The BUddy Post – HKBU Alumni Affairs Office

March 2024
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People・Inspiration

HKBU has nurtured over 158,000 graduates since its inception in 1956 and a lot of alumni have inspiring career journeys in diverse areas and professions. We are delighted to introduce these promising alumni and invite them to share their career aspirations and journey with us.

Sharing by Alumnus Samuel Leung Yee-ching

The Road to Barrister with First Degree in Business Administration

After graduating from the School of Business of HKBU, alumnus Samuel Leung has strived hard to become a barrister, and was called to the Hong Kong Bar in 2022.

After graduating from HKBU, alumnus Samuel Leung (Business Administration- Accounting) joined Deloitte as an auditor. During his tenure at Deloitte, he discovered that accounting might not be the aspect he was fond of. At that time, he recalled the advice from teachers during his undergraduate years that accounting knowledge would be useful to lawyers, particularly because commercial considerations and legal issues might intertwine. The advice left a strong impact on Samuel. After serious consideration, he decided to become a lawyer as he found himself interested in law. Therefore, he quitted his job in 2016 to pursue studies in law. He first completed the Juris Doctor with Dean’s List honour, and then completed the Postgraduate Certificate in Laws, obtaining both qualifications at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. He went on to complete the Master of Laws in International Commercial Law with Distinction at University College London, after which he served as a judicial assistant at the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal. He was called to the Hong Kong Bar in 2022 and was awarded the Charles Ching Memorial Scholarship by the Hong Kong Bar Association in the same year.

1. As you studied the second degree in law, what effort did you make to catch up with the studies? Would you say it is an advantage or a disadvantage to study law after accumulating some experiences in other aspect(s)?

In my final year at HKBU, the idea of pursuing legal studies in future came up in my mind, and I shared the thoughts with my dissertation supervisors, the late Professor Alex Lau and Dr Davy Wu, who recommended me to start reading jurisprudence and understand what law is. I therefore started to explore this area which fostered my interest in law. During the exploration, I had been taking several philosophy courses at the Faculty of Arts, and I think those training did strengthen both my reading and analytical skills. These laid a solid foundation for me before I went to law school.

I think it would be great to gain some experiences in other areas before reading law. For example, as I had been an accountant, I tend to be more familiar with commercial transactions and financial statements, which could give me an advantage over cases involving complicated business issues; similarly, those who had been engineers could have an edge on construction law since they could understand the details of construction disputes more easily.

After all, the disputes that litigation resolves are certainly related to various kinds of human activities, such that prior experience from any fields would provide insights in different ways. It is noteworthy that some great judges in history did not start reading law at first, nonetheless they were still able to gain prominence eventually.

Samuel visits the Supreme Court of Justice in Austria during his participation in an international mooting competition.

2. There are 2 main streams of lawyers in Hong Kong, why did you choose to become a Barrister?

I chose to become a Barrister because I do enjoy doing legal analysis – that is to a certain extent similar to philosophical analysis, but in a more practical sense. Indeed, I thought of becoming a philosopher but sadly (and realistically), at least for me, it could hardly sustain a living. Barrister is the occupation that provides the next best thing to me at that time. However, the more I stay in this field, the more I find that some legal issues are actually as interesting as those philosophical issues. For legal issues, we must inspect them in connection with real-life scenarios; as aforesaid, judges and lawyers have been striving to resolve practical problems to make our society and life better. The work of barristers covers a wide range of matters, and one would never get bored of learning about them.

Moreover, I had the privilege of serving as a judicial assistant to the appellate judges at the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal for a year. During that year, I experienced the excitement of engaging in court work and was fascinated by the stimulating exchanges between the judges and lawyers when they were testing the legal principles and arguments. Remarkably, when they were discussing previous cases which served as good references for supporting different views, it made me feel like there were endless conversations amongst different generations of jurists. I hope I would be able to join the conversations and therefore I chose to be a Barrister.

Samuel (second from upper left) participates in a mooting competition as a moot court judge where he is given the opportunity to engage in legal arguments with his fellow classmates.

3. What advice would you offer to young alumni who are interested in studying law as their second degree?

I am still in my early years of practice and I could only say a few words from my personal experience. In my humble view, I think the kernel is enthusiasm. I was not a good student in undergraduate years since my GPA for accounting subjects had never been high. Nevertheless, I first found my passion in philosophy. Despite the fact that I came from the School of Business to study together with students from the Faculty of Arts, I was doing quite well in the philosophy subjects at least in terms of the results. Frankly, I am not really enthusiastic to read or study a financial statement; in contrast, I must confess that I do read philosophy (and afterwards, law) in my leisure and I do enjoy it. I think that was the difference which could explain why I had never done well in my own major whereas I was able to manage the philosophy courses given I just started exploring the field in my final year.

After taking philosophy courses, I found my passion for the law. By the same token, I think I was passionate enough in reading law such that I was doing fine in law school. My learning does not end after graduation, and it drives me to write publications for various journals abroad. I think this is the beauty of practising law because law never stops evolving. One must continuously catch up with the latest changes. As such, it is rare that one would lose interest in the law since it has a broad array of areas across our public and private life. Therefore, I think the crux is to find the area where one’s passion lies in.

Samuel receives an award in a mooting competition for his outstanding performance .