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Top Law School in Australia Takes Global View

A global perspective and international legal expertise is a key to building a successful legal career, says the Dean of one of Australia’s leading Law Schools.

Professor David Dixon, the Dean of Law at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), says a gobalised economy and increasingly blurred national legal boundaries mean law graduates need an international understanding – no matter where they plan to practice law.

At UNSW, courses are tailored to meet the needs of law graduates and postgraduates in a rapidly evolving international legal environment.

“Employers want graduates who have the broad cultural competence that you get from having international perspectives,” he says.

“Law is increasingly an international discipline, so we emphasise the global implications, not just in one or two courses, but throughout our degrees.”

Law students at UNSW are exposed to an international dimension in most of the 120 courses on offer: they study the globalised areas of international trade, environmental and human rights law, but they are also taught the international implications in areas such as criminal justice, dispute resolution and media law.

Unlike the traditional law school model, classes are taught in small groups in an interactive seminar style, which fosters the exchange of ideas across cultures and expertise.

 UNSW Law – a top tier Australian law school, with the best rating of any in the 2011 Good Universities Guide – has long attracted international students, and currently has students from 43 countries in undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate degree programs.

Students are able to tailor courses to their own requirements – they can study in weekly classes, intensive seminars, and summer school programs – meaning that practising lawyers and other professionals are among the student cohort. 

This cosmopolitan environment enables students to make international connections and broaden their experience, ultimately making them more employable in Australia and overseas. “For many of our postgraduate students, the opportunity to establish new professional networks and friendships is a real highlight of their time at UNSW,” says Professor Dixon.

A particularly attractive option is the new Juris Doctor (JD) degree – a three-year professional law degree for graduates of other disciplines and can be used as a qualification for entering the legal profession. 

Now in its second year, the JD degree has proved even more successful than anticipated, attracting high calibre students from around the world. One third already have Masters degrees and several have PhDs.

“It means the quality of the classes is very high – these students are very good at communicating and bringing their own experiences to the degree,” says Professor Dixon.

This year UNSW Law is offering more than 30 postgraduate programs, harnessing a wide selection of courses from the Law School, the Australian School of Business, and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

A number of new Masters programs include a Master of Criminal Justice and Criminology and a Master in Business Law – both open to people whose first degree is not in law – and there will soon be a new Master of Media Law and Journalism and also a Master of International Law and Security. New streams in the LLM include Dispute Resolution and Environmental Law.

 The UNSW culture is not just about producing graduates with high calibre skills, however: it is also about providing an environment in which students can get the most out of their time in Australia. With more than 11,000 international students currently studying at UNSW, the University’s commitment to the student experience is paramount.

UNSW Law employs a dedicated member of staff to oversee the international students and make sure their stay in Sydney is a happy one.

 “The culture of the Law School is that we are really committed to looking after our students,” says Professor Dixon.

“They will feel at home.”

For further information about the University of New South Wales contact:
T.  +61 2 9385 6996

For further information about the Faculty of Law at UNSW contact:
T. +61 2 9385 0684

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