La Trobe Law Graduate Jake Breheny wins Supreme Court Prize

LLS graduate Jake Breheny with Professor Anne Wallace and the Chief Justice

Recently, La Trobe Law graduate Jake Breheny was one of seven Victorian students to win the Supreme Court Prize. The Prize winners were announced by Justice Mark Weinberg AO during an exclusive ceremony at the Supreme Court Library, and where the prize winners were presented with their awards by Chief Justice Marilyn Warren AC.

Jake was the first member of his family to attend university. He completed a double-degree, in law and history.

“I grew up down the road from La Trobe University’s Melbourne Campus,” he says. “My parents come from a working-class background. They have made a lot of sacrifices so I could attend university, and have always given me the space I needed to dedicate myself to my studies. That’s something I am really grateful for.”

When Jake started his degree in 2012, he mentions how he enjoyed life on campus: “I really enjoy how welcoming the atmosphere at La Trobe is,” he says. “You can see students from every layer of society mingling here, whether they live in government housing, or come from very privileged families.”

Jake finished his degree only recently. When asked if he was able to use his legal skills in his history subjects and vice-versa, he is positive about the skills he picked up from both degrees: “Studying both law and history simultaneously helped me gauge how a law developed over time, and see it in the correct historical context. I also picked up a lot of analytical skills through my double degree, which has helped me learn how to research and structure my writing.”

Going forward, Jake is looking into PhD opportunities, and likes the idea of teaching. “I have always been very grateful to the academic and teaching staff at La Trobe.” he mentions. “I really feel that through being so approachable, knowledgeable and willing to assist, the teaching staff here have contributed greatly to my success.”

Currently, Jake is working on his honours thesis. It deals with the history of welfare reform, and how the idea of a basic income has both come up in history before and is resurfacing in political debate today. “With the automatization of jobs and the increase of technology in the workplace, things will be shifting and changing at a rapid pace,” he says. “I would really like to engage in the sort of research that could go on to make a positive impact on our changing welfare system. It would be great to change peoples’ lives for the better.”

Lise Leitner