SMU law school's feats, at home and abroad

Some graduates of the SMU School of Law compete head to head with the best for the top jobs in the industry.
Some graduates of the SMU School of Law compete head to head with the best for the top jobs in the industry.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

In the decade since it started in 2007 with the first batch of 116 students, SMU's law school has helped boost the legal profession and chalked up several feats, both here and abroad.

A precursor of dominance to come was seen in the law heavyweights that staffed the law school's first advisory board in 2007. It was chaired by former chief justice Yong Pung How.

The founding members included the present Chief Justice, Mr Sundaresh Menon, who was himself chairman of the board from 2011-2012, former Court of Appeal judge and attorney-general V. K. Rajah, present Court of Appeal judge Andrew Phang, former attorney-general Walter Woon, Senior Counsel Michael Hwang, Senior Counsel Davinder Singh and top corporate lawyer Lee Suet Fern.

The board's role was to advise on the School of Law's academic programmes, curriculum development and graduate employment, among other things.

Law dean Yeo Tiong Min pointed out that one indicator of its signal success was seen last December in the results of the Part B professional examination which all law graduates have to clear as part of requirements to practise in Singapore.

SMU graduates won nine out of 14 prizes awarded for the exam, in competition with graduates from all law schools qualified under the Legal Profession Act.

SMU law students also raised their profile abroad, having reached 37 international mooting championship finals and winning 18 of them since 2007.

The latest win occurred last week in Germany where an SMU law school quartet emerged champions in the 10th edition of the Frankfurt Investment Arbitration Moot and one of the team members was named Best Oralist of the competition.

The team won all eight matches en route to the championship - presided by International Court of Justice Judge Christopher Greenwood - defeating the likes of George Washington, NLU Delhi and Lomonosov university law schools. This year saw a turnout of more than 60 teams from around the world.

" Anecdotal evidence points to increasing appreciation by law firms of the soft skills of our law graduates. Some of our graduates compete head to head with the best for the top jobs in the industry," added Professor Yeo.

Prof Yeo attributed the school's continuing success to several factors, including the "strong collective effort by the professors and administrators, powerful support from industry stakeholders and donors as well as highly motivated students and a young but strongly supportive alumni".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 16, 2017, with the headline 'SMU law school's feats, at home and abroad'. Print Edition | Subscribe