Why law students need an international internship in Malaysia. NOW!

Macquarie students who worked with pacos trust to assist with amendments to indigenour land rights

Macquarie students who worked with pacos trust to assist with amendments to indigenour land rights


Why law students need an international internship in Malaysia!

This year The Global Student is excited to have two programs in development with Law faculties, along with a number of International Studies/Law students taking the plunge as individuals in order to challenge themselves and their sometimes pre-conceived notions of how the law woks or is interpreted outside of Australia.  Law is obviously jurisdictional, and for undergraduates studying law, often heavily domestic in nature (possibly similar in other disciplinary fields requiring accreditation towards a profession), and the opportunity to broaden horizons and gain an international perspective should be just one reason to consider an international experience.

At a seminar on artificial intelligence recently, it was suggested that the Law profession would be one hardest hit by technological advances, whereby basic decisions based on precedence might be taken over by bots capable of determining decisions. A lively debate ensued but the claim was mostly refuted by assurances that there would still need to be a major element of human interaction because there would be many ethical or moral positions a bot might not be capable of making.

In fact, perhaps law might just be one area that could survive industry 4.0, and perhaps might also require greater engagement as the world becomes smaller, and global engagement increases across geographic boundaries, driven by technological advances in even developing countries, and the worlds of finance, economics, and politics become increasingly smaller.

Globalisation should surely ensure the necessity of lawyers, but not just any lawyers, rather those equipped to traverse the invisible boundaries of commerce and trade. Opportunities should abound for lawyers working in human rights and criminal law in the battle against human trafficking and global migration; commercial and constitutional law as companies globalize and find themselves negotiating across multiple jurisdictions; and financial or administrative law as companies and governments fight corruption sometimes at the highest level.

This interconnectivity means that swift responses may be required, however very often the senior decision makers are not equipped to deal with situations that may require a new or innovative response. They often lack the global perspective or cultural capital required to negotiate the new contexts in which they may find themselves working, particularly in terms of the rapid growth of Asia, and the demands on development of human resources and capital markets.

This means there should be a demand for young professionals who can relate to people from all walks of life, who have some kind of a global perspective, that can negotiate across cultural boundaries with confidence, and show leadership in all these areas.

An internship in Malaysia provides all of these, and the time has never been better as the country has new leadership after 61 years, and is poised for massive change, including moving away from race-based politics, removing restrictions on press freedoms, and investigating corruption and cases of criminal activity including abuses of the internal security act. With the Bar Council firmly behind the recently appointed non-Muslim Attorney General, things are about to get very interesting. With the country poised to take the final steps towards developed nation status, opportunities for increased engagement with foreign investment is high on the agenda, including massive infrastructure projects. Also, a review of labour laws that protect migrant workers, and changes to taxation and employment laws, hope to move the country towards a higher income economy. All of this change provides an amazing opportunity to experience a country negotiating constitutional change, law and electoral reform, anti-corruption initiatives and changes to political structure. Imagine the possibilities – get a front row seat now!