Law and Business

Cheryl Foong, PhD in Law

Cheryl Foong

Cheryl Foong
PhD in Law

Cheryl has a Master of Laws (LLM) from Columbia Law School in New York, and a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) with First Class Honours and LLM (majoring in Intellectual Property and Technology Law) from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Brisbane. She is admitted as a legal practitioner of the Supreme Court of Queensland.

My previous study and work experience: I am passionate about Intellectual Property and technology law, having first encountered the subject while in my penultimate year of law at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Brisbane. I studied with Professor Brian Fitzgerald at QUT and started working as his research assistant. The more I learned about IP law, particularly copyright, the more I was drawn into its interesting and complex moving parts.

I graduated from QUT with First Class Honours, and further developed my expertise studying subjects such as International Copyright Law, Law of the World Trade Organization and Antitrust at Columbia Law School in New York with Professor Jane Ginsburg, Professor Petros Mavroidis and Professor Tim Wu, respectively. Following my experience at Columbia, I clerked for a summer at the United States Copyright Office (Office of Policy and International Affairs) in Washington DC. In addition to my studies and extensive research in IP, I have written practical guides, worked on direct outreach efforts to relevant stakeholders on Creative Commons and open access policy, and written submissions to the Australian Government in the area of copyright law. I also coordinated a pro bono IP and Technology Law clinic for artists and start-ups companies at the Queensland Public Interest Law Clearing House (QPILCH), a community legal centre in Brisbane, and supervised QUT students participating in the Clinic for academic credit.

My ultimate career goal: I am currently coordinating and teaching undergraduate law units at Curtin Law School in Perth, Western Australia, on the topics of Intellectual Property Law and Competition Law. The task of designing and delivering units in my areas of research interest has been an exciting and rewarding experience. Through my law units, I hope to continue challenging students to not only learn about the law, but think critically about why certain laws exist and how they could be improved. The goal is to be an IP scholar who makes significant contributions to the global discussion on IP law reform.

My biggest research mentor: Professor Brian Fitzgerald, ACU Foundation Dean of Law 2012-2015, has provided me with unwavering support and mentorship since I first started working with him at QUT. I would not have had such an eventful career trajectory and certainly would not be where I am without him.

My PhD progress: I just started my PhD in April 2015 on a part-time basis, so I still have a long way to go!

Reason for choosing ACU for a PhD in Law: I taught Legal Reading, Writing and Research at ACU Law in Melbourne as an Associate Lecturer in Semester 1 of 2013, to the first cohort of undergraduate law students. Therefore, I had firsthand experience of how ACU Law operates from the perspective of an academic. It was not difficult to make the switch to being a PhD student at ACU, considering the degree of care and attention afforded by faculty members to their students. The key decider for me was that Professor Brian Fitzgerald would be the principal research supervisor.

The best thing about ACU Law: The best thing about ACU Law is the people. The expertise and research experience of the faculty are excellent, and more importantly, the faculty are open to discussing ideas and research strategies and are highly approachable.

Advice to students thinking about embarking on a PhD at ACU Law: Students thinking about a PhD in Law should carefully consider why they are doing the PhD, and which area of law/topic they will cover. They should contact the relevant faculty member to discuss their ideas, and work out whether there is alignment between their research objectives and the mentorship that can be provided by the faculty member. ACU Law has great academics with expertise on a range of topics, who are open to meeting new scholars. Just get in touch and be clear about what you wish to achieve.