What Students Say
Dr. Gregory Xu
Dr. Gregory Xu graduated from UQ in 2007 and 2008 with the degrees of Juris Doctor (JD) and Master of Business Administration (MBA) respectively, having completed both degrees in only two-and-a-half years.
Typically these degrees would take approximately four to five years to complete, but Gregory is not a typical student.
During his time at UQ, Gregory was elected to represent all coursework postgraduate students on the University’s Academic Board. He also sat on the UQ MBA Representative Committee, and was twice admitted to the Business, Economics and Law Faculty’s Dean’s Honour Roll for outstanding academic excellence in both degrees.
Gregory was admitted as a legal practitioner of the Supreme Court of Queensland in July 2008 after his admission was moved by Professor Sarah Derrington. Gregory has since cross-qualified as a lawyer in New Zealand, England and Wales, Singapore and New York, and recently earned a Doctor of Juridical Science degree. Presently, Gregory is working as a Legal Associate at the Singapore office of a leading international law firm but his days of university study appear to be far from over.
“To broaden my experience, I am currently in the process of strengthening my expertise in international and comparative law by pursuing a dual Master of Laws with New York University and National University of Singapore (NYU@NUS) in Singapore.”
“Degrees from UQ are extremely well recognised internationally. Be it undertaking further graduate studies or cross-qualifying in other common law jurisdictions,, the possibilities are endless with my UQ law degree”, says Gregory.
An interest in international criminal justice and human rights law lead 2007 graduate Terry Slight to an internship with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in Bangkok where he works in the human trafficking program. This is a remarkable achievement as the UN accepts very few people into the program. Terry is the first UQ graduate, and one of only a handful of Australians, to be offered an internship.
Terry said he chose to study law at UQ because of its reputation, and since completing his degree he hasn’t looked back.
“University was great. It was hard work but I wouldn’t be where I am today without UQ” says Terry.
“More specifically, I wouldn’t be here [at the United Nations] without the guidance and knowledge I received from the staff at the TC Beirne School of Law.”
“I chose to study at The University of Queensland as it is a world-class university with a good reputation and academic atmosphere. As part of the UQ-SIFT (Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade) agreement, I was also able to come to Australia for part of my course with classmates from China so I never felt lonely while I was studying.”
“I feel I benefitted tremendously by studying at UQ. My horizons have been broadened and, as well as learning from world-class teachers, I was able to discuss issues and exchange views with classmates from all over the world, assisting me to learn and think from an international perspective. The Law School’s library facilities were excellent and were also of great benefit.”
Max Del Mar
A contact made at a student association function proved to be a career defining experience for 2004 BA/LLB Honours graduate Max Del Mar.
Max is currently completing a PhD in legal theory at the University of Edinburgh and following that will commence a three-year research position in Switzerland.
However, it was as President of the Australian Legal Philosophy Students Association (ALPSA) that Mr Del Mar took a major step in his academic career.
Max booked world renowned Scottish legal theorist Professor Neil MacCormick to speak at ALPSA’s inaugural lecture. This would prove to be an important connection.
“Professor MacCormick is certainly one of the most important legal theorists in the world today,” says Max.
“I have been lucky enough to have spent the last few years working on my doctorate in legal theory at Edinburgh under his supervision.”
While at UQ Max also managed the student publishing initiative ‘UQ Vanguard’ through which he said he learned some other important lessons for academic life.
“While leading UQ Vanguard, I had the opportunity to work with many students and staff from different departments at UQ and elsewhere. We were very busy publishing issues and organising art exhibitions and other events, but these were wonderfully creative years in which I came to see the value and necessity for interdisciplinary work and the pedagogical value of both an appreciation of and involvement in the arts.”
Prior to commencing his PhD, Max spent a year working as an associate at the Supreme Court of Queensland. He then combined working as a lawyer in the field of migration law with acting as the Founding Director of the Legal Professional Ethics Education and Regulation project at the Queensland Law Society.
Regan has spent almost one third of his life at UQ - earning degrees in Commerce, Law and Engineering.
“Life at UQ has improved my communication skills and has taught me about life balance and about interacting with people from a variety of backgrounds and with a variety of ambitions.”
