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Eyes On The Bar

Caulfield Grammar School graduate Matthew Hooper’s list of achievements is long and growing.

After achieving an impressive ENTER score of 99.75, Matthew was awarded a Vice-Chancellor’s scholarship to the prestigious Bond University on the Gold Coast, where he commenced his studies in Law, International Relations and Chinese language in 2005. Since then, he has featured on the Vice-Chancellor’s list every semester, most recently winning the award for most outstanding student in the Law Faculty.

He was also part of a mooting team that represented Australia at the world’s most renowned legal competition in Washington D.C., where they placed in the top 10. In only his second year of law studies, Matthew was ranked the eighth best oralist in the world.

And that’s just scratching the surface of the many accolades the modest 22-year-old already has to his name.

“I have been brought up to always do the best I can do”; Matthew says, “Just getting through is not good enough in my book.”

“I work hard, and appreciate the sense of achievement when it pays off.”

Not that life is all work and no play for Matthew, who is also Vice-President of Bond University’s Law Students Association, a Student Council representative, Tutor Fellow, and regular at the many on-campus social events.

A daunting list of commitments to most, but Matthew says he had plenty of practice at Caulfield Grammar.

“I was involved in the full gamut of extra curricular activities and sport at school and quickly learnt how to juggle those activities around what was a full-on year 12,” he said.

Matthew speaks fondly of his Victorian upbringing, and of the many opportunities his schooling afforded him. In fact, it was one of those opportunities – a high school mooting competition – that first introduced him to Bond University.

“Our school made it to the national finals two years in a row, so I got to visit the Bond campus twice in two years. It cemented my idea that I wanted to do law and I was already aware of Bond Law’s strong reputation,” Matthew said.

“Then, after being short-listed for a Vice Chancellor’s scholarship, I attended a leadership weekend with the other candidates and what really struck me were the really impressive people around me. They were high calibre, intelligent, driven people who were going places. I wanted to surround myself with that,” he said.

After impressing university management at the leadership weekend, Matthew was awarded the prestigious scholarship, which he deferred for one year to complete an exchange year in China after graduating from high school.

In January 2005, Matthew left his winter woollies at home, and moved to Bond’s Gold Coast campus, where he lived ‘on res’.

“From my first day on campus, I knew I had made the right decision. Everybody knows everybody at Bond – it’s a real community feel – and I was welcomed into that network straight away.”

“University is definitely different from school, especially in that the onus is on you to do your work each week, but I think I was well prepared.

“Plus, being at Bond, I have the benefit of small classes, and our lecturers offer a lot of support, making themselves available in and outside of class.

“The classes themselves are really enjoyable, particularly the dialogue between students and teachers - we try and challenge them, and they challenge us. It’s a great format that helps us build worthwhile legal skills like negotiation and mooting,” he said.

Now more than half way through his studies, Matthew is looking forward to returning to his Melbourne roots when he graduates at the end of 2008.

“After graduating, I’ll probably do my article clerkship in Melbourne, and maybe spend some time as a Judge’s Associate. My ultimate goal is to be admitted to the Victorian Bar and work as a Barrister,” Matthew said.

Given Matthew’s track record of success, there is little doubt that this is yet another goal he will see through to fruition.

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