New Colombo Plan opens doors to international arbitration career

Being awarded a New Colombo Plan Scholarship has set Griffith University student Shaun Milligan firmly on the path to a career in international arbitration.

As part of the scholarship, the Bachelor of Laws (Hons) Bachelor of Business student worked for two leading international law firms in Hong Kong — Herbert Smith Freehills and King & Wood Mallesons.

“I worked alongside some of the Asia-Pacific’s leading dispute resolution lawyers, on some of the region’s largest disputes,’’ Shaun said.

Upon return to Australia,he continued his work with Herbert Smith Freehills, completing a vacation clerkship in the firm’s Sydney office.

Under the NCP scholarship, Shaun also completed a semester at the University of Hong Kong, where he studied Mainland Chinese law and Hong Kong law, as well as Mandarin.

He pursued further Mandarin studies in mainland China and Taiwan after being awarded the Australia-China Youth Association’s Mandarin scholarship.

“One of the highlights of my New Colombo Plan was the number of eminent and knowledgeable people it enabled me to meet,’’ he said.

“They included then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Consul-General to Hong Kong and Macau, Michaela Browning, and Australian of the Year, Professor Michelle Simmons.

He said the aspect of international arbitration he finds most interesting is the way it involves parties from diverse backgrounds and cultures, and how this affects any given arbitration.

“I was fortunate to undertake a large amount of travel during my NCP scholarship, including trips to Mongolia, Nepal, China, Thailand and Taiwan. Exploring these various nations equipped me with cultural skills that I believe are essential to a career in international arbitration.

I am also interested in exploring how international arbitration can be used to resolve business and human rights disputes.”

When he finishes his study and with the aid of his Mandarin skills, Shaun wants to become one of Australia’s leading international arbitration lawyers.