Twenty-four experienced Chinese lawyers are taking part in the China Legal Executive Education Program run by the Sir Zelman Cowen Centre at VU.
The lawyers were hand-picked by the Jiangsu Bar Association, and have already undertaken six weeks of pre-placement seminars on Australian law, with additional workshops covering professional skills in a Western setting, public-speaking, and legal recruitment in Australia.
They are now completing their two-week placements at one of 15 local legal firms, where they will gain insights into Australian law.
This is the third delegation of lawyers from Jiangsu province (Victoria’s sister province), and the fourth from China, to participate in the program.
Placements foster ties between Chinese & Australian lawyers
The two-week placement allows delegates to see Australian legal practice in action. It also creates a number of opportunities for cross-cultural exchange between law firms and delegates.
Thanks to strong support from the legal sector, the Cowen Centre has attracted a range of host firms, including Aitken Partners, Dentons, Herbert Smith Freehills, Holding Redlich, Impex Lawyers & Advisers, Logie-Smith Lanyon, Maddocks and Moray and Agnew.
The placements provide learning opportunities for hosts as well as delegates. Past programs have resulted in ongoing working relationships between Australian and Chinese firms.
Key legal organisations open doors to delegates
Drawing on its networks, the Cowen Centre offers further opportunities for delegates to engage with Victoria’s legal community. Over the course of their stay, the delegates will visit key government institutions including Parliament House, Government House and courts of all levels. They will also attend events hosted by law firms including Aitken Partners, Allens, and DLA Piper.
There has also been a busy side-program of social activities, including visits to the penguin colony at St Kilda, AFL games and, of course, Melbourne's many cafes. The visiting lawyers also have plans to explore the region, organising travel on weekends as far as Cairns and New Zealand.
The delegates will graduate from the program at an official ceremony on Thursday 31 May.