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.

Student Reflection - Ian Fortier

Australia is a country that is wonderful and beautiful. There is never a dull day when visiting this land. During our trip we saw rain forests, animals that are native to the country, and visited with professionals who have first hand knowledge in the field of international white-collar crime. It’s hard to pick just one day that stood out as my favorite. The most memorable person who spoke to our class was Paul Hinz. Hinz works for PWC in their forensic accounting division. He took us through the steps for how to determine if an employee or if the corporation as a whole has committed a crime of fraud. In true law school fashion we conducted a hypothetical as a class. The part that I found the most interesting is that PWC or EY do not have any subpoena power. This means that they find links and other types of evidence to build their case for the client that hired them. The process seems complicated and time consuming.

During the farewell dinner a group of us took a photo with on of the most iconic buildings in the world as our backdrop. Australia is an amazing place and is a must see when traveling the world. A group of us also arrived early enough to spend New Years Eve in Barangaroo park, where we got to see the most amazing views to began our new year.

Student Reflection - Darryl Mullally

First of all, 7 days in Sydney is nowhere near enough. I deeply regret not coming early and spending an extra week sightseeing before the course began. Although I’m not ready to leave, I’m very happy with the experiences and lessons that I can take home with me. Australia is easily the most beautiful place I’ve ever visited, and is home to some of the friendliest people I’ve ever encountered. I’ve been called “darling” and “my love” more times in the last 7 days than I have in my entire life.

I was initially scared to travel alone, and had experienced regret several times throughout my travel between airports prior to my arrival. However, as soon as I stepped out of the elevator after taking the train from the airport to Circular Quay, it felt like my heart was going to explode. I loved the buildings, the view of the harbor, and the weather. I was disgusting from 33 straight hours of travel, but could not wait to explore. On the plane I was worried about exploring alone, but instantly felt so liberated. I enjoyed walking the streets having no clue where I was headed, and stopping in to an unknown bistro to have lunch alone. I would have never done something like this back home.

In addition to the tourist aspect, I took so much away from the educational components of the trip. Since I haven’t decided what area of the law I plan to practice, white collar crime was fascinating to explore, and the inner workings of white collar crime were almost thrilling. While I enjoyed all of the speakers, I was especially interested in the presentation by Paul Hinz. The recreation of an actual case, along with the step by step explanations of his work (as well as the walls he ran into) were exciting, and made me feel like that is a line of work I could truly enjoy. I am scared of falling into a monotonous career, and the investigation aspect of white collar crime seems as if it would provide the exact opposite as far as work routine. I also enjoyed the visit with Judge Zahra, as well as the observation of the proceedings in the NSW court. It was somewhat startling to hear how powerless he feels judges are here, as well as how weak the penalties for white collar crime are. It really resonated with me to hear two different speakers, at two separate events share the same quote regarding the inefficiency of white collar legislation by saying that committing these types of crimes in Australia is “worth it.” I’m extremely interested in learning more about the severity of white collar crime punishments and penalties in America, as well as in following Australia as they (hopefully) make strides in the direction of creating more detrimental legislation.

Student Reflection - Ryan Murray

My time in Australia has been memorable and eventful to say the least. After arriving to the country early and exploring, the final week with the class was better than I expected. I enjoyed the talks with professionals across Sydney working to combat white-collar crime. The thing I found most interesting is that all of the speakers agreed the punishments for white-collar violations were insufficient to discourage the unwanted behavior. The whole trip opened my eyes to white-collar problems I had never thought of and to the world. It has been one of the best experiences of my life.

Student Reflection - Britny Hoag

This trip to Australia has really turned into an experience of a lifetime for me. It was my first time leaving the country and stepping on foreign soil, and I could not be happier with the way these last 17 days have turned out! I've seen and learned so many different things not only about the history of Australia, but the laws, culture, and even wildlife! For example, Aussie's don't believe in you will never get ice in any drink...ever...unless you specifically request it.

I traveled from Sydney, to Brisbane, then to Cairns and all the way back down to Sydney again; essentially traveling more than half of the east coast of Australia! I snorkeled in the Great Barrier Reef, got spit on by Archer fish in the Daintree Rainforest river, and unintentionally swam in a shark infested harbour at Manly Wharf. I've witnessed the kindness of strangers here, felt the proud and strong belief within the aboriginal community, and stood in the office of hard working attorneys, judges, and business men and women from around the world who all have one thing in common: they've fallen in love with the city of Sydney. If there is one thing this trip did, it certainly opened my eyes to how vast and enormous our world truly is. From the different cultures of people who live every day side by side, to the greatly different standards in the law, and even to the small but deadly critters that live in the wild. But I still saw the similarities within the foundations of humanity through the governmental people we met as a class and also individuals of the community we happened to chat with while riding the train or walking at Circular Quay. In conclusion, this was by far the best trip of my life thus far, and I can't wait to come back to the city that has stolen my heart too!

Ps. I know everyone back home is probably wondering about what Vegemite tastes like and if the toilets truly flush the opposite direction than in America? Vegemite is awful and the toilets don't flush backwards, the water just rushes in everywhere. I know, mind = blown

Student Reflection - Kourtney Imig

Our class has enjoyed many days filed with great information. One day our class adventured out to the Blue Mountains in a tour bus. During the tour, we had a wonderful tour guide named Michael and he guided us through the Blue Mountains and the Three Sister Rock formation. He gave us all different types of facts and information about Australia.

Another day that I enjoyed is when we went to a firm called PwC. PwC is responsible for proactive, strategic responses to threats in companies. They are also there to build trust in society and solve problems. We heard from two individuals. The first individual, Narreen Young, is a consultant who works with aboriginal and indigence groups. She is there to create good relations between the different cultures and businesses.

The second individual, Paul Hinz, is also a consultant. He is an accountant and investigates fraud situations that are brought to PwC. He showed us how fraudulent activity can occur within a company. He also walked us through an investigation that he worked on and what they did to figure out what the fraudulent activity was and provide evidence. It was very interesting to see what steps were taken to figure out if there was fraudulent activity.

Overall, the experience and learning about crime and fraudulent activity and being able to connect it to everything we learn as a class was beneficial.

Student Reflection - Sheena Hart

On Monday 1/09/17, we attended briefings with the US IRS criminal investigation director, Tai Lee. I thought Mr. Lee's work was fascinating. He discussed how there are only ten IRS criminal investigation sites in the world. Mr. Lee is located in Sydney, Australia but investigates fraud and money laundering throughout Asia as well as in Australia. It was interesting to me that he is rotated out every four years to a different post. He explained how he never thought being an accountant and investigator for the IRS would take him around the world. His lecture has encouraged me to look into the types of job opportunities available in government whereas I previously never thought those opportunities existed.

Student Reflection - Lisa Scott

What I have found interesting so far is the how the Australian government is making strides to right the wrongs done to the aboriginal people. I appreciated that the opening dinner included Auntie Margaret to get a cultural perspective of what issues the country has and how it has an impact on the legal system as a whole even though that was not our focus for the trip. The opening served as a good basis to appreciate the other historical components that we learned about.