Wednesday, February 1, 2017

During the second week of 2017, 17 students from Southern Illinois University School of Law will travel to Sydney, Australia as part of a legal globalization and comparative law course regarding international white collar crime. During their travels, they will meet with various officials from the law enforcement community and the legal community to learn first-hand about this evolving and dynamic field. We hope you will follow along through this blog once our journey begins.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Student Reflection - Shani Smoak

On day 4 of Australia Globalization class trip, our group embarked on an all-day adventure to the Blue Mountains. I did not know what awaited me on this journey, so I remained optimistic about this excursion in Australia. To give a little background of me, I have not hiked or frolic in the forest since I was in elementary school, and hoped to never revisit, until today. I'm not a fan of the outdoors because I'm a city girl, but this is Australia so I accepted the challenge.

As a group, we started at Featherdale Wildlife Park. I captured more pictures of koalas, cassowaries and kangaroos, which I became fond off since my quick trip to Brisbane’s Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. Interesting Fact: In Brisbane, I got the opportunity to hold a koala for 10 seconds.  Yet, in other regions in Australia including North South Wales, the government has banned parks from allowing people to hold koalas. The most that individuals can do is interact with the koalas by touch and petting. I am more grateful to have had this opportunity of holding the koala, and will cherish the memory every time I glance at my photo. 

Afterwards, our group headed to Lincoln’s Rock, a lookout point with a break taking view of the mountains. The lookout was very dangerous because of the wind and no metal rails, so I took and used my selfie stick to get the best possible picture.

Any chance that I got, I took multiple selfies to capture the memories of this excursion. Then we headed to see the Three Sisters, whereby I announced to the group, "those are my sisters, we are solid as a rock." I had another chance to take a selfie with my $1 selfie stick. By the way, my selfie stick became a part of me on this journey down under until I left it at the restaurant on our way to the entrance of the Blue Mountains. I hope it is in safe hands and that whomever took it will use it on their next destination.

Next, I thoroughly enjoyed the skyway and cableway service. I captured more beautiful photos of the terrain despite my fear of heights. Second to last adventure of the day, we took a 25-minute hike along a trail in the rainforest. I was not appreciative of the humility or the lack of wood rails on the hike, but once I made it to the end, I was in awe of the cascading waterfall flowing out of the mountains.

Finally, we took a train ride back to the top of the mountain and I freaked out.  But, I was glad to have finished this adventure.

This adventure pushed me to face my fears of heights and the unknown, and I'm proud that I chose to continue to push forward despite the heat and my limitations.

Overall, I'm grateful for the opportunity to experience a culture different from USA. It was fascinating to immerse myself in Australian culture and take in the beautiful landscape, architecture and social scene. I specifically enjoyed the public transportation in Sydney because it reminded me of the easiness of getting around New York City.

I look forward to a future trip to Sydney, Australia.

Student Reflection - Danielle Humes

Australia is one of the most adventurous places I have ever been.  From SCUBA diving on the great barrier reef, to feeding crocodile and kangaroos in the rain forest, to cuddling a Koala bear. It was amazing how our professor was able to show us all the highlights of Sydney in a short period of time.  I enjoyed the Sydney harbor cruise, paddle boarding, and hiking through Katoomba in Blue Mountain Park to view the Three Sisters Formation.  Visiting the various firms to learn about white collar crime was an incredible experience.  I specifically appreciated visiting PWC Forensic Team who went into detail about their services for managing business risks. Economic Crime of a company’s brand can happen any where and at any time.  PWC Forensic Team shared with us the proper steps in protecting a company’s economic value, which I thought was fascinating.

Student Reflection - Amber Sanges

As our time in Australia comes to an end, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to visit this beautiful country. Fortunately, a few close friends and myself arrived in Sydney two weeks before the start of scheduled class activities. This allowed a lot of time to enjoy Sydney NSW and Cairns QLD.

During our time in Australia, we had the pleasure of doing and seeing almost everything suggested during class preparation for our trip. We visited many touristy places including Sydney Harbour, Manley Beach, Bondi Beach, the Sydney Opera House, Luna Park (the Coney Island of Sydney), the Botanical Gardens, and the Blue Mountains. We also had the pleasure of engaging in other activities including viewing the New Years Eve fireworks at Barangaroo Park, Field Day music festival on New Years Day, and snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef.

Furthermore, we had great opportunities to meet with some of Sydney’s best and brightest legal professionals. It was very interesting to hear their perspectives on white collar crime in Australia as well as how it differs from the U.S.

