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One Year On…Meet Our Young Faculty Members!

NUS Law welcomes the addition of faculty members from diverse jurisdictions, building up on the vibrancy of the law school’s offerings, and melting pot of cultures. With a career and education that have often taken them to different countries, LawLink catches up with three of our Assistant Professors who have just celebrated their first year with NUS Law recently, and find out more on their experiences here so far.

From left to right: Asst Prof Mark McBride, Asst Prof Swati Jhaveri and Asst Prof Chen Weitseng

Asst Prof Chen Weitseng
Weitseng, who joined the faculty in November 2011, specialises in teaching the subjects “Law and Development in China”, “International Corporate Finance”, “Comparative Legal Traditions” and “Principles of Property Law”.

Prior to this, he practised law in Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, and worked in its Hong Kong office, specialising in international capital market transactions. 

A Fulbright scholar at Yale Law School, he graduated with a Doctor of the Science of Law (JSD) in 2007, and worked for Stanford University from 2007 to 2008 as a Hewlett Fellow of the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, conducting research on transitional economies and rule of law reforms. Before pursuing his education in Yale, Weitseng practised law in Taiwan in diverse fields, including information technology, public interest and international NGO affairs.

His recent research focuses on China's foreign direct investment and property rights transition, a China-Taiwan comparison on their rule of law transition, and the economic behaviours of ethnic foreign investors in China.

LawLink: What made you join NUS Law, and make the big move to Singapore?

Weitseng: The vibrant academic environment, the tropical greenery, and the diverse cultures from which I can learn a lot of by simply living here.

LawLink: With food being central to the Singapore lifestyle, what has been the biggest local culinary challenge/indulgence for you?

Weitseng: Frog leg porridge is my biggest discovery and favorite, although I haven't persuaded my wife to try it with me. She insists Hainanese chicken rice is the best.

LawLink: What are your other interests outside of work and school?

Weitseng: I love cycling and hiking. After relocating to Singapore, I also aim to play the jazz trumpet again, and learn to play the classical guitar.

LawLink: What is the one advice you would give to today's law students?

Weitseng: To spend more time on something outside the legal industry; this way, we can enrich our understanding of the legal world eventually.

LawLink: How would you describe yourself in three words?

Weitseng: Adventurer, non-conformist, optimist.

 

Asst Prof Mark McBride
Mark was a Postdoctoral Fellow at NUS Law in academic year 2011-12, and joined NUS Law as an Asst Prof in August 2012, teaching “Rights”, “Theoretical Foundations of Legal Reasoning” and “Criminal Law”. He holds advanced degrees in Law and in Philosophy, with a PhD and MA from Cambridge, and a Bachelor of Civil Law from Oxford.

He has published work on diverse topics, ranging from the nature of law in general, the goal or aim of legal proof, the relationship between justifications and excuses in the criminal law, the nature of practical authority, the nature of practical reasons and the doctrine of double effect.

LawLink: What made you join NUS Law, and make the big move to Singapore?

Mark: I originally came here in AY 2011/12, as a postdoctoral fellow. It was clear during that year that NUS Law would be a great environment in which to start my career, so when I was offered the position of assistant professor, I didn’t have to deliberate too long or hard over accepting. 

As an example, I’ve been given the opportunity to design two new electives – something I don’t think I’d have had the chance to do in most other law schools. I should also note that my research speciality within law is in legal philosophy. That means it is particularly exciting for me that the “Singapore Symposium in Legal Theory” kicks off in January 2014, with a host of interesting, international speakers coming to Singapore to discuss their current jurisprudential work.

LawLink: With food being central to the Singapore lifestyle, what has been the biggest local culinary challenge/indulgence for you?

Mark: It’s not really either a challenge or an indulgence, but I had not tried murtabak before coming here, and I really like it. As for a challenge, pretty obviously, durian. And I failed that challenge.

LawLink: What are your other interests outside of work and school?

Mark: My greatest passion is sports – particularly rugby and cricket. Sadly however – as my body begins to fall apart – I’m more of a spectator than a participant. 

LawLink: What is the one advice you would give to today's law students?

Mark: Well, they’re all so organised that I’m not sure they need much advice from me. However, perhaps I’d encourage them not to be afraid of reading materials outside of law. 

For example, in a (shameless bit of self-promotion for a) new elective I’m teaching called "Theoretical Foundations of Legal Reasoning", we’ll be looking at work not only by lawyers, but also by philosophers, psychologists, and cognitive scientists etc., in attempting to discern what, if anything, is distinctive about legal reasoning as a form of reasoning. 

LawLink: How would you describe yourself in three words?

Mark: I’m not sure whether I’m the best person to attempt this: some of my colleagues may be able to describe me more accurately. However, maybe I can describe what I hope to become: A Good Colleague.

 

Asst Prof Swati Jhaveri
Swati joined NUS Law in August 2012, and some of the subjects she teaches are “Law of Torts” and “Public Law”. She previously taught at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) Faculty of Law from July 2006 until 2012. Her areas of research include public law and the law of torts. She has published works in Public Law, the Tort Law Review and the International Journal of Constitutional Law.

While at CUHK, she was awarded the Vice Chancellor's Exemplary Teaching Award. She was also awarded a competitive research grant from the General Research Fund of the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong to investigate the post-1997 impact of judicial review on legislative process and content. 

Swati obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Jurisprudence (First Class Honours) and Bachelor of Civil Law (Distinction) from the University of Oxford. She previously practised law at Allen & Overy, specialising in international commercial arbitration. She is a Solicitor of the Hong Kong SAR and England & Wales and is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

LawLink: What made you join NUS Law, and make the big move to Singapore?

Swati: I joined NUS in August 2012 after my family moved to Singapore.  NUS has an excellent reputation both regionally and globally, and I was very excited to be a part of the academic environment at NUS Law. I have really enjoyed my first year here.

LawLink: With food being central to the Singapore lifestyle, what has been the biggest local culinary challenge/indulgence for you?

Swati: As a vegetarian, Singapore has a lot to offer.  It is one of the most vegetarian-friendly places I have lived. I have been able to enjoy vegetarian equivalents of great food from all over the region (including vegetarian Hainanese chicken rice!).  

LawLink: What are your other interests outside of work and school? 

Swati: I really enjoy reading in my spare time.  And as a new mother, my daughter is now one of my biggest interests!

LawLink: What is the one advice you would give to today's law students?

Swati: Stay interested and passionate in your study of the Law.  Read as widely as you can around your topics.  It is one of the most interesting degrees out there.  It is also one of the most challenging.  But keeping a strong and keen interest in everything you read helps drive you through those challenging moments.

LawLink: How would you describe yourself in three words?

Swati: Enthusiastic, curious, positive.

 

 

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