I have some friends who graduated from the SMU School of Law. Some of them were the pioneer batches of the law school. Whenever they spoke of their experience at their law school, they usually spoke about how their law school focused more on corporate law and the fact that their legal education was more tuned to interacting and group work. They mentioned that this was what will set SMU law graduates apart from other law graduates and this is the unique quality that law firms will look for when hiring SMU law graduates. I never could quite understand what and how it was different, to be honest. This was mainly down to me not being a part of the experience and less of them not being able to articulate their experiences to me. Perhaps the saying “you’ve got to experience it” truly comes to the fore here.
So it’s graduation season once again. A plethora of students heading up on stage to receive their degree scrolls. I remember receiving my first degree scroll some 16 years ago. It was at the University Cultural Centre at NUS. Back then, getting a degree was just completing the loop. I did not know what I really wanted to do. I just knew that it was a natural progression after completing my A-levels to sign up to get my degree. To be frank, I did not really feel like university was much of a struggle. It was always about getting things done when they needed to be done and getting through the course with relatively decent grades and graduating and entering the workforce. There were some late nights of studying but nothing too taxing or demanding.
Some 15 years later, I decided to sign up for law school. I’ve always heard how difficult working and studying could be but even so, I was ill-prepared for what was to follow. Handling a legal education alone is perhaps doable. However, when you are a parent, a husband, a business owner, a company director it gets a whole lot tougher. Sleep becomes a premium and the sharpest moments in my day, i.e. my mornings, are spent on my work. This leaves me with my least productive periods, after 11 pm on weekdays, for my studies. As a father and a husband, I make it a point to spend time with my family before they go to bed.
I came into law school idealistic. Wanting to participate in as many activities as I could. Almost a year in, I would say that aligning my priorities would mean me focusing on graduating to become a lawyer. I still have a family to be responsible to and I have to run a company properly as the livelihood of others depended on me.
So then the goal is to graduate from the SUSS School of Law with at least a 2nd class honours degree. Just like her:
Sara’s story is perhaps one of many. Students in our beloved law school are parents, entrepreneurs, managers, and so much more. They wear multiple hats. They learn to, and eventually master, the pristine art of time compartmentalisation. They struggle to eventually get the job done.
So then what is the unique quality that law firms will be getting when they hire someone from the SUSS School of Law?
Trust me, it ain’t easy doing it all at once.
Congratulations to the Class of 2021!