September 1, 2023
Just a few months after arriving in Toronto, the place is starting to feel like home for Hongqi Liu. During Liu’s short time in the city, the OsgoodePD International Entrance Award winner has found his transition smoothed by the ways in which his new surroundings are reminiscent of the Chinese capital, where he collected his LLB from the Beijing Technology and Business University.
“Toronto is not like typical European cities – it is more of a metropolis like New York or Beijing, but with more diversity,” Liu says. “I am really enjoying it. The orientation and courses that Osgoode has provided have helped me to embrace my new life and study here.”
Adaptability has also been a theme in Liu’s professional life so far, where he has already covered many of the bases of legal practice in just seven years at the Chinese bar.
After starting out at a private law firm focussing on criminal and government files, Liu made the leap to the public sector, working for a department in the municipality of Beijing. Soon after, he rounded out his resume with in-house counsel positions – first, handling litigation for an insurance provider, and later as legal manager at a trust company, where he was responsible for negotiating loan and investment agreements.
This may help explain why the prospect of re-starting his legal career in Canada holds no fear for Liu, whose decision to enrol in Osgoode’s Professional LLM in Canadian Common Law was partly motivated by the fact that its core courses are specifically designed to meet the requirements of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada’s National Committee on Accreditation.
“In terms of my future career, I would like to practice in the commercial area, based on my prior study and working experience,” Liu adds.
Although his time in practice was spent entirely in China’s civil law jurisdiction, Liu’s first encounters with the common law tradition actually came long before Osgoode. In 2013, between his graduation from law school in Beijing and the launch of his legal career there, Liu spent a year at University College Dublin’s Sutherland School of Law, where he completed an LLM in Commercial Law.
“I saw that the way the law can be used is totally different compared with China. That experience changed my understanding completely, and it has been very helpful as a student starting out my common law career,” Liu says.
Some of his UCD interactions also sowed the seeds of Liu’s current adventure, pointing him in the direction of Osgoode, which has links to UCD as an exchange partner of Sutherland’s.
“It was clear from what my colleagues and friends said that Osgoode was seen as one of the best law schools in Canada and around the world,” he says. “One of the professors who taught me at UCD told me it would be a great place to continue my studies, and I am very happy to be here now. It has been wonderful.”
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