Alumni Spotlight: Championing Legal Analysis and Policy Development in Indonesia

Follow the inspiring journey of Farisca Utami, a University of Leeds School of Law alumna, from her beginnings in law to becoming a dedicated legal analyst championing and public service in Indonesia.

Farisca Utami graduated from the School of Law at the University of Leeds in 2022 with an LLM in International Law. Since then, she has carved an impressive path in the field of legal analysis and policy implementation in Indonesia.

From her years in high school, Farisca felt drawn to law, prompted by an assessment suggesting it as a suitable path. Her subsequent experience certainly affirms this choice. Graduating from a top law school in Indonesia, she went on to become a government official in the Ministry of Law and Human Rights.

Farisca’s decision to pursue her LLM in International Law at the School of Law was well-informed. She researched the program's offerings, from its prestigious Russell Group status to its tailored corporate law curriculum. Yet, it wasn't merely academia that drew her to Leeds. The vibrant and compact city of Leeds provided the ideal backdrop for studying, while the university's rich array of extracurricular activities appealed to her.

Reflecting on her time at the School of Law, Farisca highlights the influence of her chosen modules and the pedagogical approaches. Crediting the School faculty and support staff for fostering this mindset, she asserts,

The studying methods urged me to read more, explore more, and to see more.

Since leaving Leeds, Farisca’s career trajectory has been nothing short of remarkable. As a Legal Analyst in the Ministry of Law and Human Rights in Indonesia, she plays a pivotal role in legal analysis and policy implementation, focusing on facilitating business growth and ensuring corporate transparency.

In this role, Farisca analyses regulations hindering SMEs and foreign investment, acting as the Minister's proxy in corporate dispute settlement cases, and collaborating with various entities to develop new regulations and policies. Her responsibilities also include reviewing company articles, advising on corporate transparency, leading verification teams, and crafting legal memoranda for policy amendments. Additionally, she conducts coaching sessions on corporate transparency and business startup matters.

Talking about her role, Farisca also highlights the value of her education at Leeds, saying,

It’s really fun since I get some questions on how this works in other developed countries with sophisticated legal systems and new emerging markets, and I can deliver it clearly through the global perspective that I obtained at the School of Law.

Dr Trevor Clarke, Lecturer at the School of Law and Farisca’s supervisor, echoes her experience, saying,

I very much enjoyed supervising Farisca's excellent LLM research project on the international regulatory response to the global problem of lack of transparency in the beneficial ownership of companies, which among other things is critical to combatting money laundering and terrorist financing.  Farisca came up with the original idea and we met regularly so that I could help her to refine and develop her research question and locate appropriate sources. I also offered feedback on her approach to structuring and writing the dissertation itself. The result was an impressive piece of research of which Farisca can rightly be proud and which I understand has proved useful to her in her career.

Farisca also recently published her first article regarding the mandatory wealth report issue in the Jakarta Post, the largest English-language independent news outlet  in Indonesia and one of the best in Southeast Asia. She first got the idea of writing the article when she was taking the financial crime module in Leeds.

As in every role, challenges arise, and Farisca adeptly navigates them. One of the main challenges of her role involves bridging the gap between legal language, which is often complex, and community understanding. To address this, she often illustrates the rationale behind regulations using case studies to foster understanding and cooperation amongst communities, which is vital in an ever-evolving legal landscape.

Offering advice to students wishing to enter the public sector, Farisca explains,

I think it does not really matter if you lack professional experience if you are really fond of public service. Bear in mind that being a civil servant will not provide you a luxurious lifestyle, but if you do it well, you get life fulfilment that not everyone can feel.

Farisca also emphasizes the importance of curiosity and developing global perspective, stating,

Be curious not only about the legal/public policy developments in your country, but please explore what happens in other countries. You will know that learning great perspective is not necessarily derived from developed countries. Some leading developing countries and several third world countries are showing great progress in how to build a sound legal system.

Looking ahead, Farisca would like to see positive transformation beyond the public sector. She envisions a future where legal and public policy enthusiasts catalyse change within the private sphere, driving prosperity for communities and stakeholders alike.