Exuding Candour, Drive, Wit and Charm, Joseph Braverman chats to us about all things law…and a little bit non-law!
Joseph is at the far right.
We would love to hear about what you have been up to post law school
Joseph: “I finished my LLB degree at Deakin University in the beginning of 2018 and right now, I’m working as a trainee lawyer in the class actions team of Maurice Blackburn, which I love very much. This is only my second day working on class actions, so I can’t speak excessively on the same, but I believe they are an important vehicle in the fight to ensure access to justice for people who don’t have the financial capacity to initiate individual claims.”
Tell us, what was it that made you sit up and decide you wanted to be a lawyer? Also, can you pinpoint when exactly you realised you wanted to practice in the social justice arena?
Joseph: “My main motivator to study law and become a lawyer specialising in social justice work was Atticus Finch from the film To Kill A Mockingbird who had a huge impact on 12-year–old Joseph and who continues to inspire 22-year-old Joseph. It was right after I watched this film that I desired to go to law school, study law, become a lawyer and eventually practice in the field of social justice- and that’s the desire I have worked towards fulfilling in the decade that followed.
Unlike Atticus, I have, of course, not yet been involved in a case that has made people gravitate towards the law as a profession, but to be involved in such a case in the future is something I ardently hope for.”
Could you dwell a bit on the subject or subjects you enjoyed most while at law school?
Joseph: “My favourite subject, which would come across as no surprise to the people who know me, was constitutional law. In fact, I would say it still is my favourite. One reason behind this is that the Constitution is the text that underpins the very existence of our democratic society and therefore, I believe that it is very important to understand and be familiar with the Constitution.
Another reason behind my all-consuming love for constitutional law is that Oscar Roos, the lecturer for this unit at the time I undertook the study of it, was extremely passionate about the subject himself. I could clearly tell how much he loved constitutional law from the idiosyncratic laughter that would bellow from his mouth after he had made a constitutional law joke, which could only stem from someone with an immense depth of understanding of this unique branch of law.
At times, Oscar would deviate from the study guide and go off onto tangents that went beyond what we needed to know for assessment purposes, but these were the instances I enjoyed the most. This is because they demonstrated to me his effervescent passion towards constitutional law, a passion that was eventually transferred onto me.”
Have you had any study abroad experiences? If yes, could you elucidate on those?
Joseph: “Yes, a couple. The first was when I went abroad for the purposes of the Vis Moot which took me to Vienna, London and Hong Kong. I was selected to speak in the oral rounds held in Vienna where I mooted on matters pertaining to international arbitration alongside my good and very talented friend D’arcy Hope Lawrence. It was an incredible experience to be a part of one of the most prestigious international commercial law moots in the world and to compete against over three hundred universities and around a thousand mooters from across the globe. Apart from the moots, one of my favourite experiences from the Vis trip was enjoying, in a very moderate and controlled quantity, the significantly inexpensive alcoholic beverages available in Hong Kong’s Seven Eleven stores!
My other venture abroad was to study International Human Rights Law in Denmark, a subject I found very stimulating and interesting. I would definitely recommend any law student reading this article to consider attending this program; the lecturers were fabulous and brimming with experience in the area, the course content was easy to grasp, the exam was take home and best of all, the unit was assessed on a pass/fail basis and I believe it is nearly impossible to fail*”!
*A note of warning: It is still recommended you do not attempt to “wing” the unit
What work experiences did you amass while still at university?
Joseph: “During my time at university, I conducted peer-assisted learning sessions (PALS) for constitutional and administrative law, which are sponsored by none other than the global law giant, Baker McKenzie. I thoroughly enjoyed my tutoring days for several reasons including my love for those subjects, the stroking of the ego I got from my job as a tutor and having a bunch of wonderfully obedient students hanging on to every word of mine.
Another thing I did during my time at university was work for Julian Burnside AO QC and the story how I ended up working for this eminent barrister is particularly interesting. I was meant to be studying for a property law exam which I didn’t want to do and decided to procrastinate instead by writing a cold email to Julian expressing my interest to intern with him. Something that he may not be aware of till date is that I went onto his website and copied a large chunk of his own writing into my letter because I thought that psychologically he might like the sound of his own words. Eventually, after a month, he wrote back and invited me for an interview at his Chambers, presumably because he enjoyed reading his own words. So, I went to his office to interview and after we had spoken, he looked me up and down and asked me if I could start work the following week. Our relationship blossomed from there and my stint with Julian lasted for a solid two years as I found the work I did for him absolutely fantastic. Often, I did work on matters related to refugees which were of the utmost importance to not only me, but to society at large. On top of that, the parts that I enjoyed the most were our lunchtime discussions on matters relating to philosophy. I would definitely have continued to work for Julian had I not been offered the traineeship at Maurice Blackburn”.
Any advice for current law students?
Joseph: “Keep your options open and don’t follow anyone else’s instructions or commands when it boils down to making choices for your future. What makes you happy is what you should be working towards. If you feel that working for a top tier commercial law firm is what you will derive happiness from, then choose the electives related to commercial law, do the requisite extra-curricular activities, get the marks that you need, go through the clerkship process etc. etc.
However, if you want to work in a different area, and for example become a community legal service lawyer, then pursue that path and work towards meeting its unique demands. To sum up, work out where you want to go and what will make you happy, and do all it takes to get there. That’s what I have always done and what I will always do.”
Fun question. What’s the one thing, apart from what you have shared so far, that people wouldn’t get to know about you from stalking your LinkedIn Profile?
Joseph: “At one point, I sported two facial piercings in a beautiful diagonal: a left earlobe and a right eyebrow piercing. The reason why I went and got these was that I thought they were cool and would get me the girls.”
Well, did the piercings fulfil their intended purpose?
“I don’t really know whether they did or did not”, says Joseph.
The interviewer thinks there is a good chance that they did.