Head of La Trobe’s law school Professor Patrick Keyzer with Supreme Court prize winner Sam Taylor. Photo: ANDREW PERRYMAN


A BENDIGO legal graduate has revelled in the regional way of completing a law degree and beat out 250 of his mostly metropolitan contemporaries to win the Supreme Court prize.

Sam Taylor worked for the local firm O’Sullivan Johanson Lawyers before he decided to start his law degree at La Trobe University’s Bendigo campus as a mature aged student.

He graduated last year after five years of part time study while working at O’Sullivan Johanson and completing placements with other practitioners including Legal Aid.

On Wednesday night, he was awarded the Supreme Court prize setting him apart as the top-scoring graduate of his year at La Trobe, and setting him up for his pick of opportunities.

“It is not every day you get the Supreme Court prize,” head of La Trobe’s Law School professor Patrick Keyzer said.

“He really is in a position to do whatever he wants but it is wonderful he has a such a strong commitment to the local profession and I know his employers are very proud of his achievements and are keen for him to stay.”

Mr Taylor said his was an unconventional way of getting a law degree, but the apparent informality of studying at La Trobe’s small law program at Bendigo comprising about 40 students, and of coming into contact with most of the local practitioners either through teaching or placements, meant most local graduates went straight into jobs.

“Everyone has different ambitions but most (Bendigo graduates) want to stay because there are jobs here,” he said.

Mr Taylor is a conveyancing clerk but said “I suppose I will have to become a solicitor at some point, I can’t put it off forever, and then I will hang around”.

Solicitor and O’Sullivan Johanson Lawyers head partner Michelle O’Sullivan said the firm would be happy to continue to employ Mr Taylor.

“The Supreme Court prize is an excellent recognition of his hard work,” she said.

– Sharon Kemp