Dear students, colleagues, alumni and friends,
The year 2020 has been truly unprecedented and exceptional. We all had to adapt – with a great degree of flexibility – to the ever-changing circumstances imposed on us by the COVID-19 pandemic. Considering the upheaval, everybody at CUHK LAW has focused even more on research and teaching excellence. And we have done so with great success. A recently compiled summary of what colleagues have accomplished in both domains since the last year gives a breathtaking overall picture and evidences the distinctiveness of the work conducted at CUHK LAW (click CUHK LAW Research Excellence and CUHK LAW Teaching Excellence).
The accomplishments of our professors, professional consultants, part-time teachers and research personnel are mirrored by those of our students. Despite all the challenges in 2020, our students have kept moving towards their professional goals with determination and enthusiasm. As I have mentioned during this year’s Congregation Ceremony, we are very proud of the success of our students, because their success is the success of CUHK LAW.
Not least, our superb admin team requires special mentioning. Throughout this year, admin colleagues have worked day and night to keep the CUHK LAW operation going at high speed with an uncompromising dedication to quality. This has drawn complimentary remarks even from international partners who expressed admiration for the degree of professionalism.
I trust that that we can look forward to the New Year 2021 with optimism. The pandemic will finally be brought under control and the “new normal” will hopefully become a “new old normal” for all of us. However, we should not forget how much we have achieved together in 2020 and that this is really something to be proud of. Thank you all for the great support.
We are CUHK LAW!
With my very best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2021,
Dean of the Faculty of Law & Wei Lun Professor of Law
Cutting Edge Legal Research with Impact Beyond Academia
CUHK LAW’s research focuses on the community’s needs and issues of local, regional, and international concern. Read more about CUHK LAW’s recent research success here.
The 88th Congregation for the Conferment of Master’s Degrees 2020 – Faculty of Law Session
The 88th Congregation was held online on 21 November 2020. Over 490 graduates from the Juris Doctor (JD) and the Master of Laws (LLM) programmes had their degrees conferred by the Presiding Officer Professor POON Wai-yin, CUHK Pro-Vice Chancellor. In addition, 161 graduates of the Doctor of Philosophy in Laws (PhD) and the Postgraduate Certificate in Laws (PCLL) programmes were presented by the programme directors at the ceremony.
Read the welcome address delivered by the CUHK LAW Dean at the ceremony here.
The International Conference on “Securities Regulatory Cooperation for Cross-border Listings and Transactions” was held online from 11-12 December 2020. The conference gathered prominent scholars and practitioners from prestigious institutions of different jurisdictions, such as Harvard Law School, Stanford Law School, Georgetown Law School, Michigan Law School, George Washington Law School, Chinese Social Science Academy, Peking Law School, Renmin Law School, Tsinghua Law School, China University of Political Science and Law, East China University of Political Science and Law, Shanghai Jiaotong Law School, Fudan Law School, and Singapore Management University Law School. The conference covered a wide range of topics, including cross-border audit oversight, regulation of securities market misconduct, extraterritorial jurisdiction of securities law, and recognition and enforcement of civil judgements. Details are available here.
The Greater China Legal History Seminar “The History of Hong Kong’s Tax Law System”was delivered online by Professor Michael LITTLEWOOD on 27 November 2020. The seminar explained the reasons for studying Hong Kong’s tax history and current Hong Kong tax system. It provided a historical review of Hong Kong’s tax system, from “The War Revenue Ordinances” in the WWII and “The Inland Revenue Ordinance 1947” to the failure of tax reforms between 1947 and 1980 by the British government. The seminar then explained tax law developments during the pre- and post-handover period. Some may argue Hong Kong’s tax system is deeply flawed, nonetheless, it has proved remarkably successful. The seminar offered two reasons for the secret to Hong Kong’s success. Watch the seminar video here.
The Cross-border Legal Issues Dialogue Seminar “Distressed M&A – Making the most of the opportunities”was delivered online by Mr. Jochen ELLROTT of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer on 1 December 2020. The seminar covered special aspects of mergers and acquisitions in times of crisis with a focus on the differences between key jurisdictions. Topics discussed include the different stages of distress and the risks of engaging at each stage, the seller’s considerations and how ‘distressed’ M&A differ from ‘normal’ M&A, etc.
The International Conference on Empirical Legal Studies and Chinese Law was successfully held online on 4 and 5 December 2020. The conference is a collective intellectual endeavour to advance the emerging and fast growing discourse situated at the intersection between two established legal fields, viz. empirical legal studies and Chinese law. A good number of cutting-edge empirical research papers were selected for presentation and discussion, spanning across a wide range of legal areas, including financial law, corporate law, intellectual property law, administrative law, criminal law, courts and the judiciary, and Party regulations. The conference also featured keynote addresses of some of the most prominent scholars in the emerging area of research.
Never Too Late to Change Career Paths
Changing careers is a big decision. While there are many things to consider before leaving an existing career path to return to school with the goal to start a new profession, there are significant benefits for those who pursue law as a second career.
The JD degree opens up a wide range of career options beyond the traditional path of practicing as a solicitor or barrister, such as joining the private sector as in-house lawyer, the civil service or other regulatory agencies. Find out why our JD students from aviation, banking, engineering, health care, psychology, and other non-law areas have decided to study at CUHK LAW here.
