For Jordan Assaraf, going to law school at Australia’s Bond University was a no-brainer. “I’m a hands-on learner,” he says. “So when I learned that Bond offers small tutorials and practical-skills training, I thought, What a fit! That’s the law school I want to go to.”
Such a reaction is well deserved. Bondies like Assaraf don’t just learn about the law — they learn how to be lawyers. Once they arrive at the school’s picturesque Gold Coast campus, they’re taught more than the latest legal theory. They learn how to research for a case, conduct client interviews and argue in court (in front of real judges). The school takes courtroom experience seriously, so it’s no surprise that Bond regularly fields world-class mooting teams. (The school often wins the top prize at competitions around the world.)
After Assaraf graduated, in 2012, he landed an articling position at Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers. Since getting hired back, it’s been smooth sailing. Assaraf credits his success to the top-notch training he received Down Under. “Bond taught me to anticipate the questions judges like to ask,” he says. “When prepping me for court, our founding partner gave me the same advice.”
That’s a common experience for Bond grads. “I acquired advanced research skills a lot of people don’t have when starting out,” says Liana Rossi, a 2013 graduate and third-year associate at Baker & Company, a corporate boutique in Toronto. “I felt so confident, as if I’d been litigating for years.”
But a Bond degree can also take students to surprising places after graduation. “The knowledge and skills acquired when studying law are useful in a range of careers,” says Kathy Atkins, an associate dean at Bond. Take Cristina Wadhwa, who graduated from the law school in 2011. Today, she works for member of Parliament and Parliamentary Secretary, Omar Alghabra. One of her central job duties is to prep him for constituent meetings. “Bond taught me how to analyze complex problems by giving me a formula to break them down,” says Wadhwa. “I use it every day.”
And because Bond offers classes year-round, students can squeeze three semesters into a year. That means they can earn a J.D. in just two years.
But beyond the training, the degree is easy to accredit in Canada. If students spend just one more semester at Bond, after finishing their law degree, they can sit for their Canadian equivalency exams and, at the same time, earn a master of laws. “Bond allowed me to fast-track my degree,” says Rossi, who, after returning home, began articling immediately.
Two and a half years away from home might feel long, but with technology like Skype and FaceTime, distance isn’t an issue. Meanwhile, with over 150 Canadian law students at the school, home doesn’t feel so far away.
And no, the Gold Coast isn’t a snake- and spider-ridden death trap. “I didn’t come across snakes once,” says Rossi. “And the spiders I saw were no different than in Canada. We weren’t in the outback.”
The biggest perk, though? The life-changing experience of living in a new place. “Studying abroad lets you learn about who you are,” says Rossi. “It changed the way I look at life.”
The price is right
When it comes to tuition, Bond is an affordable choice
It’s not as expensive as you might think to study law on the other side of the globe. The total tuition costs to earn a degree at Bond are about $106,000 CAD — a pretty reasonable price tag that’s about half the cost of many American law schools. And Bond costs only a bit more than the law school at the University of Toronto, whose tuition fees over three years are about $100,000 CAD.
“Better still, since Bond students can finish in just two years, that’s a full year they aren’t paying rent, groceries and other living costs,” says Atkins. “And that means they can start their careers, and start collecting paycheques, one year earlier. That adds up to a lot of money.”
When the bell rings
For three sweet weeks in between every semester, Bond students are officially on vacation. Here are four popular spots they jet off to
“Sydney has great food and nightlife,” says Rossi, who made sure to visit Australia’s most popular city. “The atmosphere is vibrant. I visited the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House.”
Flight time from Bond: 1.5 hours
Cost of round-trip flight: $250
Best time to go: Australian spring or fall
“Staying in Thailand is very cheap,” says Assaraf. He made it to the country’s capital, plus almost all of the country’s islands. “I visited the most gorgeous cove, went on a boat ride and fed monkeys. Oh, and did I ever eat a lot of Thai food.”
Flight time from Bond: 12 hours
Cost of round-trip flight: $600
Best time to go: November to January
“I found a cheap ticket, so I did a four-day trip here,” says Wadhwa. “I explored the downtown markets and historic sites, such as Buddhist temples.”
Flight time from Bond: 9 hours
Cost of round-trip flight: $650
Best time to go: May through July
This utopic island in Indonesia is, quite simply, stunning. “The scenery was magnificent,” says Assaraf. The aquatic scene, chock-full of breathtaking coral reefs, is a must-see. “I surfed and went snorkelling.”
Flight time from Bond: 15 hours
Cost of round-trip flight: $850
Best time to go: May to September (dry season)
This content was paid for by Bond University. Learn more about Bond at bond.edu.au/lawcanada