High-achieving graduate dreams a dream

Sarah Copley in the cloisters of UQ’s Great Court

Sarah Copley in the cloisters of UQ’s Great Court

In name alone, I Dreamed a Dream could well be the appropriate title track to multi-talented Sarah Copley’s time at The University of Queensland.

The high achieving School of Law and UQ Business School graduate not only spent 2018 completing her Bachelor of Business Management/Bachelor of Laws (Honours) , but also played the lead role in an amateur theatre production of Les Miserables .

It continued a colourful history of performance, which has also seen her appear in classics such as Phantom of the Opera , Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella .

“I think arts and theatre can help law students and legal professionals in many different ways,” Ms Copley said.

“It provides confidence to present to large groups, because in a season of theatre you might perform before thousands of people.

“I found it also freed up the creative side of my brain, and that helped with taking innovative approaches to projects and thinking about business from alternate perspectives.

“Last, but not least, it’s also a great way of networking and feeling part of a community, which inevitably includes other people from the legal field.”

An admirer of Emma Watson for combining a screen and academic career, Ms Copley has been involved in singing, dancing and acting from a young age.

She previously completed a semester in jazz voice at the Queensland Conservatorium.

Although she will move to Canberra next year to work in management consulting, she said she would ‘never say never’ to future artistic pursuits.

“You don’t know what opportunities may open up,” she said.

“Performing as Fantine in Les Miserables was genuinely a dream of mine.

“I’ve always enjoyed great theatre, such as Wicked, and I was a bit of a Disney fan growing up.”

Ms Copley’s diversity of interests also extends to the sporting sphere, in which she recently authored an award-winning sports law essay.

Her paper Levelling the playing field or unfair advantage? , which discussed the regulation of assistive technologies used by impaired athletes, received the 22nd Paul Trisley Award at the Australia and New Zealand Sports Law Conference in August.

Among the former winners of the award is Dave Trodden, now chief executive of the New South Wales Rugby League.

“I have always been a sports fan and especially enjoy AFL and tennis,” Ms Copley said.

“The beauty of sports law is that it touches on so many other disciplines and fields of law.

“There is never a dull day in sports or sports law because we will always be asking how does this new situation sit with the existing law, and how can we make it better?”

Unlike Fantine’s crushed hopes in Les Miserables , Sarah has shown that daring to dream can reap dividends across multiple fields when talent and dedication are combined in supportive environments.