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STL Held Commencement Celebrations for the Class of 2023

Peking University School of Transnational Law (“STL”) held its 2023 commencement on May 20 to celebrate the graduation of 143 J.D./J.M. and 16 LL.M. graduates.

“STL has the world’s only American Law Juris Doctor, China Law Juris Master dual degree program, much of it in English and all of it extremely rigorous and demanding. This is an academic and professional achievement only a few may claim. All of you are leaving STL for positions of leadership that will serve you, our law school, your families, and China extremely well, setting new standards of professionalism for the Chinese legal profession and for the profession worldwide,” STL Dean Philip J. McConnaughay said in his remarks.

Professor Jeffrey Lehman, the STL’s Founding Dean, congratulated the Class of 2023 on their achievements. “Your four years at STL have, in some ways, been just what you expected when you began back in 2019. You now understand how legal rules are able to resolve people’s disagreements fairly in ways that promote important values such as equity, equality and efficiency, which is what you expected to accomplish as STL students. Through your dedicated effort, you did it.” “During the four years, the world has changed a lot, but we should not be discouraged. As STL graduates, you should appreciate even more the special qualities that you developed during the past four years. Whatever life you wish to craft, you might follow either of two different strategic paths: to provide service to others or to use the paid work to acquire resources that you need to live comfortably and maintain that work so that you have energy for important activities such as friendship, family, creativity, and community service. No matter which path you choose, the qualities you developed during your time at STL will serve you well.” “Keep reading. Keep finding resources of intellectual stimulation.”

“You’ve all completed a major step forward. When we are done today, you will be graduates of Peking University and specifically graduates of STL, which is a big deal,” said Professor Ray Worthy Campbell. “There are other ways to excel, and not all are ways that a school can measure and give awards for. You will find that this new world differs in many ways from the world of schooling, where skills and capabilities that we don’t teach and don’t measure or grade will nonetheless be crucially important to your life going forward.” “Some of you will remember that I have encouraged you to settle for nothing less than being a great lawyer. Now, this was never really about being a lawyer. It was about being great, and great is something each and every one of you can be. Choose your own goal.”

Two J.D./J.M. graduate representativesDong Jinzhi and Yu Mingjia reflected on their time at STL and expressed sincere gratitude to their classmates, professors,and friends for their dedication.

“At the opening ceremony in 2019, we were full of longing and excitement. Our eyes were shining with conviction and determination because we had a well-thought-out plan and a promising future. As we graduate now, we still retain that determination and faith in our eyes, but we also have one more thing, calmness, because of the knowledge and experience we have acquired in the past four years. In the past decade since the establishment of STL, STL graduates have obtained an exclusive reputation and a positive portrait in the legal market, with STL graduates constantly breaking through and expanding the existing ‘STL path’. STL shapes us, but never defines us, and each of us continues using our words and actions to show the outside world ‘what the possibilities of STL are’ since we joined here!”

“When learning, one must be vigorous and resolute, and always adhere to one’s original intentions. Looking back on that tough time, we have truly experienced both pain and joy, faithfully practicing our original learning intentions at STL. I am grateful that I was able to experience a complete and rigorous academic training in Chinese law at STL. Everything I learned at STL is the most advantageous tool for me to navigate the turbulent job market and economic environment. STL places more emphasis on cultivating our ability to think independently, identify issues, and solve problems. Therefore, I believe that after such training, no matter which industry we devote ourselves to, we can carry the imprint of STL, excel in every job, and solve every problem. Congratulations and best wishes to every graduate! The journey ahead is long, but we are not afraid of the wind!”

Alvin Sia, an LL.M. graduate, first congratulated his colleagues on making it through the adversity andappreciated the guidance and helps from the Dean, the faculty members, administrative staff, and colleagues.He spoke of how group discussions and sharing stories enabled him to establish connections and forge friendships with his classmates. “Reflecting on my STL experience, these past two years have been unique.” “As a graduate, I can attest to the academic rigour of the STL LL.M. program. I am confident that the academic rigour in STL prepares us well for the future, be it for further studies, legal practice, academia, as an in-house lawyer, or whatever you choose to do. The world is your oyster.”

Wu Han, an alumnus of the STL Class of 2012, shared his understanding of career development in his keynote address. “Back then, when I graduated, I was ready to change the world, making a big difference. But the world actually changed faster than you did.” “I hope you could be more cautious, prudent, but still courageous. Start the new journey fearless and even reckless. Enjoy every setback. Cherish every praise.”

Later on, Dean McConnaughay turned the tassel for graduates.

Like their predecessors, 2023 graduates are employed by top multinational law firms, domestic and foreign companies and financial institutions, state-owned enterprises, and government departments.

Four years is not a very long time. STL graduates will always aim high in the future, constantly broadening their boundaries and exploring infinite possibilities. The new journey has started. Best of luck to all graduates, and make the change you wish to see in the world!

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