The decision of what degree to study can be influenced by many factors.
For siblings Isaac (LLB (Hons) ‘18) and Abigail Tang (LLB (Hons) ‘16), a contributing factor was their older sister, Tabitha (LLB (Hons) ‘13), who was studying at the ANU College of Law.
“I liked how studying law at ANU enabled my sister to think more clearly and articulate her thoughts in a more logical and coherent manner,” explained Isaac, who started studying the Bachelor of Laws (Hons) in 2015.
“The decision to study the LLB (Hons) felt daunting at first, because law was never my ‘thing’. However, I did well during the ANU Foundation Studies program and decided without hesitation to study law,” he said.
Abigail, who commenced the LLB (Hons) in 2013, cited her love for reading and her inclination towards humanities-based subjects as some of her motivations for studying law.
“Of course, the fact that my older sister, Tabitha, was undertaking her Bachelor’s degree in law made it an easier choice,” said Abigail.
“To count my older sister and younger brother as my fellow college mates – and now alumni – only makes our story even more unique!” she added.
Isaac noted the quality of teaching and interaction with academic staff as highlights of his student experience at ANU.
“Lecturers and tutors are kind and understanding. The journey feels more like a partnership, which has prepared me for success.”
“One of the biggest highlights was listening to the lectures by former High Court Judge and Distinguished ANU Professor William Gummow because we had the privilege of having a sneak peek into his thought process and the opportunity to hear about his experience as a Judge."
“Another highlight was listening to Professor Michael Coper AO FAAL and having the chance to attend consultations with him,” Isaac recalled.
“It is amazing that accomplished professionals in the industry such as Professor Coper teach and guide aspiring lawyers. His attitude in itself was something I was impacted and inspired by in my own pursuit of becoming an excellent practitioner.”
“It has been a wonderful journey studying at ANU and, in addition, I have made some friends that I know I will be keeping for life!”
Abigail said that one of the things she appreciated most about studying at ANU was the wide variety of degree-related extracurricular activities.
She immersed herself in initiatives such as the Law Reform & Social Justice InfoHub project and the Global Corporate Power project.
She also had the opportunity to work closely with members of the faculty as a student editor on the Federal Law Review Editorial Board.
“I found the extracurricular activities most meaningful because they offered me a way to apply the skills I was learning in a more practical manner,” Abigail said.
“It also helped me to appreciate the value of my education and the impact that I could make on my community using the various skills I was learning as a law student. I particularly enjoyed the fact that I was not limited to the run-of-the-mill clubs and projects but had the opportunity to explore areas that were of interest to me,” she added.
During his university semester breaks, Isaac obtained work experience within the legal industry back in Singapore.
“Personally, I believe my degree equipped me with the ability to think critically and independently,” he said.
“This has enabled me to, within limits, take ownership of my own views in a professional setting and to be confident in my views. My degree has also exposed me to a diverse group of people and has helped me approach situations with an open mind rather than operate with confirmation biases.”
“In a sense, it has equipped me to be more empathetic towards others and their viewpoints.”
To pursue his aspiration of becoming a lawyer, Isaac returned to Canberra to enrol in the ANU Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice (GDLP).
“I enrolled in the GDLP with a view of being admitted as a practitioner in the ACT,” he said.
“After I complete it, I will return to Singapore to train with a local law firm and complete the Singapore bar exams.”
Since graduating in 2016, Abigail has completed the GDLP at ANU and has been admitted as a lawyer by the ACT Supreme Court.
“I have also completed my bar examinations in Singapore and am waiting to be admitted to the bar there.”
“In the meantime, I am undertaking my training with a commercial litigation firm in Singapore and am glad for the skills I was able to hone throughout my time at the ANU College of Law,” she said.
When asked what advice they would give international students who have recently enrolled or are thinking about enrolling to ANU, the two siblings went straight to the point:
“Go for it!”
“You will not only have the opportunity to be taught by authors of the textbooks you will be studying from – which makes the content come ‘alive‘ – but you will also get to enjoy the various activities Canberra has to offer,” said Isaac.
“ANU is more than a university; it is a vibrant community of highly motivated, passionate and fun people,” Abigail added.
“It will be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.”
“You will not only have the opportunity to gain insight and learn from some of the most distinguished judges and respected law lecturers and professors but also gain some really valuable life skills along way!”