Student Reflection - Cristy Ramirez

I had no idea what to really expect going to Australia. However, one of the first things we did which left an impression was going to the Hyde Park Barracks. I have always been fascinated by the history of convicts that were sent to Australia. This last standing place which many people called home was very well kept and the phone tour did a great job in explaining the history. Of course, my favorite part was dressing up like a convict and as a woman from that time on the second floor of the building. It was a great experience to get to lay on the hammocks which hundreds of people called their beds. One major detail I noticed in the museum which really intrigued me was how the Conditional Pardon, which was displayed, used very similar language to that which courts still use in their motions, pleadings, etc. It left an impression because it is awesome to think so much has changed from the past but even so the legal system still keeps its originality. I could keep writing but I will save it for my paper.

Student Reflection - Phoenix Mason

Learning the history of Australia in concurrence with learning about their legal system has helped me to understand why the country developed in certain ways. While at the museums, it was interesting to see how American history led to the founding and development of Australia. The presentations we attended were very helpful in understanding how their legal system functions. Because Australia is a relatively new country, most of their legal system was influenced by other pre-existing nations, especially Britain. The presentation I found the most enjoyable and informative was the one with Judge Zara. He was very methodical in explaining how a fraud case would be investigated and later proven in a courtroom. I was especially interested in how the roles of judges differs between the two countries. It seems that judges do not have the same persuasive authority in Australia that I am used to in the American Legal system. He said that he has had cases walk into his courtroom that he has presided over, and he had absolutely no prior knowledge about the facts of the case. One of the biggest differences in our legal systems seems to be the discovery process. In Australia, judges do not oversee discovery, which I think puts them at a disadvantage. Judges have to rely much more heavily on the attorneys to make objections when evidence being presented might not be relevant, because the Judge has no knowledge of where the case is going, and therefore does not know whether the evidence is relevant. From the way it was described, I think the U.S. has a better system for ensuring that the rules of evidence are protected.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Student Reflection - Christopher J. DeBoer

As I am sitting in the hostel common room waiting to head to the airport to begin my journey home, I reflect on the past two and a half weeks I have spent traveling to and around Australia. Ever since I was a kid I have dreamed about visiting Australia. Once I saw that Professor Dervan was offering a Legal Globalization course on white collar crime in Australia, I could not pass up this kind of opportunity.

I began my journey on Christmas day traveling from Jacksonville, Florida to Chicago, where I would depart the next morning. As I was buckling my seatbelt I was informed over the intercom that my connecting flight from Nashville to Chicago was cancelled. Instead of arriving in Chicago at 9pm I was forced to rent a car and drive the 7 hours. Luckily I was given a brand new Dodge Challenger (which was sweet) but it was so foggy it was nearly impossible to see at some points throughout the night. Eventually I arrived in Chicago at 4am and departed the next morning for Shanghai, China. I only had a 36 hour layover but I made the most of it. I was able to explore the Bund, the Shanghai Museum where they had exhibits on ancient Chinese currency and jade sculptures, the Fabric Market where I was to bargain with a lady to have a custom suit made, and I made sure to taste as many different types of food as I possibly could.

I departed Shanghai and had a quick layover in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and in case you were wondering a double sausage and egg sandwich meal from McDonalds cost $2.80USD. I arrived in Australia around 9pm. I found my way through customs and hopped in an Uber to head to where I was staying. It was quite different sitting on the “wrong” side of the car and driving on the “wrong” side of the road. During the next couple of days in Sydney we were able to check out Manly Beach, Bondi Beach, Luna Park, see New Years fireworks with the Harbour Bridge close by, tried kangaroo and crocodile, and only was a little sun burnt. We then caught a flight to Cairns for a couple of days where I was able to do a little fishing and snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef.

After three days in Cairns, I flew back to Sydney to begin the class portion of the trip. This week included a trip to the Blue Mountains, a Harbour Cruise, a traditional Australian Aboriginal welcome dinner, visits to EY, Pwc, the U.S. Consulate, Baker&McKenzie, and a visit with a local judge. During these trips we learned the multiple roles these firms play in an expanding global market where crimes are becoming more complicated. It was interesting to learn how lenient punishments are for such serious crimes in Australia and how every person we spoke to agreed that the punishments need to become more severe. Overall the trip was worth all the travel and the headaches that came with traveling. 10/10 would recommend.