Name: Jack Maxwell
College: Christ Church
Scholarship: Allan Myers Scholarship
I completed a BA (Hons) and a JD at the University of Melbourne, graduating in 2015. After graduating, I worked as a trainee lawyer and then a solicitor for the Victorian Government Solicitor’s Office, focusing on constitutional law and planning and environment law.
What are your career ambitions?
I loved working as a government lawyer before coming to Oxford. Ministers and public servants constantly confront difficult legal issues about their powers and obligations. These issues are often high-profile, and raise complex questions about the law and the public interest. In the future, I’d love to continue to work in or with government, as a solicitor, an advisor, or perhaps a barrister.
What do you enjoy most about studying law in Oxford?
I most enjoy the emphasis on thinking critically and independently about the law. We’re encouraged and expected to make up our own minds about how the law in a particular area hangs together, and how it should be developed in the future by the courts and by Parliament. Oxford provides a fantastic setting for this kind of legal education, with fantastic professors and a great cohort of people to challenge and inspire you.
What do you find most challenging about your programme?
The most challenging aspect of the BCL is the volume of material. We are set a large number of cases and articles to read for our seminars for each subject. I try to read the materials closely and critically, to help me not only understand the argument being made, but also decide whether I find it persuasive or convincing. Once tutorials begin in earnest in Hilary Term, this adds to the workload, although it’s also the most exciting part of the course, as you begin to develop and articulate your own thinking on the subjects you have been studying.
What do you find most rewarding about your programme?
The cohort. The BCL/MJur programme has a wonderful mix of people from all around the world. It’s fascinating to hear about people’s different paths to Oxford, and their perspectives on the material we’re studying, in the seminar room and over lunch or a drink around town. The cohort is full of really bright, motivated, friendly people, which adds so much to the thrill and experience of being at Oxford.
Are you involved with any projects or societies?
I have just tried to soak up as much of life at Oxford as possible, in and around academic commitments. Amongst other things, I’ve written for the Oxford Human Rights Hub Blog, been along to talks at the Law Faculty, the Bonavero Institute and around town, and rowed for Christ Church.
What advice would you give to a new or prospective student?
I would say: work hard on your application to give yourself the best possible shot of getting in; look far and wide for funding opportunities, as you might be able to find financial support in unexpected places; and most of all, enjoy Oxford! Almost all of us are only here once, so get as much out of it socially, intellectually and personally, as you can.