Former Chief of the Defence Force General Peter Cosgrove and Chief Justice of the High Court Sir Gerard Brennan are among the dignitaries taking part in the 33rd annual Australian Law Students' Association (ALSA) Clayton Utz Conference, which begins in Sydney today (July 8-14).

Over 500 law students from Australia, New Zealand, Asia and Europe will meet for the annual student-run conference, hosted by the University of New South Wales.

Spanning seven days, the conference includes luminary speakers' forum events, an inaugural careers fair, workshops and six prestigious inter-university national competition championships.

The conference will be launched on Friday July 8 by General Cosgrove, who will deliver the Keynote address at the Hilton Hotel. Corrs Westgarth Chambers' Chief Executive, John Denton, will also speak at the Equity Breakfast, while the Closing Gala will be addressed by Alexander Ward, President of the Australian Law Council.

Sir Gerard Brennan will judge the grand final of the Mallesons Stephens Jacques National Championship Moot, one of six competitions involving competitors from universities across Australia and abroad.

Conference co-convenors Jessica Ji and Weller Zheng said the conference allowed students to engage with their peers, and hear from some of the most prominent figures in the legal profession.

"The ALSA Conference is the largest meeting of law students in the Australasian region. It aims to inform, inspire and excite with the three speakers' forum events, featuring high profile experts in the field. There will be plenty of opportunities to voice opinions, ask questions and be challenged on various emerging debates in the law," Jessica said.

A workshop on mental health and wellbeing in law will be convened by Marie Jepson, from the Tristan Jepson Memorial Foundation. Alastair McEwin, Director of Community Legal Centres NSW, will be presenting a seminar in which lawyers working with disadvantaged communities will share their experiences and provide insights into the role of advocacy in the community.

Speakers' Forum Events:

Over the Rainbow: GLBTIQ Law Reform - July 9, 6-8pm, moderated by Julie McCrossin, journalist and broadcaster- Hon Trevor Khan MLC, Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Nationals- Rossyln Mayne, Principal Solicitor, Inner City Legal Centre- Wayne Morgan, Senior Lecturer, ANU College of Law- Senthorun Raj, Senior Policy Analyst, NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby- Rachael Wallbank, Accredited Specialist (Family Law), Wallbanks Legal

Free Post-its Won't Save You: Beyond Corporate Careers - July 11, 4-6pm, moderated by Judith Levitan, Project Manager, NSW Legal Assistance Forum- Leonard Blazeby, Legal Advisor, International Committee of the Red Cross- Ruth Chalmers, Criminal Defence Lawyer, Aboriginal Legal Service- Professor Julian Disney, UNSW Professor, and Chair, Australian Press Council- Louisa Fitz-Gerald, Professional National Manager, Pro Bono Programs, NSW Cancer Council- Alexander Ward, President, Law Council of Australia

Let me LOL: Privacy and Censorship in the Online World - July 13, 4-6pm, moderated by Adam Arnold, UNSW Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre - Philip Argy, Deputy Chairman, Australian Computer Society Ltd- Geordie Guy, Online Rights and Anti Censorship Campaigner- Antony Loewenstein, Journalist- Professor George Williams, Foundation Director, Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law

For more details go to the conference website.

Media contact: Melissa Coade,, ph: 0450 678 505