Singapore

Lawyers must be trained to meet future demands: PM Lee

PM Lee says more cross-disciplinary learning should be encouraged in law schools


Singapore's law schools need to produce lawyers who are prepared for the demands of a new working environment marked by disruption and new technologies, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday.

Speaking at the official opening of the Singapore Management University's (SMU) new law school building, Mr Lee said the way law is being practised will change in the future and more cross-disciplinary learning should be encouraged.

He said the Government will support bigger law firms in venturing into new areas of legal practice while helping smaller firms raise productivity and deliver better services to clients.

Mr Lee said the SMU School of Law was set up in 2007 not just to increase the number of law graduates.

"We wanted a law school that would provide a rigorous legal education, coupled with exposure to other disciplines, such as business, economics, accountancy, social sciences or information systems," he said of Singapore's second law school.

"We hoped that the graduates will be more versatile, able to apply their knowledge of the law in many different fields, and to contribute to our economy."

He was speaking to about 800 guests at the school's function hall, where future convocation and commencement ceremonies can now be held in-house for up to 1,400 students.

Mr Lee later toured the new 23,000 sq m School of Law building, located at the junction of Armenian Street and Stamford Road. The building was completed in December last year at a cost of $165 million.

Previously, law students and faculty members shared facilities with SMU's accountancy and business schools.

The building features the Kwa Geok Choo Law Library.

Madam Kwa, a lawyer, was one of the founders of Lee & Lee, one of Singapore's oldest firms.

Madam Kwa, who died in 2010, is Mr Lee's mother.

SMU chairman Ho Kwon Ping, in his speech, said the 2,200 sq m Kwa Geok Choo Law Library will be "at the heart of legal education and scholarship in Singapore".

He added: "Universities around the world are known for their iconic libraries and this one is strategically placed at the high point of the site next to Stamford Green."

The three-storey library, which can seat over 500 people, will focus on developing special collections in commercial law, dispute resolution and Asean law, among other areas.

Mr Ho also said students can now better prepare for law competitions with the new David Marshall Moot Court, which simulates a courtroom or arbitration chamber.

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Singapore Management UniversityLee Hsien Loonglawyer