Graduate stories

Lady with glasses sitting at home office smiling

Meekehleh Deserio

Volunteer court monitor, Clooney Foundation for Justice

Bachelor of Laws

Just days after completing her law degree this mother-of-10, author and freelance journalist, found herself flying across the country to work with one of the world’s most recognisable human rights advocate groups.

Meekehleh Deserio admits she never expected a response to her application to the Clooney Foundation for Justice — run by Amal and George Clooney — as a court monitor, but was so surprised and thrilled when she was accepted so quickly.

“With just three days’ notice I was on the plane to another country to attend a court case,” she says. “My role was to keep an eye on due process and ensure it was run fairly from a human rights point of view. It was the best experience ever and I would do it 100 times over.”

Young man leaning against wall next to windows

Thomas Lynch

Solicitor at Kay & Hughes Art & Entertainment Lawyers

Bachelor of Contemporary Music | Bachelor of Laws

Tom Lynch is the sort of rock star you’d want to end up in the courtroom with.

The passionate yet humble drummer and self-confessed ‘garage producer’ is a solicitor with Kay & Hughes Entertainment Lawyers in Sydney.

He spends his days helping artists of all kinds navigate the colourful life of being a creative who makes a living.

“Law touches every aspect of our lives and I love helping to arm artists with the tools they need to be sure that their work is valued and protected,” says Tom. In his ‘spare’ time, Tom now lectures in Media Law at the Australian Institute of Music.

Young lady with glasses in library

Alyssa Burness

Southern Cross University 25th Anniversary Scholarship for outstanding commencing students

Bachelor of Laws | Bachelor of Creative Writing

When Alyssa Burness found out about the unique combined degree in law and creative writing at Southern Cross University, it was as though the stars had aligned.

“It was during Year 12 ... that I knew I wanted to pursue a career in law, but I have always loved books and am an avid writer, which is something I didn’t want to leave behind while studying at university,” Alyssa says.

“I’ve always believed that words and language can change the world and that’s my goal: to change the world with the things I write, whether it be in a courtroom or somewhere else.”

As a community-minded teenager who has assisted at a retirement home and volunteered at church services for people with disabilities, Alyssa is grateful for the friendly community she has found at Southern Cross University.

Computer lab with students learning with an instructor

Lee Quinn

Solicitor at Hannay Lawyers

Bachelor of Laws

As a mentor with our Bright Futures Mentoring Program, Southern Cross University alumnus Lee Quinn is sharing his first-hand experience to help students make the transition from study to employment.

“The knowledge and experience of the teaching staff, along with the cultural diversity and the friends you make, made my journey and success at SCU something I will never forget," says Lee.

Lee came to Southern Cross University as a mature age student, going on to receive the Bruce Miles Foundation Scholarship for Excellence in the Study of Law.

Before being admitted to the Supreme Court, he was a member of the Queensland Police, including time at the Criminal Justice Commission. Now, as part of the extensive and esteemed Hannay Lawyers team, his ability to interpret legislation and identify errors and discrepancies in the process of law and justice continues to benefit his clients.

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Angela Powditch

Presenter at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women to transforming Indigenous education in Australia

Bachelor of Laws (Honours)

Inspiring Bachelor of Laws with Honours graduate Angela Powditch, from Lennox Head, not only completed her degree as a single mother-of-two but also presented at the 2019 United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63) in New York as a delegate thanks to UN Women Australia.

“I definitely witnessed a powerful momentum for change at the UN and I am hopeful I can advocate for women’s rights, in my future career, right here from the Northern Rivers,” she said.

“Being part of a delegation at the United Nations Conference alongside men and women from around the world who were committed to justice and the empowerment of women was simultaneously profound and humbling. I felt so inspired, it was just electrifying!”

Man smiling in front of sunny window

Associate Professor Alan Berman

Dean of Law at Charles Darwin University

Doctor of Philosophy (Laws)

Dean of Law at Charles Darwin University, Associate Professor Alan Berman is a global law academic who has played crucial roles in law reform in areas such as discrimination and hate crimes.

American-born Associate Professor Berman has taught in Australia, New Zealand and the US in the fields of international human rights law, equal opportunity law, Australian constitutional law and comparative legal systems.

He completed his PhD at Southern Cross University under the supervision of renowned legal scholar Professor Greta Bird.

"Professor Bird had done great work around Indigenous studies, law and society, and feminist legal theory, and these interested me greatly," says Associate Professor Berman.

"Professor Bird was a very nurturing influence and that was precisely what I needed. Getting my PhD from Southern Cross University was absolutely essential to my future."

David Barnden

David Barnden

Principal lawyer at Equity Generation Lawyers

Bachelor of Laws

David Barnden has taken his Southern Cross University law degree and forged a stellar and highly influential legal career. The School of Law and Justice graduate is nationally and internationally known as a specialist in high-value, complex, novel litigation and corporate investigations. He is the founder and principal lawyer of Equity Generation Lawyers, a firm specialising in finance and climate change issues.

As well as carrying two world-first cases in the Federal Court of Australia on climate change risk, David has substantial class action litigation experience. One of his most significant cases concerns a client who is suing the trustee of a $60 billion Australian superannuation fund in relation to climate risk and compliance. It could impact the US$33 trillion global asset pool for pension funds.

“The case is on track to set a precedent on climate risk for trustees who invest billions of other people’s money,” says David, who added: "Studying at Southern Cross University was important to help develop critical thinking skills needed as a lawyer."

Contact the School of Law and Justice

Professor William MacNeil BA (Tor), MA (Tor), LLB (Dal), LLM (Lond), JSD (Col)

T: +61 2 6620 3375


Future students

T: 1800 626 481

Current students

T: 1800 005 687