March 29, 2019

Preparing Law Students for a Global Practice

In an era of high law school tuition and a tight legal job market, educators and lawyers are constantly reexamining the law school curriculum. The traditional curriculum, based on the Socratic method and core courses such as torts, Constitutional Law, contracts, civil procedure, and property, is being rethought.

Among the issues generating attention is “global legal education.” Inspired by the recognition that lawyers are increasingly dealing with cross-border problems and the expectation that cross-border work will only accelerate, educators and practitioners are asking how to prepare students for this increasingly interconnected world.

Indeed, large law firms have become increasingly global, and studies have shown that lawyers in a variety of practices report having cases or clients with international problems. The increasing importance of multi-national corporations, global financial markets, international trade and the international regulation of banking have all encouraged increasing discussion of the extent to which American legal education should be molded to prepare students for a transnational practice. American law students are schooled in the common law, the legal culture of the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, Australia, and India. Historically, however, United States law students have not been exposed to legal schemes of the rest of the world, such as the European emphasis on civil law, derived from Roman law and the Napoleonic Code, Islamic law, or Chinese law.

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