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Old 03-10-2009, 03:58 PM   #1
sprightbarks
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Default NUS law vs SMU law

anyone?

as far as i know there's relatively little coverage of law in the forums, or at least under the 'local' section. with regards to the thread title, could anyone fill me in pls? i'm sure it would make for a useful discussion for all who are considering reading law here.

thanks a lot!
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Old 03-10-2009, 04:19 PM   #2
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SMU, true to its nature as a business university, tends to focus more on commercial and corporate law, although according to their website you are still qualified to go into other branches. NUS is a more broad-based program. If you're more interested in things like tort law or criminal law, NUS would probably be a better choice.
with regards to the syllabus, it is my understanding that smu requires you to take some modules that are not related to law. i believe some of these mandatory courses include topics such as finance and economics, not too sure about the specific details though. this might give you firmer grounding should you wish to go into corporate law.

for nus, you can choose to study only law related modules, or selected modules from other faculties as well. it is also useful to note that in terms of electives, nus would have the greater variety, encompassing a greater range of genres. so if you're interested in stuff like maritime or islamic law, nus would be a better bet.
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Old 03-10-2009, 08:06 PM   #3
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Write ups on what SMU Law and NUS Law are like here:

http://tjchighed.pbwiki.com/SMU-Profile

http://tjchighed.pbwiki.com/NUS-Profile
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Old 03-10-2009, 09:12 PM   #4
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Oh those write ups are a nice read. In short...

If you have a choice between the two and you prefer flexibility in your elective modules, please consider NUS Law.

If you are bent on reading up on corporate law, please consider SMU Law.

If you just want to be a practicing lawyer, going for either will be fine. There really shouldn't be anything like the 'prestige of a law degree from ____ university' that needs to be considered.

My personal opinion though, is that NUS Law's curriculum is more established and preferred (with good reason). I think anyone who intends to study law in these two schools should note especially the teaching styles and the modules offered from both schools.
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Old 03-11-2009, 08:19 AM   #5
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Default Law

I am a current year 1 undergraduate from one of the 3 local universities.
For a start, be open to both smu & nus law options.
Pending from the outcome of your application, make your decision then & there. I have had a friend with 5As and wasn't accepted into nus law faculty but got into smu law. However, I have had another friend with 4As and GP B getting into NUS Law faculty. Both friends were from the same JC. Therefore, admission matters are sometimes hard to tell until acceptance letters have been received. Hence, be open to both options. No doubt that NUS Law is more established, and NUS itself has a global ranking, SMU Law is an alternative to it.

To know the 2 Law faculties better, go for their open houses. Visit the Law booths at both universities, visit nus bukit timah campus. Attend their admission talks. Also, talk to the seniors, professors, faculty staffs at the respective universities. They are the best people around to answer your questions. Listen to the seniors' experiences, but not w/o a pinch of salt. Basically, get a feel or an idea of how things are like at the law faculty of both universities. From my personal point of view, I found the open houses quite useful. I managed to gather a fair amount of useful information. A word of advice: Get the right question answered by the right person.

Generally speaking, be sure to make an informed choice and don't regret. A university degree is something that you will hold for the rest of your life. Therefore, consider the options carefully.

Last edited by livelife; 03-11-2009 at 08:28 AM.
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Old 03-11-2009, 11:43 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studygm View Post
SMU, true to its nature as a business university, tends to focus more on commercial and corporate law, although according to their website you are still qualified to go into other branches. NUS is a more broad-based program. If you're more interested in things like tort law or criminal law, NUS would probably be a better choice.
with regards to the syllabus, it is my understanding that smu requires you to take some modules that are not related to law. i believe some of these mandatory courses include topics such as finance and economics, not too sure about the specific details though. this might give you firmer grounding should you wish to go into corporate law.
I have a different view point.

I do not think the "corporate law go SMU" view point is very correct. Though SMU is a Biz only niche Uni, Law is a very different animal altogether. Saying that a Biz School is better in Corporate Law, might allow me to say that a Marine Engineering School is better in Maritime Law, an Social Sciences School is better in International Law and Family Law, a Mass Comm School is better in Media Law?

In terms of establishment and recognition, I still believe SMU lags a long way behind NUS. But for those of us who wants to study Law and cannot get into NUS, then SMU can be the backup plan.
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Old 03-11-2009, 12:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex View Post
I have a different view point.

I do not think the "corporate law go SMU" view point is very correct. Though SMU is a Biz only niche Uni, Law is a very different animal altogether. Saying that a Biz School is better in Corporate Law, might allow me to say that a Marine Engineering School is better in Maritime Law, an Social Sciences School is better in International Law and Family Law, a Mass Comm School is better in Media Law?

