SMU School of Law
|Type||Private autonomous national university|
55 Armenian Street,
The Singapore Management University School of Law (SMU School of Law) is one of the six schools of Singapore Management University. It was set up as Singapore's second law school in 2007, 50 years after the National University of Singapore Faculty of Law and 10 years before Singapore University of Social Sciences School of Law. Before becoming a law school, the school was a Law Department within the School of Business between 2000 and 2007.
The school offers a four-year undergraduate single Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree programme and a double degree programme combining the law degree programme with one of SMU's existing non-law programmes. The school also offers a graduate Juris Doctor (JD) programme as well as a Master of Laws (LLM) programme. The Dual LLM in Commercial Law, which confers LLM degrees from Queen Mary University of London and SMU, was launched in 2015.
Admission to the law programme is competitive: in the 2015 University Admissions Exercise, both the 10th and 90th percentile had an Indicative Grade Profile (of Singapore-Cambridge GCE A-Level qualifications) of AAA/A; approximately 1,300 applicants were shortlisted for an interview and a written test.
Since the launch of its international moots programme in 2010, the school has been to the championship final of the largest and most established international moot court competitions and holds the world records for most number of international moot championship finals in a season and most number of international moot championships in a season.
The School of Law was preceded by the Law Department, which was created in 2000 and part of the university's Lee Kong Chian School of Business, and headed by Professor Andrew Phang (now Judge of Appeal, Supreme Court of Singapore). A full-fledged law school was established in 2007 – 50 years after the establishment of the first and then-only law school in Singapore, National University of Singapore Faculty of Law — following a review by the government that concluded there was a shortage of qualified legal personnel in Singapore.
The school's first dean was Professor Michael Furmston, a leading authority on contracts and commercial law in the Commonwealth. He headed the school from its inception in 2007 to 2012. Professor Yeo Tiong Min SC was then the dean from 2012 to 2017. Associate Professor Goh Yihan has been the dean since 2017.
The Applied Research Centre for Intellectual Assets and the Law in Asia (ARCIALA) was launched in May 2015 and in June that year the school signed a sponsorship and training agreement with WongPartnership. In August, it launched a dual LLM with Queen Mary, University of London.
In June 2018, the school received a $4.5m grant from the NRF and IMDA to helm a research programme on AI and data use. In July that year it launched the LLM in Judicial Studies and in September a Centre for AI and Data Governance.
There is an Advisory Board which provides advisory assistance to the School of Law; it routinely includes Supreme Court judges, senior litigators, corporate lawyers, managing partners of law firms, and partners of foreign law firms. The Advisory Board is currently chaired by former Judge of Appeal and Attorney-General VK Rajah SC. Rajah, together with former Supreme Court judges Yong Pung How and Chao Hick Tin, serve as Distinguished Fellows.
Undergraduate and postgraduate
To be admitted to the Bachelor of Laws (LLB) programme, applicants should have good passes in their respective GCE A-Level subjects and also at minimum an A or a B for H1 General Paper or H2 Knowledge and Inquiry. In the 2015 University Admissions Exercise, both the 10th and 90th percentile had an Indicative Grade Profile (of 3H2/1H1 content-based subjects) of AAA/A. Potential candidates are called for a short written test and a group interview.
The LLB programme is a four-year programme; it is also possible to enroll in the double degree programme (combining law with accountancy, business, economics, information systems, or social sciences). Students must also complete ten weeks of internship and 80 hours of community service to graduate. The law school is partnered with law schools including Peking University, University of New South Wales, University of San Diego, and University of St Gallen for direct law-to-law exchange.
Based on the 2017 Graduate Employment Survey, 97.6% of the school's graduates found employment; the school's graduates also commanded the highest mean basic monthly salary among all schools in the university. In the 2018 survey, the overall rate was 92.7%. Alumni of the school are well-represented in the major law firms, the Supreme Court Justices' Law Clerk scheme.
The SMU Juris Doctor programme is an additional route for persons who already have a degree in another discipline or a law degree not recognised for the purpose of admission to the Singapore Bar to become members of the Singapore legal profession. Applicants must have completed at least three years of full-time undergraduate education and show proficiency in the English language. SMU's JD curriculum is a mix of compulsory law courses and electives. Similar to all SMU undergraduates, six weeks of internship and 50 hours of community service are required for graduation. Students are required to complete a total of 25 Credit Units of law courses. Although students are expected to complete the programme within three years, the programme may be accelerated.
There are three Master of Laws (LLM) options: the LLM in Cross-Border Business and Finance Law in Asia, the Dual LLM in Commercial Law (Singapore and London), and the LLM in Judicial Studies (which is offered jointly with the Supreme Court). The first two options are one-year programmes while the dual LLM is a 15-month programme where students split their time between SMU and Queen Mary University of London.
The SMU Law Academy or SMULA runs seminars on developments in the law for the legal profession; attendees receive Continuing Professional Development points. Courses taught to the LLB, JD, and LLM students may also be audited.
International moot competitions
Since the launch of its international moots programme in 2010, the school has been to the championship final of the largest and most established international moot court competitions: Jessup (2013 and 2014), Vis (2015 and 2016), Vis East (2015 and 2016), Price (2010, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018), ICC (2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018), Frankfurt (2015 and 2017), IHL (2016 and 2019), and International Maritime Law Arbitration Moot (2016). As of June 2019, SMU has emerged champions 23 times, 1st-runner-up 23 times, and 2nd-runner-up 26 times in international moot competitions, in addition to winning hundreds of Best Oralist and Best Memorial prizes and 14 national round championships (including five Jessup national titles in the last seven years). It set a world record of eight international moot finals in a single season in 2014/15 (winning a world record five), a feat it bettered in 2015/16 when it reached nine international moot finals. It also became the first university in the history of international moots to successfully defend a major moot international title when it won back-to-back championships in the ICC moot in 2015 and 2016; it became the second university to do the same when it won back-to-back championships in the Price moot in 2016 and 2017.
SMU students have given representations at various law reform efforts, including during the Constitutional Commission's hearing on the elected presidency and the Select Committee's hearing on deliberate online falsehoods.
The faculty have appeared as amicus curiae before courts in Singapore and overseas. The faculty have also authored various leading texts regularly cited by the courts, such as The Law of Torts in Singapore by Gary Chan and The Law of Contract in Singapore by Goh Yihan et al.
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