Regan says he chose to study law because it gives a good base of knowledge that can be used in just about any career.
“Having a good knowledge of the law opens up many opportunities even if you choose not to pursue a career in the law.”
“I feel that The University of Queensland is the premier university; particularly for law. Other universities offer law programs but the UQ program is designed to give a strong knowledge of the basis and theory behind the law. Other universities concentrate so much on the practical applications and examples that their graduates struggle to adapt to unfamiliar fact situations.”
Whilst at UQ, Regan enjoyed studying Constitutional Law, International Law and Maritime Law and now focuses on Intellectual Property Law (Patents, Trade Marks, Designs and Copyright law).
Michelle claims “UQ was the natural choice when I decided to do postgraduate study”.
“UQ’s reputation for excellence both nationally and internationally meant that I would have qualifications that were recognised world-wide.”
“I was interested in Maritime and Shipping Law, International Trade Law and Insurance Law. The University of Queensland is one of the few universities in the world that offers a comprehensive postgraduate degree in the field of Maritime Law. I specialised in Marine Insurance and Carriage of Goods by Sea, and the depth of expertise within the staff of the TC Beirne School of Law provided courses that enabled me to develop specialist knowledge and broaden my career options.”
Flexibility of study is important to most students, particularly those balancing a family life.
“As a practising solicitor with a family, flexibility was important. The structure of the UQ postgraduate degree allowed me to pursue my academic interests and work at the same time. The summer offerings and intensive courses meant that I was able to focus on specific areas of law and complete courses quickly. UQ also offered me the opportunity to develop a deep understanding of particular areas of interest through thesis study, which has proved to be a great benefit to me professionally”.
“Studying at St Lucia was a wonderful experience. It is a beautiful campus and I developed friendships with lawyers and industry representatives from Asia, Europe and the US. I also enjoyed working closely with the academic staff as they supported and guided me through my degree.”
A recent UQ graduate in both Law and Arts, Nicholas is currently Associate to the Chief Justice of Australia and has just been awarded the Knox Fellowship at Harvard University to study an LLM.
Nicholas chose to study at UQ because of the Law School’s reputation and the University’s programs in Japanese and Asian Studies.
“I also thought UQ would be a good place from which to try to build an international career. I was attracted to the exchange opportunities at UQ (I spent a summer semester at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences studying Chinese legal history) and thought I’d be able to meet a variety of people from around the world at UQ.”
“I took a variety of electives at the TC Beirne School of Law. My choices reflected a slight bent towards international and comparative law subjects (Asian Legal Systems, EU Law, Islamic Law and Comparative Law), but I also enjoyed competition law, copyright, and other more ‘black letter’ courses.”
Nicholas recalls some of his fondest memories of UQ relate to studying in the law library (he says it became his ‘home away from home’) and in the cloisters cafe.
“I wouldn’t be going to Harvard, and wouldn’t have been awarded the Knox Fellowship, without the constant guidance and support of UQ academics; Dr Ann Black and Professor Sarah Derrington wrote countless references for me, as did Dr Morris Low and Professor Nanette Gottlieb from the School of Languages and Comparative Cultural Studies. All these people answered my endless questions, and gave me advice over the long process of applying for admission to grad schools. I am very grateful” says Nicholas.
Law graduates from The University of Queensland don’t always end up working as lawyers. Omar Ameer is a good example. He has recently changed career paths from being a litigation and insolvency lawyer in a national firm, to working in the investigations team of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Omar describes his new career path as a great job.
“I manage a team that investigates whether offences have been committed against Queensland’s environmental legislation. Basically I am an ‘eco-cop’, using my legal background to make Queensland a better place.”
Omar originally specialised in insolvency whilst working in commercial law.
“I enjoyed the intellectual challenge of the area, as well as the variety that came with acting for external administrators of a company. I dealt with a lot of different areas of the law, and got to do a fair bit of court work as well. These days, I’m brushing up on my planning and environment law, and the criminal law; especially the evidentiary aspects of it. A broad understanding of the offence provisions of the legislation and the basics of evidence are enough in my current job, but having a legal background, I’m often a port of call for staff with legal questions.”
