Legal Eagles

Legal Eagles of La Trobe #20: Elijah Jayabalu

This edition of the Legal Eagle sees co-editor, Ashmal Naleem, “sits down” with Elijah Jayabalu, the suave law student interning in Cambodia for the young upstart organization, the United Nations.

What made you decide pursue a law degree after completing Bachelors of Business?

Since finishing High school I only wanted to study business. I love the idea of being an entrepreneur as you have the potential to create something that has a global reach, whether that is a product or service. Throughout my degree I met some amazing people and enjoyed studying the course, but I wanted something bigger, I didn’t want to be another graduate with a business degree. That’s when I saw La Trobe offering graduate entry to law and I didn’t think twice and just applied. I was fortunate enough to get into law and I have never looked back.

Why did you choose to apply for an internship with the United Nations and what does your work involve?

Experience, opportunity and international law are the reasons I applied for a Cambodian based UN internship. I wanted to gain experience in a leading intergovernmental organisation while contributing to a positive cause. The opportunity to learn and observe great legal minds in action was something I could not pass up. Furthermore, I wanted to widen my knowledge of international criminal law, as I only had a small taste of it when researching for moots.

My internship landed me in the Office of the Co-Investigation Judges (OCIJ). The OCIJ is considered a judicial body that investigates the alleged crimes of the Khmer Rouge during the period of 1975 and 1979. Further to this the OCIJ gathers evidence from relevant crime sites to determine what charges will be placed on the alleged perpetrators. This office was my first preference as it offered hands on investigation and legal work, which was different to how our common law system works in Australia with regards to the gathering of evidence process and interaction with judges.

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Why did you get involved in mooting? Why do you like it?

I wanted to get involved with law school activities. In my previous degree I made the mistake of rocking up to class and then heading home after. I want my law degree to be different so I started by competing in the competitions. Mooting is our closest thing to sport. When I finish a moot there is a sense of relief and achievement that takes over, it’s almost like hitting a game winning shot in basketball. All those hours of hard work and preparation comes down to a few minutes for you and only you to demonstrate you know the law better than the opposing party. Once you complete your first moot, you want that feeling again.

What has been your favourite moot experience?

One of my favourite moots was when I was a team member in the Willem C. Vis International Arbitration moot that is run by Magda Karagianakis. This was one of the best team experiences I was able to be a part of as I learned to conduct legal research, present legal arguments and engage with professional in the arbitration field. Magda told me the first day I signed up this would be a transformative experience; she was not kidding. If you saw me on day one and compared me to the final day, you would see a completely different person. There’s nothing like a great teacher to whoop your arse into gear, and it helps when that teacher is a high achieving international barrister.

If you haven’t participated in a moot, I would encourage you to sign up! This moot was my stepping-stone to international law, which ultimately helped my application process with the UN.

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‘Views’ or ‘The Life of Pablo’?

¿por qué no los dos? Both albums are fire. If I had to choose, I would go with Drake’s ‘Views’ because it was better than I expected.* It didn’t live up to the hype from his previous album, ‘If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late’ but he still found a way to take it to another level. I can see this album being played on repeat on for those late night drives home.

What is your one main goal to achieve in ten years?

My main goal is to become an international lawyer. My parents always told me to ‘dream big’ and I see international law as an opportunity to do just that. In my opinion International law can make you versatile in the sense that you will be learning everyday, interacting with people from around the world and potentially be dealing with complex cases. That is why I find being an international lawyer the most appealing goal.

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*Co-Editor’s Note: The LSA does not endorse or support this statement, as it wholeheartedly and rightly believes that The Life of Pablo is the album of the year)

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