Lawyers form the backbone of the legal system and are an essential component of the law, specialising as either advocates or solicitors in Malaysia.
As advocates, they represent clients in both criminal and civil trials in court. As solicitors, they offer legal counsel and produce written materials like contracts and legal letters.
A person who pursues law and obtains their Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) will have the opportunity to select between the two and become admitted as an advocate or solicitor.
By learning and understanding Malaysian legal procedures and principles in their study, they would be equipped to do legal analysis, resolve disputes, and assist clients with legal matters in their line of choice.
Pursuing a law degree
Someone who is pursuing their Bachelor of Laws will be expected to study the legal system and the theories and principles behind it.
They will be equipped with the knowledge and skills required for a legal career- from designing contractual papers, to negotiating and defending their client.
On a more hands-on level, they will also be exposed to mooting and mock trials, whereby they will present their arguments in a simulated courtroom before other law students.
This presents the opportunity for the student to get a sense of what being in a courtroom would be like.
Upon graduation, a law degree holder’s most obvious professional choice would be to practise law. Some career options include:
- Litigation: To represent and protect a client’s rights in court. Areas of specialisation include banking litigation, corporate litigation and criminal litigation.
- Conveyancing: To represent and protect a client’s rights in property-related transactions.
- In-house legal counsel: To provide legal advice to companies such as banks, public-listed companies and multinational organisations.
- Public prosecution: To represent the government in legal proceedings.
A law student may also choose not to pursue law after completing their course of study, and could instead opt for the following:
- Law lecturer: Many lawyers return to teach after several years of practising law
- Journalist/editor: Strong writing and communication skills can help one transition into a media-related career
- Politician: Many prominent politicians studied law, including Tunku Abdul Rahman, Lee Kuan Yew, Tony Blair and Barack Obama
Studying law overseas
Studying law abroad offers potential students an opportunity to gain firsthand knowledge of the legal system in another country. This is an ideal option for those who are thinking of practising law overseas or simply have an interest in the subject.
It also provides a unique perspective to the student’s understanding of legal systems in their home country.
Spending a semester or more abroad can provide valuable insight for those who are interested in human rights, diplomacy, social justice, criminal justice, environmental protection, public policy, healthcare, as well as international and comparative law.
Aside from gaining more exposure, it is vital that a law student chooses subjects that would help align them to their long-term goals. The curriculum selected should help the student be more equipped to take on the work that they are looking to pursue once they are done studying.
That being said, even if the studentone intends to practise law on a local level, exposure to international law and other legal systems would most definitely accelerate his or hercareer in the future.
For those thinking of pursuing their law degree overseas but practice back in Malaysia, do bear in mind that there are additional steps that one has to take to ensure that they are well-aligned with local legal systems.
Does a career in law suit you? Find out more from this webinar featuring Hizami who studied law in the University of Oxford and Zahida who’s practising in Lee Hishamuddin Allen & Gledhill. Also, check out this video for a quick look on the different branches in law.