SMU introduces specialisation tracks & compulsory Law Capstone to its Bachelor of Laws & Juris Doctor programmes to nurture future-ready & practice-ready graduates

Singapore, 16 March 2023 (Thursday) – Singapore Management University (SMU) Yong Pung How School of Law (YPHSL) will allow interested law students to specialise and gain a higher level of proficiency in the practical and interdisciplinary areas of Corporate Transaction; Law and Technology; and Dispute Resolution via a new Tracks scheme; as well as require all law students to complete a Law Capstone Course before they graduate.

The law school announced these enhancements to its Bachelor of Laws (LLB) and Juris Doctor (JD) programmes following a recent review of its curriculum, which took into key consideration the impact of global trends on the legal sector. The review, part of an on-going process to ensure that the SMU LLB and JD are constantly innovated to meet new and future challenges, collected input and feedback from a panel of over 50 practising lawyers in the private and public sectors.

Professor Lee Pey Woan, Dean of SMU YPHSL said, “The Tracks scheme guides students in elective selection for key and emerging practice areas, gives them the flexibility to tailor their curriculum, and allows them to gain a head-start in their preferred field. More than simply a curation of law electives within a law subfield, this scheme builds upon the multi and interdisciplinary nature of our existing LLB curriculum in recognition that the law does not exist in the abstract but to serve business and broader societal needs. It also recognises the growing diversity in legal career options and the inevitable shift towards more complex work.”

“The legal industry is evolving and is demanding in its workforce a higher level of competency in skills and knowledge in adjacent disciplines that are important to the practice and study of law. These changes will further strengthen and distinguish SMU’s LLB programme, and nurture future-ready and practice-ready SMU law graduates; they also give students a distinct competitive edge when they enter the workforce,” she added.

Currently, all law undergraduates at SMU get baseline exposure to adjacent disciplines (including finance, technology, etc.) as part of the SMU LLB curriculum. Students enrolled in the SMU LLB on and after Academic Year (AY) 2021-2022 who are keen to delve deeper into the interdisciplinary areas can choose to declare a Track, which will be reflected in their official transcripts. This allows students to signal their interest and expertise to their employers in a formal way. YPHSL is the only law school in Singapore that offers specialisation in law, which is yet another testament to SMU’s innovative approach to education.

Every law student from the AY2021 cohort enrolled in the LLB programme will also be required to take a Law Capstone course. Commenting on the motivation of this new requirement, Professor Lee said, “Recognising that real world problems are increasingly complex, the Law Capstone course adds the polishing touch, training students to look across traditional boundaries by working on projects that span three or more areas of the law and through a practical lens. Rather than looking for fixed or standard answers, students participate in the process of creating new solutions.”

Building upon the university’s flagship SMU-X programme – project-based experiential learning where SMU students work in small groups and apply their interdisciplinary knowledge on real-world projects with industry and faculty mentors – every Law Capstone course going forward will be an SMU-X course. YPHSL has also integrated the Law Capstone requirement into the LLB Tracks. For those who have declared a specific Track, there will be a designated Law Capstone that must be taken.

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  • Annex 1: SMU LLB Tracks write-up
  • Annex 2: Quotes from industry, employers