Many graduates shy away from a career in the legal industry because the professional material lawyers deal with on a daily basis can often appear confusing to the layman. However, Hong Kong's economy and financial institutions rely on the rule of law which ultimately renders the dotted line respected by all parties.
Aware of the changing legal needs of modern businesses, the HKU School of Professional and Continuing Education (HKU SPACE) at the University of Hong Kong offers a series of diploma programmes in law to interested candidates with or without law backgrounds to enrich their legal knowledge and pursue a rewarding career in various professions.
"Legal knowledge helps people protect their own rights, defend their company's best interests and enhance their career prospects," says Zoe Chan, programme director, College of Humanities and Law, HKU SPACE. "Classes are scheduled on weekday evenings and the weekends. Students from diverse professional backgrounds in banking, finance, IT, law and business create a preferential learning experience."
In addition, part-time law programmes correspond to level four to six in the qualifications framework administered by the Education Bureau, providing opportunities for students to progress towards formal academic qualifications and professional goals.
Programme completion time varies from three months to one year, depending on specialist areas chosen. Directed by experienced industry professionals, the programmes adopt a pragmatic approach and focus on practical applications, case studies and interactive workshops. Students are assessed by homework and open-book examinations. Students taking single modules are awarded a statement of achievement upon completion of programmes.
In collaboration with Receivable Management Services (HK) Ltd (RMS), the school offers an executive diploma programme in asset recovery law and receivable and fraud control practice. The programme teaches legal skills and corporate governance. Upon completion, graduates qualify as RMS receivable practitioners, a designation recognised globally.
Meanwhile, an executive diploma, certificate or postgraduate diploma programme in legal risk for enterprise risk management (ERM) provides niche legal training in corporate compliance development. Applicants should normally hold a bachelor's degree from any discipline or relevant professional qualifications, while those with substantial work experience in a relevant field will be considered on an individual basis.
The postgraduate diploma programme in finance and law is the most popular choice for individuals looking to develop a career in financial law. Ms Chan says, "The programme is the first of its kind to offer three possible articulation options for entering the master of law, finance and accounting programme. Graduates are also granted exemptions from certain papers in professional accountancy examinations.
Meanwhile, a higher diploma programme for legal assistants provides a foundation to secondary students who aspire to become lawyers. Ms Chan explains that students who have completed Form Five may apply for the three-year full-time programme which will offer them the necessary vocational legal training to serve in paralegal and business sectors. Form Seven students may be admitted directly to year one, condensing the programme completion time from three to two years. She notes that opportunities for further studies abound. Graduates may apply for the school's bachelor of law or diploma in legal studies porgramme while continuing to advance professionally.