Student Report: Sydney Law School

How one part-time LL.M. student balances work, study, and ... summers in Europe

My name is Melissa Saadat, and I am a 26-year-old lawyer from Sydney. Having practiced in securities regulation for two years following my undergraduate degree, I thought it was time to do some further study on a part-time basis in order to further develop my technical skills in corporate law. I decided that an LL.M. was the way to go. I looked at the options in Sydney, and went with not only a very well-regarded law school, but also the university that could actually combine my passion for study and… travel!

The University of Sydney offers a flexible approach to getting an LL.M. It is possible to undertake units of study in "intensive mode" (that is, four- to five-day blocks of classes), as well as classes taught once or twice a week for a couple of hours.

With this in mind, I applied in late 2007, and attended my first intensive unit in Administrative Law at the Sydney campus. Attending this course in my own city (with close proximity to my office) was fantastic. We were able to cover a whole range of topics and delve deeper into the issues.

The program's approach is also flexible in terms of location. The "Sydney Law School in Europe" program lets students take their intensive units at a variety of interesting European cities and prestigious institutions, like Robinson College at Cambridge University and Humboldt University in Berlin. This option provides an opportunity for pre- or post-course travel, meeting students and lecturers from foreign institutions and, I believe, would be well regarded on a curriculum vitae.

The second unit I undertook for 2008 was International Corporate Law, a four-day intensive unit at the Walter Hallstein Institute at Humboldt University. The lecturer was Saul Fridman who is a senior lecturer at the University of Sydney. One of my fellow students was, in fact, an Aussie who had started his LL.M. at the University of Sydney some years ago, but had made the move to London. The Sydney Law School in Europe program was a way for him (and other Australians living in Europe) to continue with his studies with just a quick flight to Berlin.

Over the course of those four days, we sat in the library of the Walter Hallstein Institute immersed in hundreds of books. The course itself was highly rewarding. We covered a number of jurisdictions (focusing on Australia, the United States, the UK, Canada, and Germany), and had lively discussions. Of course, Professor Fridman played a large part in the success of the unit. He ensured the unit was interesting and relevant, and was also very generous with his time after class. The whole class enjoyed a lively "policy" discussion at a Berlin beer garden, as well as a group dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant at the end of the course.

For those who have never visited, Berlin is a vibrant city with an immense history reflected in the design of the buildings, the food (and drink!), the music, and of course, its people – the Berliners. I had an amazing time exploring the city before and after class. A bike tour of the city after I had finished the course included a stop outside Humboldt University where the guide explained that Karl Marx had studied there, and that Albert Einstein had been a physics professor there. I was impressed, and appreciative of the opportunity to attend a campus with such history.

I am currently taking my third LL.M. unit here in Sydney, expecting to complete my degree in 2010. My flight to London for a unit in Cambridge in May this year is already booked!

Image: Sydney Law School / Public Domain

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