My name is Jordan O’Toole and I am currently an Associate in the County Court of Victoria. I am the Associate to His Honour Judge Murphy, who sits predominantly in the trial division of the criminal jurisdiction. His Honour is also the Head of the Confiscation List, the list of the Court which deals with applications (and their associated civil trials) by law enforcement and prosecution agencies for restraining and forfeiture orders.
What’s your spirit animal and why?
Spirit animals, and anything for that matter to do with “spirits” aren’t my thing, but if I had to choose an animal, it would be a tiger. Well that’s what the spirit animal test said anyway!
Tell us a bit about what you do.
My tasks primarily include drafting and proof-reading judgments, rulings and sentences (of which includes high-level legal research), maintaining the formal Orders of the Court, being the point of contact between the legal profession and his Honour, and, of course sitting in court observing the work of Counsel in criminal and civil trials – the latter being the reason why I chose to become an Associate.
I completed my studies (LLB (Hons)) in January 2016, after studying at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. and the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) for a period of time – something I cannot speak more highly of. I then completed my Practical Legal Training at the College of Law, and was fortunate enough to be offered a Graduate position in a commercial firm immediately concluding my PLT. Here, I worked in a variety of different areas of law, including banking, commercial, family and was privileged to work on a criminal appeal to the High Court of Australia and, towards the end of my time at the firm, become involved in advising and initiating proceedings in the High Court.
What has been your path to where you are now?
Prior to completing my studies, my legal experience was situated at the Victorian Bar working with a Barrister who went to the Bar after being a Partner at Corrs Chambers Westgarth and working as a Senior Executive at the Australian Football League. Initially, my time was spent conducting high-level legal research and preparing research memoranda. However, I was then entrusted with the preparation of written submissions, assisting in the discovery process and assisting Counsel in matters in both Victoria and New South Wales where Counsel appeared without an instructing solicitor. I was fortunate enough to be involved in defamation proceedings in the Supreme Court of Victoria, commercial and criminal matters together with quasi-judicial proceedings before various Racing Tribunals and Appeal Panels.
My future pathway will include 15 more months with his Honour and then I hope to complete a Masters of Law in the United States. I will then begin at the Bar with my ultimate goal of being a Crown Prosecutor.
Is there anything that you wish someone had told you when you started Law School?
If there were two things I wish someone had told me upon commencing my studies at Deakin Law School, it would be this: first, legal experience, no matter what type of experience, is essential if you seek to progress your career as a lawyer. Whilst a strong academic record is an important consideration for prospective employers, particularly for graduate positions (which are the most competitive positions), your legal experience must also stand out when preparing an application. Start early with this experience and if you aren’t sure of where your end goal is, keep your experience varied.
Secondly, enjoy Law School! Become involved with societies, study abroad and network, because it is the people you meet at Law School who you will share this journey with (both the ups and downs) – so make it a memorable one!