. After obtaining the victim’s ID and password, all hell breaks loose. Other horror stories are less sinister but no less damaging. The PhD student whose thesis is “lost” because it’s not backed up properly and the hard drive dies.

In Brief

Surviving in Ambiguity

I remember an amusing quip from an 80s' sitcom, where an old Italian lady begins a story about overcoming her impoverished childhood with the line, “It was the worst of times…it was the worst of times”. The audience’s ensuing laughter is a tacit recognition of the cleverly deliberate distortion of the opening line of Charles Dicken’s novel A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”.

In Brief

Opportunities lost and found

#StayApartTogether is a popular hashtag that has inspired many communities to pool their resources even as they remain physically distant during the COVID-19 pandemic.

I have seen many instances of VicBar members staying apart but being together over the past two months, as we’ve navigated from opportunities lost to those found.

In Brief

Supporting the Community, the Courts and the Profession

This week has been a momentous one for the Victorian Bar. Yesterday, we welcomed 48 bright, exceptional and enthusiastic individuals as new barristers. Individually, they opted to join the Bar to continue their careers serving their clients and the community in our college of independent legal advisors. Collectively, they bring to the Bar considerable and diverse professional and personal experience from government, sporting, public, corporate and academic sectors. Many have studied interstate or overseas and a number are fluent in other languages.