Two law students from The Australian National University (ANU) recently returned to Australia after an enlightening experience delving into the depths of corporate law in the heart of Japan's vibrant capital city.
Joseph Oh and Callum Bryan were selected to participate in a six-day course focusing on international corporate governance as part of the Tokyo Summer School Program at the UTokyo Graduate Schools for Law and Politics.
Both Joseph and Callum said that the highlight of the program was the opportunity to connect with students and academics from different jurisdictions.
"It was interesting talking about everyone’s different law school experiences, and what their career objectives were,” Joseph said. “There were also practitioners who provided valuable insight into the global legal market."
For Callum, the experience has deepened his “understanding of the interaction between the law and corporate governance”.
“I wasn’t aware of how important the law is in shaping corporate activity in certain countries, and how this can have a significant knock-on effect on the overall prosperity of that country,” Callum said.
“We learnt a lot of new concepts over the course of a few days, and some of them have really stayed with me. In particular, I have a deepened appreciation for the importance of cultural relativism when approaching legal issues.”
“The major takeaway was that corporate governance remains an important area of the law that will play a major role in the ongoing development of economies.”
For Joseph, this experience led him to "understand that while there are differences in legal systems and practices throughout the world, a lot of the problems we face are similar".
"I believe that law plays the most crucial part in driving change,” he said. “Therefore, it is important to understand and develop legal regimes to overcome issues, such as climate change and modern slavery, which impacts most corporations in contemporary society."
Joseph said the experience also widened his understanding of global trends in corporate governance.
"It provided me with an understanding of economic and financial trends in the world, as well as the practical implications of regulatory developments on businesses."
After completing the course, Joseph and Callum have returned to Australia to continue their studies at ANU. Looking beyond graduation, they are both open-minded about their future career prospects.
“I aim to graduate in June of next year, and I have a few different career interests, so I’m seeing what opportunities come up and pursuing them,” Callum said.
“At the start of this year, I was fairly certain that I wanted to work in the public service and stay in Canberra for a few years after graduation. However, after the Tokyo Summer School Program, a lot of interesting opportunities oriented towards Japan are coming up, so I am also going to pursue these, particularly because I really enjoyed my time in Japan.”
While Joseph is keen to “become a practicing corporate and commercial lawyer”, he is also unsure where his future career path might led.
“I am not sure what practice area and industry sector I will settle in yet, but I hope to be engaged in plenty of cross-border work, as well as working overseas!”
Both Joseph and Callum encourage future ANU Law students to seize opportunities, such as the Tokyo Summer School Program, to enrich their educational experience.
“Always put yourself forward for opportunities,” Callum said. “Even if you don’t think you will get it, there’s no harm in putting yourself forwards and being rejected.”
“It’s worth the effort, because you may just end up being pleasantly surprised and being offered the opportunity of a lifetime.”
The Tokyo Summer School Program is a new collaboration between the ANU College of Law and the UTokyo Graduate Schools for Law and Politics. Find out more about international study opportunities for ANU Law students here.