Legal eaglets fly high
Despite the heavy workload on the bachelor of laws (LLB) programme at City University of Hong Kong (CityU), first-year students are enjoying myriad aspects of their studies and have successfully built up a support network.
'The law faculty is a tight-knit organisation committed to creating a warm, family-like type of learning environment,' says Kamaljeet Kaur, a first-year student on the programme.
Her batchmate, Oriana Ho Yi-yin, echoes this view. 'I have come to understand that laws go beyond the regulations laid down to maintain the stability of society.'
Kaur and Ho are among the 16 recipients of the 2011 LLB Admission Scholarship awarded by CityU's School of Law. Launched in 2008, the scholarship aims to support first-year undergraduates who have outstanding academic results, and a good track record when it comes to extra-curricular activities. The candidates must be LLB students admitted in Band A of the Joint University Programmes Admission System (JUPAS), and nominated by the principals of their secondary schools. Each scholarship recipient is awarded HK$50,000.
Due to the intense competition, Kaur was surprised by her win. 'It is a fantastic way to kick-start the four-year programme. You need an impressive r?sum?when looking for jobs after finishing your law studies. This scholarship will be a great addition,' says the graduate from Good Hope School.
The other scholarship recipients feel similarly. Fong Yan-nok considers the money to be a generous gift that will spur him on to study harder. Fong's alma mater is St Paul's Co-educational College.
Meanwhile, Jeffrey Lee Kwun-lun, who graduated from Ying Wa College, believes the nomination helps to establish a closer link between the secondary schools and universities. 'My experience may encourage students at Ying Wa to enrol in the LLB programme at CityU,' Lee says. 'Although we are only first-year students, the school has already offered us the opportunity to participate in mooting competitions.'
The four students developed an interest in the legal profession at an early age. Among them, Fong was exposed initially because of his father's job as a court interpreter. Lee says he was inspired by some Ying Wa 'old boys' who became lawyers, and shared their experiences with students at the school. 'I fell in love with the profession. Law is demanding in terms of language skills - so I think I will do well,' he says.
The impressive performances of CityU's teams at various international mooting competitions also enticed the students to enrol in the LLB. 'Mooting goes beyond textbooks and offers us the opportunity to practice skills and theories. It is a great way to test our abilities by putting us out there.'
Ho agrees. 'Mooting promotes collaboration between team members who work together in analysing cases and formulating arguments,' notes Ho, a graduate of PLK Vicwood KT Chong Sixth Form College.
Ho's parents - Sheung-tung and Catherine - believe the scholarship is a recognition of their daughter's abilities and a source of motivation for her. 'After sitting all of the primary and secondary school exams, some students are simply burnt out. University is a new environment for them and, hopefully, Oriana will make good use of the scholarship and study even harder.'
Fong's parents - Paul and Lucinda - appreciate the school's support of the undergraduates.
'The scholarship is like a beacon. It shows that the faculty will be holding the hands with the students throughout their four years of study,' says Lucinda Fong. 'Many law students are immersed and focused on their studies at the outset of the academic year, unlike some other first-year students from other faculties who are distracted by other things.'
Paul Fong says that CityU invests a lot of resources in its students and shows its commitment to them - even up to the Professional Certificate of Laws level. 'This is such a reassurance to the parents of students,' he says.