A law degree that's not just for lawyers
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Singaporeans from industries ranging from banking to IT, shipping to oil, are studying law to upgrade their skills and enhance their career prospects.
The University of London International Programmes, which enables students to study for UK law qualifications in Singapore, saw a 30 per cent jump in new student registrations for its undergraduate law programmes in 2011.
Professor Jenny Hamilton, Director of the University of London Undergraduate Laws Programme, said the rise could be attributed to increasing awareness that law was relevant for many careers.
She said: “University of London undergraduate laws programmes provide an excellent grounding for those who want to work in the commercial or corporate fields. Not only do our graduates possess highly relevant knowledge in these dynamic and fast moving fields, but they also gain skills that will enable them to apply this knowledge effectively and make a significant contribution to these sectors of the Singaporean economy.”
Cenobia Majella, Executive Director of Stansfield College, said the majority of students were not looking to become lawyers as the University of London LLB does not qualify you to practise law in Singapore (although it is accepted in most Commonwealth countries). She said: “Many of our students choose to study law to enhance their legal skills to help them with their current careers. Students also enrol for the law programmes as it is seen as academically challenging and successful completion is an indication of their academic abilities.”
"Students enrol in law courses to gain knowledge of law to complement and complete their education, not necessarily to practise"
Jasmani bin Jalil, Head of Law at TMC Academy, agreed: “Students enrol in law courses to gain knowledge of law to complement and complete their education, not necessarily to practise.”
Mohamed Malik, Head of University of Law Programmes at SAA Global Education, said he had noticed a trend of students studying the LLB as they considered it “a good commercial and corporate law qualification”.
One such student is Punit Oza, a Chartering Manager at a shipping company, whose position involves commercial negotiations of contracts and assisting with legal disputes. Mr Oza, who is studying at ITC School of Laws, said: “Being in the commercial department of my organisation, the legal knowledge has already proved relevant to me in my job and is definitely going to help my career prospects.”
Alumnus Thomson Png, a banking executive who also studied at ITC, added that the LLB degree had improved his analytical skills, which helped when making managerial decisions: “The law degree moulded me into a better corporate manager.”