Interview with Shawn Guoqing Xu

A/Professor Stacey Steele recently caught up with Melbourne Law School LLM graduate 2017, Shawn Guoqing Xu now based in Guangdong, China

Shawn, thanks for agreeing to catch up with the Asian Law Centre. Please tell our FB friends a little bit about yourself.

Hi, I am Shawn from China. I graduated from Melbourne Law School on 29 July 2017 with a Master of Laws. I spent about one and a half years in Australia.

You recently returned to Australia for your LLM graduation ceremony. The photo looks great! Did you catch up with friends?  

Yes. I made many good friends in Australia. It was amazing to come back to see those friends who I once spent long hours together studying after I have been working for four months.

Where are you working now and how did you come across this position?

I am working in the Guangzhou office of Salans FMC SNR Denton McKenna Long (also known as ‘Dentons’). I was very lucky to be recommended by Associate Professor Jin Chun to undertake an internship for three months internship before becoming a regular employee of Dentons. Associate Professor Jin is a Visiting Research Scholar at the Asian Law Centre (2015-7) from Doshisha University, Kyoto in Japan.

What sort of legal matters are you handling?

I am now an assistant lawyer practising insolvency law.

What do you think is the biggest difference between practising law compared to studying law?

From my point of view, the biggest difference between practising law and studying law lies in the group of people you are dealing with. When you are studying at law school, your social circle is generally limited to lecturers, mentors, classmates and librarians. When it comes to practising law, you meet up with people from many backgrounds, including judges, investors, creditors, debtors, politicians, accountants, appraisers and so on. It means you have to adapt to the environment quickly and you are required to learn how to deal with relationships between a diverse set of occupational groups.

What was the best thing about your LLM studies in Australia?

The best thing I learned from may studies at Melbourne Law School is how to analyse a problem. It is very hard for a person to keep up with changes in the law and the knowledge required for legal practice, but learning analytical skills and knowing how to study a problem means that you are always ready to apply your existing knowledge to new issues. Students can practise their analysis of problems, improve their ability to search for data and process data, master the logic of law and critical thinking, and consider divergent thinking during the process of studying a problem.

What advice would you give a new LLM student based on your experiences?

I have two suggestions. First, a student should focus on studying. Otherwise, students will find it difficult. Melbourne Law School is known for its high standards and there is a large amount of reading, challenging discussion and a strict marking system. Secondly, a student should arrange some regular sports activities. You can make some friends from other disciplines and backgrounds, which is meaningful to broaden your horizons. And regular exercise does make a difference in terms of improving your productivity!

What do you use most from your learning in the LLM? Do you use English or Chinese in your legal work?

My analytical skills are the most important result from my studies at MLS. Both English and Chinese are my working languages. Although Chinese plays a dominant role in my legal work, English helps me a lot in respect of borrowing new ideas into my work. I believe English is going to be more important for me, especially because the legal service market is becoming increasingly internationalized.

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