by Pimvipa Kunanusorn
Thammasat University Faculty of Law’s International LL.B. Program has embedded its relationships with a leading regional law firm and Singapore’s flagship National University of Singapore, ushering in a new era of international collaboration at student level. The International LL.B Program selected Singapore as the destination of its first academic overseas excursion, to explore a distinctive legal system and connect with the country’s most vibrant legal minds.
On an early morning at Suvarnabhumi Airport, 85 second-year students and professors of the International LL.B. Program arrived gradually, in formal attire, bubbling with enthusiasm and excitement. It was only a matter of time before they had reached Changi Airport in Singapore and were on buses driving towards Rajah & Tann, one of the most prestigious law firms in the region of South-East Asia.From the ground level of the Straits Trading Building, lawyers from Rajah & Tann led both students and professors up to the Sky Garden, welcoming the group warmly with a short introductory speech. While the students were split into groups to attend a fascinating program of presentations, the professors, including Dr. Munin Pongsapan (Director of the International LL.B. Program) happily conversed with Paul Tan (Partner) and Samuel Seow (Senior Legal Executive) from Rajah & Tann, who played a significant role in organizing this highlight of the Program’s excursion.
Seated in the conference rooms of Rajah & Tann, students and professors of the International LL.B. Program listened spellbound to leading lawyers in Singapore, who gave lectures on Courts and Regional Dispute Resolution and Corporate, Investment and Regulatory Issues in the Region, providing valuable insight into dynamic fields of law in South-East Asia from the cutting edge of legal practice.
Among other speakers, Chia Kim Huat (Regional Head) comprehensively explained corporate structures in M&A practice in Singapore and the rest of South-East Asia. On the other hand, Tien Gui Koh (Partner) provided a comparative analysis of investment regulations in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Through the thought-provoking lectures offered by Rajah & Tann, students were granted an unparalleled opportunity to explore prospective areas to specialize in for their future studies, which they should select, as remarked by Andrew Ong (Partner), by taking into account their own personality and passion.
As the day came to a close, students and professors networked with lawyers before taking a memorable group photo together, marking the beginning of what is destined to be a long relationship between the International LL.B. Program and Rajah & Tann.
This was the commencement of a student-led conference, which had been subject to a great deal of anticipation. Hosted jointly by Thammasat University and the National University of Singapore, student speakers exchanged invaluable knowledge on their respective legal systems and pro bono culture. As the conference’ morning session concluded, students from both universities had gained a broader understanding of each country’s legal culture as a whole, surely prompting more creative, innovative and effective pro bono projects in the future.For the duration of the afternoon, students from the International LL.B. Program met Benny Tan, who shared his hands-on experience as a public prosecutor alongside providing a brief introduction to criminal law in the context of Singapore. Through hearing his analysis of landmark cases like Sunny Ang v PP, students were able to carefully consider the differences between criminal court procedures in Thailand and Singapore. To conclude the day spent at the National University of Singapore, students proceeded to participate enthusiastically in an interactive client interview workshop hosted by Sheila Hayre (Senior Lecturer). Students discovered, by taking on the roles of client and interviewer, how and what to ask in client interviews, gaining a novel perspective of legal work.
Alongside success in student connectivity between Thammasat University and the National University of Singapore, the professors of both universities bonded with one another over discussion of stimulating legal topics. With Dean Narong Jaiharn of Thammasat University and Dean Simon Chesterman of the National University of Singapore pictured side-by-side in what is sure to become a historic photo, the International LL.B. Program departed from Singapore having established what promises to be a long-term partnership with the National University of Singapore, launching an new era for future collaborative endeavors in the years to come.