Looking back on the past year, I am genuinely amazed at the amount of opportunities and experiences that I have had thanks to the Juris Doctor programs at Queen's.
After completing my first year of studies, I spent the summer back in Canada working for two separate law firms - one for three months, and another for a month. I was exposed to issues and files relating to labor law, family law, civil litigation, commercial litigation, insurance litigation and personal injury. I went to court for trials, attended commercial negotiations, took part in family mediation and watched a high-profile murder trial take place.
I was able to put the skills that I gained in my first year of studies to practical use - as I found myself frequently working out of my textbooks and off of my first year notes during my summer work. It is remarkable how often the landmark cases come up in everyday private practice.
Now that I am back for my second year, I am keeping myself very busy in a number of ways outside of the classroom. I am once again the Opinions section editor for the Queen's student newspaper - The Gown, I am a Junior Editor of the Norther Ireland Legal Quarterly, I am taking part in internal mooting competitions and finally - I volunteer once a week with a local charitable organization that works with anti-social youth.
This has all been made possible, and supported significantly by the excellent professors and support staff within the JD program. The student to professor ratio within the classroom is remarkable for a program of this sort - and you would be hard pressed to find a more hands on relationship between students and staff at any law school in the world. While the amount of work is substantial, and we are held to a high academic standard - that is to be expected of a doctorate program.
I am looking forward to another great year of studies here in Belfast, and I plan on going on an exchange next year for a semester, which is another incredible opportunity that the school helps to facilitate and provides unique opportunities for all students.
Lawrence Dushenski is a Year 2 Juris Doctor Student