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JUSTIN KEOGH The Thinking Man’s Lawyer


Articled Clerk, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions

Don’t be fooled; philosophy isn’t just sitting around in togas and talking about the afterlife. For law graduate, Justin Keogh, studying the ancient discipline provided him with critical thinking and structured reasoning skills that he later found essential for succeeding in his profession.

After graduating, Justin became an Articled Clerk at the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for Western Australia, and believes the disciplines of philosophy and ethics, taught to all undergraduate students at Notre Dame as part of the University’s Core Curriculum, were key in developing his ability to succeed in such a challenging role.

Having studied and tutored in the University’s School of Philosophy & Theology, Justin has seen from both sides how philosophy encourages abstract thinking and academic rigour, as well as challenging a person’s understanding of morality. “While the content of philosophy has some cross-over, particularly in jurisprudence, the skills acquired from its study are critical for identifying the heart of an argument, structuring a coherent response and exploring a viable solution. It goes without saying that these skills are not just relevant to law,” he says.

“Ethics (moral philosophy) is even more applicable. An appreciation of ethics is essential for understanding concepts relating to justice, fairness and equality; concepts central to most systems of law. Further it is this appreciation, sometimes innate, that draws many people to seek out a career in law in the first place.”

The Objects core curriculum program is based around the principle of growing every student not just in terms of their employability, but also personally, professionally and spiritually. As such, Notre Dame students are uniquely able to actively participate in the developing culture of campus life, in the classroom, through volunteering initiatives, religious pursuits and formation, and in a number of student clubs and societies.

“By participating in the campus life you get to associate with like-minded people; many of whom will become close friends,” Mr Keogh said.

“You’re in a space where you can practise the skills you are taught in class in a safe and supportive environment, while having the opportunity to create a legacy that will exist on campus long after you leave.” The historic campus is another perk of attending the university, with classes taking place in buildings dating back to 1884 set amongst the beautiful Fremantle cafe strip, with the ocean within walking distance.

Professor Doug Hodgson, the Dean of the School of Law at Notre Dame Fremantle, says that the students there gain an edge from taking practical courses, such as advocacy, alternative dispute resolution and ethics, where they are taught how to act in the courtroom and ways to deal with ethical challenges that may arise throughout their careers.

“The Law School prepares students for exciting careers in a variety of fields, such as law, politics, government, business and education, through innovative course electives like Aviation Law and Social Media and Law and a host of others,” Professor Hodgson said.

“These are likely significant contributors to the Notre Dame School of Law having a 90 per cent graduate employment rate, according to the 2015 Good Universities Guide. Our graduates lead by example in their careers with confidence knowing that a Notre Dame degree delivers the ability to think critically; to act justly; and to serve humanity with dignity and charity.”
To find out more about a Bachelor of Laws and Philosophy from Notre Dame at the Fremantle campus, visit

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