Truth be told, I know very little about the field of law, and part of the reason I signed up for the legal session at OWN Future Fair (OFF) was because I wanted to find out more about this notoriously challenging career. I had anticipated a boring lecture, but the experience surprised me.
Sandy Yeung, a corporate lawyer based in Hong Kong, was the legal industry speaker. Right away, I appreciated her candor about the difficulty of studying law. She talked about the brutality of law school in London, specifically about the often-used Socratic method, a form of question and answer that many instructors and tutors utilized, and how it regularly pushed you past your boundaries. She also shared an anecdote about an instructor who liked to ask people to leave if they hadn’t finished the reading; she smiled and stated that “it happened all the time, like every single class.”
Something that surprised me, which she reiterated many times, was that you still won’t know the law even after law school. You would have to do a Legal Practice Course, also known as a Postgraduate Certificate in Laws (PCLL) and then train at a law firm for around two years.
Yeung also gave some valuable advice to high school students considering a career in the legal field. “At least be very fluent in one language cause that’s going to be the main language you use for drafting contracts and arguing cases in court, but language capabilities are very important,” advised Yeung.
Additionally, she mentioned the importance of being fastidious in your work: “As a junior lawyer, we really care about your attention to detail, and that means drafting simple documents where you need to make sure that the client’s name is correct, that there are no spelling errors, no typos, the font size is exactly the same, that everything is dated properly, and any numbers you write are accurate.”
Yeung also spoke about how she didn’t know what she wanted to do in high school and tried to become a more well-rounded student (she was a straight-A student!) before eventually choosing her career. This, for me, emphasized that we don’t need to have it all figured out in high school, that it is okay to explore first and then choose your career.
All in all, Yeung’s talk was highly informative and interesting. And although I do not see myself pursuing a career in law, I now have a newfound admiration for lawyers, law students, and my peers who want to join the legal field in the future.