Meet Pierre Dordhain, the Law School’s second candidate in the NextGen programme with ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. Making the most of his final semester of a Bachelor of Laws and Business, he jets to Abu Dhabi in late October with UTas student Sophie Hey to learn and collaborate with the organisation’s leaders.
ICANN is a non-profit corporation for the naming and registration of websites, established under the Clinton government in California to provide global access to the Internet. “I’m looking forward to seeing ICANN in action,” Pierre says. “It will be exciting to see how an organisation learnt in theory works in practice.”
A practical sort, Pierre is taking every opportunity to exercise and build his skills. He volunteers with the Student Legal Service, assisting clients with legal advice and representation. “It’s been really enjoyable, to apply what we learn to practise and with real clients.” he says of this experience. “Anything that’s practically focussed is important, no matter what you’re doing.”
There’s a lot of value in practical experience, he says when asked about why he chose ICANN. “When you’re doing a degree, you’re doing it for a purpose. Gaining that practical experience not only makes you better at doing it and more prepared for graduation, but it allows you to know whether you’re going in the right direction.
“All the work’s going to pay off in the end.” he assures me.
Recommended to study a combined degree in college, law has always been Pierre’s focus, but business was a competing interest. “I’ve always been interested in businesses and how they work, managing people … but for law, that’s a funny one. I like problem solving and discussing. It’s very open – there’s a lot of room for debate, and that drew me in.”
As for the internet and rules, Pierre’s explanation sheds light on the role of this global corporation. “ICANN is an interesting one. It’s hard to summarise, but to me it’s almost like the organiser of the internet, as it facilitates the global network. It allows a lot of countries to communicate through website names.”
He explains that when you use the internet, IP servers are at work in every site. Each computer and website has an IP address, a series of numbers that identify the server. What ICANN does is take the series of numbers and assign it a name. They convert numbers into letters, including scripts and symbols from many different languages. “It’s very important to make the internet accessible to everybody, going forward. In this day and age everything involves the internet.” says Pierre.
As the internet makes up such a large proportion of our lives, the law’s role is growing in this area. Pierre says: “Intellectual property, defamation, privacy laws – the law plays a huge role these days.”
Studying has also changed a lot through the evolution of the internet. “When you discuss with people who studied decades ago, they had no access to internet … I mean, we have the ability to find cases and summaries at will now, so we have a greater span of information. That may be reflected in some of the tasks we are given,” he jokes, “but in some respects it makes it easier for us.”
In terms of advice for students looking to pursue a career in business law, he says: “If you’ve got an area you want to work in or you’re passionate about, be proactive. Just get in contact with people – there’s no harm in sending an email, asking whether any opportunities are available, or even if they want any free experience.”
“Don’t be afraid to go out and do something, because everything can be helpful. Especially in Tasmania, there are so many connections. If you get just one connection it leads to another, and who knows where that can take you? Don’t be afraid to apply. Go for it.”
Photo by Hilary Baxter. Story by Zoe-Zowie Douglas Kinghorn.