Oliver Zhang

Country: China
Sector: Law
Job title: Managing Partner
Subject of study: Dip Law
Year of graduation: 2003
Type/Level of study: Postgraduate Taught

Current Employer/Organisation Name

Weiheng Law Firm

Please provide us with a brief background history of your degree – Why that particular discipline? Why you decided to come to the UK to study?  Why Exeter?  

The full name of the programme is Common Professional Examination or Postgraduate Diploma in Law. It is a conversion course for those candidates who have no English law background. The holder of such diploma is equivalent to an English LLB degree holder.  

Before attending PgDL in Exeter I had obtained a LLB degree in Zhejiang University in China and a LLM in international commercial law from University of Nottingham. The reasons why I chose this programme were that I wanted to deepen my knowledge on English law and to further qualify as an English solicitor if possible.  

During my LLB study in China, I was educated that in general there are two legal systems in the world, namely Anglo American and Continental. The UK is the origin of Anglo American legal system, meanwhile the UK laws are widely selected as governing law in many commercial contracts and agreements. Therefore, compared with the US, the UK has absolute advantage on legal education from international perspective. 

Partially because of the impressive slogan “probably the best university in the world” at that time, and also attracted by its peaceful and beautiful natural scenery on campus, I selected Exeter. After being part of it, I was further impressed by its diversification in term of its international culture and open academic atmosphere.  

What have you done with your degree? Where do you currently work and what is your role?

I completed 7 core subjects of English law, including EU law, constitutional and administrative law, criminal law, tort law, contract law, trust law and land law, by taking 9 exams (EU law and criminal law were divided to two parts in two semesters) and 7 essays and 1 graduation dissertation, within only 9 months. What an intensive and impressive programme indeed!  

I am currently a senior partner in Shanghai Office of Weiheng Law Firm, a Chinese nation-wide law firm with 40 offices over China and 4 offices overseas. I am a member of management board of Shanghai Office and in charge of marketing and public relationship matters. Meanwhile, I am the director of international investment committee of Shanghai Bar Association with a role of promoting legal service of in-bound and out-bound investment in connection with China. 

How has studying in the UK at Exeter helped you get into your chosen career? 

Exeter offered me an exclusive opportunity to sink myself down, where I can introspect the real me without too much distractions from turmoil of the real world. The course of introspection and examination of my own conscience, as well as the outcome of knowing who I am and what I need, further offer me a strong heart while facing every single difficulty of making choice including career choice.  

How easily did you settle in? 

Diversified culture and colorful activities on campus organized by various associations or societies really offered me a great help when I tried to settle in Exeter. 

Would you recommend studying overseas to other students? 

Sure, I will highly recommend it, particularly to Chinese students who need to widen their horizon with China’s rising status in international arena. 

Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years’ time in your career? 

Instead of practicing in 1st tier cities like Beijing or Shanghai, I may shift my more focus to rising 2nd tier cities like Hangzhou, the capital city of Zhejiang Province and also my hometown. In my observation and consideration, regional legal service market development under shrinking globalization is a trend in the next 5-10 years’ time. 

Are there any words of wisdom that you would give to new graduates? 

I would like to take this opportunity to share management concept of HSBC, i.e. to become a world’s local bank and operate global finance with local wisdom. I think at a particular moment when the world is becoming more conservative, we people in the world regardless of nationality and ethnic group, shall become more accommodative and progressive. 

 

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