Mr. Matthew CHEUNG, CUHK LAW Professional Consultant, was appointed as the new Alumni Affairs Coordinator. Before taking up this new role Matthew has served as Deputy Director of the PCLL programme (2013-2015) and Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies / Director of the JD programme (2015-2018). Matthew will be in touch with all CUHK LAW alumni regularly on alumni affairs and events.CUHK LAW alumni can also contact him by email at email@example.com for any updates.
This newsletter features four CUHK LAW alumni from Hong Kong and Shanghai who share their recent achievements, provide career updates, offer an observation on the impact of COVID-19 on Shanghai’s legal market, and reflect on serving as a Distinguished Professional Mentor at CUHK LAW.
Foster YIM | Hong Kong
(JD 2009, PCLL 2010)
“My pupil master once said, “the real fun of being a barrister lies in the jury trials”. After a decade of sweat and tears, last year I finally came to understand this. “You really act like Sandy”, a very senior junior complained during my recent prosecution in the District Court – a reference to the late Alexander King SC, former Head of Liberty Chambers . I was truly flattered by this!
Over the two years, I joined the CUHK LAW mentoring programme with the hope of passing on a legacy. Certainly, I could not usurp the roles of the criminal professors and in no way could I do a better job than they. What I hope to do, as Sandy did, is to show students what criminal barristers are; and, perhaps more importantly, what it means to be truly fearless in the face of different interests and emotions. I am more than happy to learn that none of my present mentees intend to train as barristers (and, in the case of one of them, not even to embark on a career in law). Life is full of forked paths and there is no one path to supremacy or success. It does help, though, to have a guide. But for my experience in teacher, as a personal assistant to two entrepreneurs and finally a marketer, I would not have secured my own little blue ocean in the industry.
This year, my first pupil was called to the Bar and joined Liberty Chambers. I hope he, and my other student, mentees and pupils, will continue the legacy of the late Alexander King S.C.”
Kate HODSON | Hong Kong
(LEL LLM 2020)
John CHEUNG | Hong Kong
“I am delighted to have been awarded the Bar Scholarship. I look forward to practising in the areas of commercial law and public law after I complete my pupillage at Temple Chambers…”
GAN Qing | Shanghai
(LEL LLM 2020)
“As an industry that is closely related to social and economic development, Shanghai’s legal market is undergoing changes under Covid-19 that are both great challenges and opportunities. I would like to share some observations on this.
On the volume of legal work available, legal professionals who serve both foreign-related businesses and domestic businesses are facing different circumstances. Many international law offices in Shanghai that do business with foreign enterprises and Chinese enterprises have suffered greatly from the continuing pandemic. Many legal businesses have shrunk, as their clients have been unable to resume full service. What’s more, government’s anti-pandemic measures such as lock downs and quarantine have hindered law firms, among many other entities, trying to operate as usual. For example, one of my colleagues who travels between China and Germany frequently has been quarantined four times this year.
However, lawyers who serve domestic clients have been less affected. With the pandemic under control domestically, most Chinese citizens have returned to work and China’s economy has gradually recovered. China’s GDP returned to the positive in the second quarter and economic growth is accelerating in the third quarter, with year-on-year growth of 4.9%. For some, business volume is even greater than it was in the same period last year.
To adapt to the new normal, many legal professionals, courts and the Shanghai government have turned more frequently to online technologies. For example, online conferencing tools, such as ZOOM or RTX Meeting, are efficient and safe methods by which parties can hold business meetings. In Shanghai courts, lawyers can use the court’s online system to upload materials when filing cases without needing physically to visit the court. Via this mode, case filling chambers file cases relatively quickly. What’s more, lawyers who visit government departments may make appointments via the Government’s online system instead of making walk-in appointments. Many other applications may also be made via the Government’s online system.
One must admit that this year will likely be a more challenging one for graduates who intend to pursue legal careers in Shanghai, as recruitment quotas and budgets of leading law firms are generally lower than previous years’. This means that graduate competition will be even fiercer. Top graduates from top-tier institutions who have relevant internship experience, pass the mainland’s bar exam and have admission to other relevant jurisdictions will continue to be attractive to leading law offices.”
On 28 November 2020, 70 students and alumni attended a career sharing session with four recent CUHK LAW alumni speakers, Mr. Kent TO (trainee and associate at Linklaters and now associate at White & Case), Ms. Ann LIU (trainee and associate at Deacons and now in-house counsel at a tech company), Ms. Stephanie YIP (trainee and associate at Slaughter & May and now associate at Deacons) and Mr. Eugene KWAN (barrister at Temple Chambers). The speakers discussed various career-related topics, ranging from choosing professional paths to ways to land and keep the ideal job, especially in the particularly challenging present times.
On 26 August 2020, CUHK LAW hosted an online CPD seminar on China’s Belt and Road Initiative(BRI) for alumni. The seminar was given by Ms. Heidi CHUI, Partner of Stevenson, Wong & Co., who shared her lessons learnt from BRI projects in various jurisdictions. She examined recent key developments in the global legal market (covering arbitration, AI and Fintech) and discussed qualities legal professionals should have to capture BRI opportunities. CUHK LAW alumnus Mr. Calvin HUANG, now an Associate at Stevenson, Wong & Co., also shared his experience in seizing BRI opportunities during the seminar.
The CUHK LAW e-Newsletter features important Faculty news and events. Colleagues, students, and friends are welcome to share it with anyone who might be interested. Enquiries, suggestions, or comments are welcome and can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.