When choosing which university to study at, Omar described UQ as ‘the natural choice’ for him.
“The intellectual discipline that I learnt at UQ has probably been instrumental in getting me to where I am today; without it I doubt I’d have been able to make the transition from insolvency and litigation lawyer to environmental investigator so quickly. I also made friends who I am still close to over a decade after leaving the law school.”
UQ law graduate Kai Luck loved studying at UQ so much, he decided to stay on and pursue his PhD!
“I had such a positive and enriching experience studying law as an undergraduate at UQ and I definitely wasn’t ready to leave when I graduated” says Kai.
“The research resources at UQ are exceptional and I was excited about working with such a diverse range of talented academics.”
When asked about his time spent studying at UQ, Kai credits the supportive network provided within the TC Beirne School of Law. “I had just moved to Brisbane from interstate and didn’t know a single person. I also wasn’t expecting how different university would be compared to high school. However, I began to thrive on the challenge that law represented and I was inspired by the many brilliant lecturers whom I was fortunate enough to discuss complex legal problems with.”
“Law is such a dynamic discipline. It deals with just about every aspect of the world around us and I think it is very exciting to be a part of that. Lawyers are in a position of great responsibility and they have the ability to make a difference for their clients, the wider community and, very importantly for me, animals and the environment. I am a very focused and analytical person and I love to be challenged; another reason why I chose to study law.”
Having enjoyed a career at sea as a navigation officer, it was a continuing interest in the institutions, treaties and laws which governed international trade and the regulation of shipping which attracted Peter to return to university and to study law.
After travelling the world, Peter said that he decided to study at UQ due to the University’s international standing and reputation for academic excellence, especially in the fields of international and maritime law.
“Studying law at UQ was a very rewarding experience. The academic staff are recognised leaders in their fields of specialisation and are always available to assist and encourage you to achieve your best. The library and support facilities are excellent; and the ability to take electives in your chosen area of interest from an early stage in your degree enables you to focus and interact with fellow students who share passions similar to your own” says Peter.
After graduating from the JD in 2005, Peter joined a leading international law firm where he was able to practice maritime law, returning to UQ to complete his LLM in international trade on a part time basis.
“When it comes to selecting a postgraduate master’s degree, it is important to choose one that offers the best fit between the School’s research areas and your professional interests; whilst at the same time providing the necessary degree of flexibility required in today’s environment to balance study and a professional life. As one of the few universities offering a comprehensive LLM in international trade, together with intensive subjects in the law of the sea, shipping and sea carriage law, the decision to undertake postgraduate study with UQ was a natural one.”
Having recently completed a secondment to London as an admiralty lawyer, Peter returns to UQ in 2008 as a full time PhD student under the supervision of Professor Sarah Derrington where he will research the legal implications of competition law on the shipping industry.
In addition to having enjoyed the first-class facilities and stimulating environment in which to study, Peter has further reason to return to UQ as it was during the course of his legal studies that he met his wife, and UQ PhD graduate Petra.
“You could say that I have more than one reason to have enjoyed my studies and be thankful for my time at UQ” Peter said.
Dushyant Mahant faced the same decision as many law graduates when he finished his LLB – join a law firm or start his own practice? He decided that neither was for him. Instead, he chose to enroll in a Master’s specializing in intellectual property law.
“I have always wanted to work in the area of intellectual property law. I decided to do a Master’s to get a strong grip on the subject from a remarkable institution before joining the Bar”.
Dushyant admits that the TC Beirne School of Law wasn’t one of the original law schools he considered when deciding to undertake postgraduate study.
“I was only applying to law schools in the US and UK. However, once I interacted with graduates from UQ’s TC Beirne School of Law, I resolved to enrol at UQ.”
“I can say that it was one of the best decisions of my life.”
When asked about benefits he gained from studying at UQ, Dushyant said “professionalism, discipline, a focussed approach and a ‘you can’ attitude”.
In addition to the intellectual property law courses, Dushyant also enjoyed and found insurance law, electronic law and patent law of great interest.
Dushyant now lives in India and proudly promotes his continued connection to UQ every time he drives his car with his personalised licence plate and back windscreen sticker.