07 May 2015

Meet Geoffrey Adelstein – Commercial Litigation’s No.1 Graduate

Published on 07 May 2015
It’s that time of year again. The College of Law recently saw another generation of students graduate, and while many performed exceptionally, one in particular distinguished himself in the practice area of commercial litigation. Geoffrey Adelstein, currently Special Counsel at commercial firm Diamond Conway, graduated from the College’s Applied Masters program with flying colours. A veteran lawyer with nearly four decades of legal experience under his belt, Adelstein nonetheless relished the opportunity to learn more.

“I saw the opportunity to undertake my Masters later in my professional career as an indulgence, a gift to myself for staying in the law for almost 40 years and to remind myself that I am still the servant of the law, regardless of my pretence at mastery,” Adelstein said.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to revisit areas of practice of which I had a passing familiarity, to acquire a level of understanding at a deeper level following appropriate critical reflection.”

In addition to his role at Diamond Conway, Adelstein regularly presents at law seminars, conducts his own advocacy as an accredited advocate, and runs advocacy workshops for the profession. While he enjoys teaching, Adelstein says he particularly delights in the practical challenges of legal practice. Adelstein’s career is peppered with examples of the effective application of the law, but a relatively recent instance occurred when he appeared before a Supreme Court Judge to successfully argue a motion opposing late reliance on expert evidence.

“This involved a consideration of Aon principles, which had been the subject matter of my thesis for my last [College of Law] Masters subject,” he said.

“Not only was I able to use in a practical sense the learning from my course, during argument I took His Honour Justice Davies to a line of authority supporting a factorial approach towards the consideration of judicial discretion (the Namberry Craft Factors). One of the cases adopting Namberry Craft [2011] VSC 136 was his own (which he had forgotten). He took it all in good humour and accepted the argument. That was also very satisfying.”

Adelstein says it was his penchant for the practical application of the law that led him to the College.

“I was taken by the practical nature of the course and the value added to my practice,” he said.

“I like academia but perceived the real benefits to flow from a practical course, so that my skills could be honed and knowledge applied in a real sense.”

Despite his success at College, Adelstein remains humble in the face of his achievement.

“ I did not consciously set myself the goal of coming first,” he said.

“I merely sought to ensure that I gained an appropriate understanding of the underlying concepts and principles. I guess that enabled me to pursue some of the nuances of the subject material. I consider myself most fortunate to have undertaken a first class Masters program of real practical significance. That to me meant I came first; the academic accolades are wonderful, but a bi-product of the opportunity to study, learn and reflect.”

For more information on the College’s postgraduate programs, click here.