When James Pasinski left school two years ago he was determined to hold fast to his ambition to be a lawyer.
The Advanced Diploma of Business (Legal Practice) he completed at Melbourne Polytechnic last year has proved to be a valuable stepping stone. “I knew I wouldn’t get into law at LaTrobe so I’m taking the longer route.
The Melbourne Polytechnic course description fitted in with everything I wanted to study. There were a lot of law subjects and there was a focus on the practical side of things.”
In addition to his studies, Pasinski works part-time as a volunteer at Darebin Community Legal Centre. Once a week he helps out with filing, data entry and answering phones. “It’s good preparation for the future and I meet nice people there,” he says. I’ve learned a lot about asking the right questions and making sure you get the information you need. You can’t assume anything.”
Moving to Melbourne from his country Victorian hometown of Lockington was a challenge at first. “When I first came to the city I wasn’t used to it. It was hard to make friends because of my autism. The first half year was hard but I was fine after that.”
In the early days, the cricket fanatic would regularly make the two and half hour trip home at weekends. But gradually he says life here improved, he made new friends and joined Fairfield Cricket Club as a bowler.
The 20-year-old says he coped in class by asking lots of questions. “It took me a while to grasp it because I hadn’t studied law subjects at school,” he says. His persistence paid off last year when he was awarded a $2000 study grant from Madgwicks law firm for academic achievement. The award was just the boost he needed. “I felt that I was in the right area because I was doing really well in the course. I felt I’d made the right choice.” The money will probably be used to buy books for university, he says.
Pasinski is hoping to be accepted to study a Bachelor of Legal Studies at Latrobe University this year. On successful completion he will apply for the Bachelor of Law. When he graduates, Pasinski says he wants to specialise in copyright or consumer law. “I’m interested in patents and trademarks because you get to learn a lot about other professions. It’s great to know how the law has provisions to help consumers, allowing them cooling off periods and refunds.”
Advanced Diploma of Business (Legal Practice)