In the News

2018-06-11 00:00:02

Law Lecturer Valčiukas: A Diploma is Just the Start

June 8th, 2018, in an interview with Internet news portal 15min.lt, Mykolas Romeris University (MRU) Law Faculty Lecturer Juozas Valčiukas discussed his career and law studies at MRU. Earlier this year he successfully defended his PhD dissertation and received his pedagogical qualifications.

Valčiukas said that the path of a law graduate doesn't end with a diploma, but is just the beginning, said the popular MRU Lecturer.

He said that he selected law studies based on internal and external factors. Although he thought about journalism, acting, teaching, lecturing, diplomacy or even politics, he settled on the path of law.

Classics such as George Orwell's "1984" and Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World" were the books that influenced him and encouraged him to fight for human rights. Also, many world leaders, well-known individuals such as Barack Obama, activist Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Robert Kennedy, Albie Sachs had studied law and this was an additional motivation, said Valčiukas.

But Valčiukas had always hoped to teach or lecture and in a way, inspire students, the future generation.

During my student years I understood that it is not enough for today's contemporary lawyers to just attend lectures, seminars and to do well on exams. Good grades, a diploma is only just the start and it doesn't necessarily guarantee success in one's career in today's world. This is just the minimum what university studies can offer.

Therefore, it is necessary to understand university studies as a multifaceted process. At the centre is an active student. First, it is necessary to take advantage of what an academic environment offers, and to make connections and not be afraid to talk with others - even authority figures. These figures, these persons, may provide a recommendation reference in the future.

It's necessary to become a part of an active legal community. One needs to learn how to present oneself to the world, while talking eye-to-eye, writing e-mails or making a public speech. The age in which we now live requires the ability to communicate seeking to open bigger doors and take advantage of possibilities. Learning foreign languages and the desire for internationality should become a part of studies. European Union Erasmus studies and undertaking training overseas helps the process.

Valčiukas said he had to overcome difficulties, defy stereotypes during his Bachelor's, Master's and doctoral studies. Respect for others and trying to make contacts with well-known legal experts, legal authorities in Lithuania and the world as well as hundreds of written letters in English, French, Lithuanian also were undertaken. Of course, there were many unforgiven mistakes made. I learned from this and it allowed me to receive a response, after some time.

There were several U.S., U.K. and Jordan legal theoretics that responded to my written requests. We began to communicate and to engage in discussions on the internet, meet at conferences in various European cities. Some of my correspondence developed into a deep friendship with these academics.

Studying French language, while working towards my Master's Degree, allowed me to later study in Paris via the EU "Erasmus" programme. During my PhD studies, I studied Arabic and continued my studies in Jordan. Only when I stopped calling Arabic an "exotic" language, did I open the doors to this wonderful language, which I continue to patiently study today. I also decided to write my dissertation in English. It was titled, „Islamic Law: A Question of Adaptability." I was encouraged to do this by the late great philosopher, professor Leonidas Donskis. I dedicated the dissertation to him, Valčiukas said.