In terms of establishment and recognition, I still believe SMU lags a long way behind NUS. But for those of us who wants to study Law and cannot get into NUS, then SMU can be the backup plan.
the reason why i would consider smu to be a better place to study corporate law would be because of their requirement to do 40% of subjects that are more related to business and the workings associated with it. i won't go as for as saying that nus is lacking in preparing its students for that, but the mandatory modules of smu might be able to provide a better grounding.

when making my decision last year to choose between nus and smu law, i consulted different people including professors, current students in both schools, as well as relatives and friends i have that are currently practicing and i think it might be useful to share some of my observations and opinions. do note that i am not a student yet, still an nsf and will only be starting school in 2010.

this point is strictly a personal issue, but i don't have a particularly good impression of how smu markets itself. some might think otherwise, but i am not a fan of the way they tend to aggrandize their programs and achievements, and sometimes at the expense of the other 2 universities. granted, this is a situation that can be observed in all 3 universities, but i just dislike the way they overdo it sometimes.

teaching style. again, this is a preference of mine. i didn't fancy smu's well publicized style of teaching (ie. the seminar style). while i can understand how it might benefit some students, i do not think i am one of them unfortunately.

also, i am worried about how some negative trends might develop as a result of the heavy emphasize on class participation. some friends from smu have told me of how some of their classes have degenerated into a bit of a fiasco thanks to a few rotten apples in the class. all in all, i'm quite comfortable with the traditional lecture/tutorial style and think i learn quite well in that environment, but of course this is entirely a subject of personal inclination.

location. both schools' location have their own charm really. smu is of course located smack in the middle of town, which is a major bonus for some people. as for nus, bukit timah campus is quite a picturesque environment, gave me a nice serene feeling.

modules. this was probably the most important factor in my decision making. i took a look at the modules offered by both faculties and was a bit disappointed to see the electives, or lack of them, offered by smu. it does cover the basic compulsory modules quite adequately, but the range of electives offered was quite limited. i am particularly interested in aviation and maritime law (strange, i know), but this was not offered by smu.

i do intend to stay in the university halls for at least a year or 2 to experience a real university lifestyle, something which smu lacks. this might be something worth considering as well if you're into this sort of thing.

then of course there is that whole issue of whether smu grads might be as well regarded as nus grads. this did not really bother me too much, but with smu's program still at its infancy, employers might still prefer nus grads all other things being equal.

with this, i would end by saying that my decision in going to nus is largely influenced by those issues i mentioned. most of these are purely matters of personal preference and i am not trying to put down smu in anyway at all, lest my post stirs up some unwanted controversy. i would still recommend anyone genuinely interested in studying law to apply to both nus and smu, as competition for places is rather stiff for both of them. from there, ask around, walk around the campuses and make a final decision based on which is better for you. feel free to pm me if you have any more queries.
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Old 03-11-2009, 01:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
also, i am worried about how some negative trends might develop as a result of the heavy emphasize on class participation. some friends from smu have told me of how some of their classes have degenerated into a bit of a fiasco thanks to a few rotten apples in the class.
Interesting, do you mind elaborating?

Also I don't think SMU Law grads will have any problem getting hired locally at all.
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Old 03-11-2009, 03:32 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by LockT31W View Post
Interesting, do you mind elaborating?

Also I don't think SMU Law grads will have any problem getting hired locally at all.
What I heard, from SMU last year, was that their degree courses are catered more towards legal consultancy in businesses. They were a little unclear on whether their LLB is admissable for the Bar Exams and the Bench. Seniors might want to be careful on this.
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Old 03-11-2009, 04:10 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LockT31W View Post
Interesting, do you mind elaborating?

Also I don't think SMU Law grads will have any problem getting hired locally at all.
this isn't necessarily only for law, but also for various courses in smu. what my senior told me was that for one of his classes in particular, there was this guy who participated a bit too enthusiastically and that his questions and comments were generally quite shallow. it was a bit irritating and the general standard of the discussion fell. my senior mentioned that this is one of the unwanted side effects that can arise from grading class participation. i'm not too sure if it is commonplace in smu or if my senior was just unlucky to have a bad classmate.

i agree that smu law grads shouldn't have a problem getting hired locally. but i also reckon that all things being equal, an nus grad might be preferable to an smu grad in the eyes of an employer, at least for these next few years and smu's pioneer batches of law grads.
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