On 11 and 12 July 2013, Melbourne Law School recognised 25 years of its sports law program. Twenty-five years is a long time, especially in a field of study and legal practice so young as sports law, and that warrants a celebration.
Equally worthy of celebration are the people who have come through our sports law program and gone on to make immense contributions to sport and sports law in Australia, New Zealand and other parts of the world. From a modest beginning with eight students in the generalist subject Sport, Commerce and the Law in 1988, the intervening years have witnessed new sports law related specialist subjects added so that from next year there will be 13 subjects in the Melbourne Law Masters program. Also, there are two sports law subjects in the JD program (the successor to the LLB – the basic law degree) and a number of research degree students. We can also proudly say that the Law School was the birthplace of the Australian and New Zealand Sports Law Association (ANZSLA) in 1990 and its home for the next eight years.
To celebrate the achievements of the program and the people who have experienced it, a dinner was held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The evening featured sports commentator Tim Lane as MC; Mike Fitzpatrick, Chair of the AFL Commission, as a keynote speaker and cameos from former students who have forged careers in sports law – Ian Fullagar (Lander & Rogers); Andrew Twaits (The Strategy Canvas) and Victoria Wark (Local Organising Committee AFC Asian Cup). The following day there was a full day conference which featured two keynote addresses from Professor James Nafziger of Willamette University in the US, a leading sports law academic and Jonathan Taylor of Bird & Bird in the UK, one of the world’s leading sports lawyers, as well as contributions from a panel of Australian and international experts.
Following the conference, a drinks reception hosted by Professor Carolyn Evans, Dean of Melbourne Law School was held and was a great opportunity for attendees and alumni of the Law School to h ear from Melbourne Law School alumni and former elite athletes about their experiences as professional athletes and working in the legal profession. Panelists included Margot Foster, Evelyn Halls, John Higham, Robyn Selby Smith and James Marburg.
All events were a wonderful opportunity to network with other people who shared interest in sporting and legal issues. Thank you to the organising committee and director of studies, sports law program Mr Hayden Opie for his contribution the past 25 years.
To view the Facebook images from the conference visit https://www.facebook.com/MelbourneLawSchool