“It’s every lawyers’ dream to help shape the law, not just react to it.” – Alan Dershowitz
Law might be regarded as one of the most difficult programmes of study, but it is also one of the most intellectually stimulating and professionally rewarding. Whether it’s working in the charity sector to help those without a voice, using your skills to contribute to a million-dollar corporate sale, or simply helping a client or colleague with legal guidance and advice, legal success is fuelled by quality and personal accomplishment.
It makes sense that lawyers and legal representatives are respected worldwide. As a rigorous discipline that requires steadfast dedication, graduates are revered for successful completion of their studies. And on top of being considered academically advanced, law degrees are comprehensive, flexible and diverse, harbouring the potential to be globally applied.
“One of the best things about your course is that you will be studying alongside students from around the world,” former law student, Saema Jaffer, writes for The Guardian. “At my law school, there were [tonnes] of different nationalities in my year alone – a third of the students are Canadian and there [was] also a mixture of nationalities from across the commonwealth and Europe.
“The English common law system is influential across the world and studying it gives you real perspective on the value of your chosen subject,” she adds, “as well as a fabulous insight into other legal systems.”
It may be something you have never thought of before, but law and legal systems influence everything we do. International law can provide an invaluable insight into geopolitics, while family law can teach us a lot about society and sociology, tort law can introduce us to various aspects of medicine, and contract law can be interwoven with the economic field. When we consider the far-reaching implications of law and legal studies, it is hardly surprising so many world leaders boast an academic background in the discipline.
Pursuing a degree in law does not guarantee you a position in you dream job, but it can significantly enhance your career opportunities. Global recognition will considerably boost your chance of finding meaningful employment – a return-on-investment that is difficult to find in any other specialised degree.
Here are four global leaders of legal education…
Students come from far and wide to study law at Australia’s top-ranked university. ANU College of Law itself is ranked 16th in the world, standing among Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge and Yale. Applicants come from all over the world, eager for a taste of law student life in the heart of Canberra.
Programs at ANU College of Law can be tailored to your needs, offering a uniquely adaptable curriculum that supports your career ambitions. The undergraduate Bachelor of Laws (Honours), for example, can be customised to suit your desired skills acquisition, giving you the chance to undertake a second degree via the university’s Flexible Double Degree option. For those who already have a law degree, the ANU Master of Laws (LLM) is a postgraduate qualification designed to develop a student’s expertise and provide advanced knowledge of law.
Many students are also drawn by ANU Law’s postgraduate Juris Doctor (JD) degree, a law degree designed for those with a Bachelor-level degree or equivalent in any other discipline. “I realised there is nothing more versatile than a degree in law,” says ANU JD student Amit Poonath. “I personally know graduates who pursued careers in tourism strategy, resource management and risk mitigation and public policy work after completing a law degree.”
“If I end up as a barrister or solicitor I know that I’ll be able to confidently commit, because ANU has equipped me with the knowledge and skills I need,” he adds. “Though at the same time, I’m doing the JD because I want to do something that isn’t traditionally ‘law’.”
Berkeley Law is one of the most prominent legal education providers in the US. As one of 14 schools and colleges that form the UC Berkeley name – an institution ranked as the nation’s Top Public School – Berkeley Law provides the ultimate foundation in the realm of global law.
This institution wholeheartedly believes its degrees should be used as tools for change, not just locally but also on the international stage. Intent on producing students who go on to make an impact, Experiential Education forms the backbone of the Berkeley Law study experience.
From clinical programmes to field placements, practicums, skills competitions and everything in between, Berkeley Law students are granted the practical opportunities that place them at the cutting edge of the legal profession. “The field placement program at Berkeley Law is amazing,” says Kristoff Williams, Class of ’18. “…I never thought I would have the opportunity to represent clients in court before becoming a licensed attorney. Now, I will be graduating with experience most people never get.”
The programme portfolio includes Social Justice/Public Interest, Business and Start-Ups, Tech/IP/Privacy, Environment & Energy, Criminal Justice, Constitutional/Regulatory Law, International and Comparative Law, granting students access to a breadth and depth of pathways. Berkeley Law prides itself on its ability to supply a curriculum that supports virtually any legal aspiration.
With a tradition that runs back to 1887, the Faculty of Law is one of the oldest professional schools at UofT.
Comprised of 50 full-time members of faculty and a dozen short-term guest professors from leading institutes around the globe, not to mention a student community that stands 600 strong, UofT promotes a conducive learning environment that produces top results.
The faculty offers a number of first-rate courses and programmes for practicing lawyers and law graduates, as well as business leaders who may not possess a law degree, but who work in fields that require some interaction and knowledge of legal issues. UofT’s Executive Education offerings include: Global Professional Master of Laws (GPLLM), Write Your Success, Women in Transition, and various other Continuing Professional Development events.
Here, outstanding academics are paired with legal clinics and public interest opportunities, while close ties to an extensive network of 6,000 alumni enrich every part of student life. Housed in the elegant and cutting-edge Jackman Law Building – with students also gaining access to the picturesque Flavelle House and Falconer Hall – UofT’s law education represents the perfect blend of old and new. Set amid the beating pulse of downtown Toronto, Canada’s largest city, the school is near a range of attractions – including the Royal Ontario Museum, which is right next door.
LSE Law is one of the most influential law schools on the planet. Characterised by a pristine reputation and a global reach, LSE offers legal teaching research that’s universally acknowledged.
The Law Department at LSE has played a crucial role in the construction of policy and debate. Staff and students come from all corners of the globe, eager to experience the school’s unparalleled international outlook and interdisciplinary feel. As such, the department enjoys a distinctly cosmopolitan student body, helping legal education take shape in a number of common law countries.
From banking to taxation law, civil litigation to company law, labour to family law, welfare law, legal systems and professions, the LSE legal portfolio is one that has it all.
“I really enjoyed the classes because before [this] I came from a science background, so a lot of the work is very absolute – you know exactly what you’re doing – whereas with law it’s a bit different because there’s no right or wrong answer,” says LLB student, Tifanny Khoo. “Here, you kind of have the opportunity to explore those answers, and I’d say that I really, really liked that part.”
*Some of the institutions included in this feature are commercial partners of Study International