The Admission Interviews, are meant to provide insights into LLM admissions right from the law school itself. The primary idea behind this series is to provide that little bit of extra information that may not be available on the law school’s website.
Puteri Sofia Amirnuddin is the Programme Director for Master of Laws at Taylor’s University in Malaysia. I chanced upon Taylor’s while looking at Asian universities that Indian law graduates may be interested in, apart from the usual suspects of NUS and, to some extent, HKU. Taylor’s is currently offering two, specialised LL.M.’s, one on international trade law, and the other on medical law. They have also recently launched a PhD programme in law.
Here is Puteri talking about the two programmes, future employment opportunities in Malaysia, and more.
As someone who has studied extensively outside her home country, what do you think are some of the “softer” advantages of a studying abroad?
I would say that students will gain invaluable experience at Taylor’s University in Malaysia as they will be able to interact with students from other countries and background. We have students coming from Seychelles, Mauritus, Maldives, Bangladesh, Pakistan, South Korea, Indonesia, Australia, Nigeria, China, Sudan, Russia and Kazakhstan studying Master of Laws at Taylor’s University.
There are also various events organized by the Taylor’s Law School. For example, the DiaLAWgues sessions where prominent individuals provide talks to law students.
International Students will also be given opportunity to participate in trips to the Malaysian Parliament, Palace of Justice, High Court of Malaya, Attorney General’s Chambers and other interesting places which would provide insights on the legal system in Malaysia.
As a Programme Director for Master of Laws programmes, I conduct a dialogue session with the Masters students every semester to ensure that their needs regarding their studies are well taken care of. The feedback provided by the international students are frequently positive from enjoying the lessons in class and also to be able to explore various attractions at Malaysia.
When it comes to the LLM programme at Taylor’s University, you offer two, specialised courses. Are you planning on introducing a general LLM as well?
At Taylor’s Law School, we offer Master of Laws (International Business and Trade Law) and Master of Laws (Healthcare and Medical Law) programmes. The School has designed the programmes to reflect the demand of working professionals in these two specialized areas.
There have been few inquiries whether Taylor’s Law School will introduce general LLM but at the moment, the School plans to encourage postgraduate students to pursue their PhD in Law at Taylor’s University. We launched our PhD in Law in March this year.
Also, do you prefer candidates who have a few year’s of work experience? Or are you also open to fresh law graduates enrolling for the course?
We welcome any students from any background to study Master of Laws! It is always good for the students to have the additional qualification in addition to their undergraduate degree.
The Master of Laws degree is particularly interesting as it provides students with a deeper understanding about the area of law that is not generally covered in their workplace.
We have students who joined the Master of Laws programmes immediately after they have completed their Bachelor of Laws degree.
“The Master of Laws degree is particularly interesting as it provides students with a deeper understanding about the area of law that is not generally covered in their workplace.”
Do you see LLM graduates then enrolling for doctoral studies at Taylor’s? Is the doctorate funded?
We have been received many inquiries relating to the PhD in Law at Taylor’s University. We even have medical doctors who have completed Master of Laws (Healthcare and Medical Law) programme expressing their interests to pursue PhD in Law programme.
As we all know, various industries have been disrupted by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Hence, it is not surprising that there are many inquiries on Master of Laws and PhD in Law programmes as there are many working professionals who would like to gain additional qualifications in order to survive in the challenging future world of work.
With regard to the funding of the doctoral studies, it depends on each applicant actually. We have applicants who are joining the programmes funded by their employer. We also have students who are self-funded, or have received bursary and/or scholarships from Taylor’s University.
What is your reading of the Malaysian legal market when it comes to the recruitment of international lawyers?
In recent years, there have been a number of international law firms entered into a partnership with Malaysian law firms. The Legal Profession (Amendment) Act 2012 and further amendments to the legislation have now permitted foreign law firms and foreign lawyers to practise in Peninsular Malaysia in the manner set out in the legislation.
Depending on the qualifications of the international lawyers, the law firms are open to consider the applications of international lawyers intending to work in Peninsula Malaysia.
“Depending on the qualifications of the international lawyers, the law firms are open to consider the applications on international lawyers intending to work in Peninsula Malaysia.”
Given your academic experience, any advice for law students who are interested in academia and research? Any tips on how they should structure their legal education?
I would advise students to always opt for a Masters degree that encourage students to publish their work. The publication of students work in any journal will open many doors for them to apply jobs in academia, knowledge management department in law firms and even perhaps at the Ministry level. They will get their name ‘out there’ for future students, researchers, academics and/or policymakers to refer to their research.
It really depends on the interests of the each students on their future career path.
My advice to young law graduates is to keep in mind the revolution of the legal profession. There will be some law firms that will invest heavily on artificial intelligence and employ less young graduates as the former will be able to conduct legal research faster as compared to manual labour.
“My advice to young law graduates is to keep in mind the revolution of the legal profession.”
It is advisable for students to invest in programmes that will sharpen their analytical skills, problem solving skills, and empathy.
If they are not rushing to find a job, they should consider pursuing Master of Laws after they have completed their undergraduate studies. With the additional skills and knowledge, they can sit for the Bar Exam confidently and they would be more mature as compared to the other fresh law graduates.