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     FrontPage Edition: Sat 6 January 2007

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SMU starts School of Law



The Singapore Management University (SMU) will be starting a School of Law with effect from 2007.
The SMU School of Law will provide legal education with a strong business orientation to prepare its graduates for law practice in Singapore and in the region. It will also add richness and diversity to the legal education landscape in Singapore.
The School will offer a 4-year undergraduate single Law degree programme, and a 5-year double degree programme combining the Law degree programme with SMU¡¯s existing non-law programmes of Accountancy, Business, Economics, Information Systems, and Social Sciences.
The School will start to admit students in Academic Year (AY) 2007.
The SMU Law degree programme aims to provide its graduates with a firm foundation in legal knowledge, as well as the thinking and learning skills to meet the professional requirements of a lawyer.
The SMU law curriculum will comprise core law subjects and a range of law electives for its students to choose from.
In line with SMU¡¯s philosophy to provide its students with a holistic education, the Law degree programme will require students to take a significant proportion of non-law courses, which will help them understand the context and environment within which law functions.
Through these non-law courses, students will develop an understanding of business and finance, which are critical skills that are required of lawyers dealing in corporate work.
SMU will also require its law students to take a 10-week internship with a law firm, public sector legal unit or public sector regulatory body, and to perform 80 hours of community service.
SMU will be exploring opportunities for its law students to leverage on their legal training to render voluntary services to the community.
The SMU law curriculum has been reviewed by the Board of Legal Education and the Ministry of Law, and will be accepted for qualification of SMU law graduates for law practice in Singapore subject to the necessary requirements/standards being met.
As is the case for National University of Singapore (NUS) law graduates, these requirements include graduating with at least a Second Class Lower (Hons) (or its equivalent).
Graduates are also required to complete a five-month Postgraduate Practical Law Course conducted by the Board of Legal Education as well as undergo a six-month pupillage before they can be admitted to the Singapore Bar.
In the area of pedagogy, the SMU School of Law plans to adopt a seminarstyle teaching approach, similar to that in US law schools. This would require students to put in a substantial amount of pre-class preparatory reading and thinking, and to participate actively during class.
The high level of engagement and interactive classroom pedagogy is aimed at enriching and deepening students¡¯ learning, thinking and mastery of a subject, thereby producing confident and articulate graduates.
In line with this focus on student participation, a holistic approach will be adopted for course assessment. Significant emphasis will be given to class participation and presentations, with the weightage of written examinations kept to a maximum of 50%.
Student Intake
The Third Committee on the Supply of Lawyers estimated that an additional 140-150 legal professionals will be required each year from 2010 until 2015 to meet the needs of Singapore¡¯s legal industry.
To meet this number, the SMU School of Law will take in 90 students in AY2007, reaching a steady-state intake of 120 from AY2008 onwards.
The NUS Faculty of Law will also increase its intake from the current 220 to 240 beginning in AY2007.
The increase in NUS' Faculty of Law student intake and the establishment of the SMU School of Law will increase the opportunities for Singaporean students to do law. It will also allow NUS and SMU to recruit more foreign talented students for its law programmes.
SMU will be working out further details of the SMU School of Law, in preparation for the AY2007 university admission exercise. SMU will release more details on its law programme at a later date.
In August 2006, the Government accepted the recommendations of the Third Committee on the Supply of Lawyers on augmenting the supply of lawyers for Singapore¡¯s legal industry.
This included the Committee¡¯s recommendation to set up a second law school. Correspondingly, the Government gave in-principle approval to SMU to proceed with its proposal to establish a law school.
A Steering Committee chaired by LG(NS) Lim Chuan Poh, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, was set up to guide the establishment of the SMU School of Law. The members of the Steering Committee are presented at the Annex.
Ministry of Education
05 January 2007

Source: Press Release 5 Jan 2007

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