[photopress:MBA_Jeffrey_Lehman.jpg,full,alignright]Jeffrey S. Lehman, former president of Cornell University and now a senior fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, has for the past nine months been involved in creating the first American-style law school in China.
The proposition is put that universities around the world have adopted the American model although this is — certainly in the case of many European countries — arguable.
Jeffrey Lehman, formerly the dean of the University of Michigan Law School, is testing whether a school that offers a comparable education, but in China, could serve as a model or other institutions.
He asks the rhetorical question: ‘China already has more than 600 law schools, so why have one more? And why should it be an American-style law school?’
One possible reason is that multinational firms hiring lawyers are looking for students with American law degrees. Jeffrey Lehman said, ‘The very best graduates of China’s very best law schools … were not being hired by multinational law firms unless they came to the U.S. to study.’ Again, that seems an arguable point.
In a talk given at the Wilson Center he said there is a hope that a rigorous application of legal pedagogy can train students who might in the future work to strengthen China’s rule of law and its institutions.
He said, ‘We are intended to be a proof of concept for China. We are intended to show whether this … type of education will have value for China and is worthy for greater emulation.’
If the point he is making that the American legal system is worthy of emulation then he is on very thin ice indeed. Rather it could be argued it should be avoided like the plague.
Lehman was named the chancellor and founding dean of the School of Transnational Law at Peking University’s campus in the mainland city of Shenzhen, just north of Hong Kong.
The institution will admit its first class of 55 students later this year, out of an application pool of about 210, he said. Eventually, the school plans to seek accreditation from the American Bar Association so that graduates can take the New York State bar exam.
Source: Inside Higher Ed