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August 25, 2016


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Another Anon

Isn't the chief budget problem schools have that they can't cut expensive tenured faculty who may longer be needed? If that's right, I don't think schools are likely to try solving that problem by hiring expensive tenured faculty who may not be needed.

Zoltan Harvic

JR --

What would a truly "internationalized" curriculum / faculty / style of legal education look like, exactly?

Jeff Redding

ZH: Not the one currently popular at most institutions! Would love to hear yours and others' (constructive) thoughts.

Zoltan Harvic

JR --

I'm confused. You're the advocate here. Why not articulate a vision?

Seems to me that Akron's announcement isn't quite as radical as you suggest. Almost every American law school has some sort of international law component to its curriculum, and some dedicated faculty, and some research footprint. A big bunch -- including yours, yes? -- also host international "summer abroad" programs already.

So what are you arguing for? You say the "currently popular" model is inadequate. I'm not here to defend that model. But I am curious what you think would be better. Classes about gratuitously-added Ryan Lochte photos, perhaps?

Jeff Redding

ZH: Thanks for your interest, but one blog post at a time.


The start and end dates for semesters or terms in U.S. law schools don't correspond; students in U.S. schools often don't get credit for classes taken from EU law departments, and most U.S. schools cannot accept non-lawyers from other countries to take law classes. Tough to get all that to fit.
Now though that clinical and experiential work is on the rise in U.S. law schools, I wonder why doing a clinic abroad is not attractive at many price points. The students work with clients in a foreign country under the supervision of their U.S. law professor and an admitted lawyer overseas, and during a summer or a semester, they fulfill their clinical requirements.
It does not go far enough to solve the question posed, but it could profit all involved.
Prof. Thomason


I too wondered about the reason for posting pictures of near naked men. There must be some deep relevance to the institution of programs teaching "Islamic Constitutionalism" (and its analogue, "Catholic Constitutions" and, of course, the much admired "Jewish Constitutionalism").

Freddy Sourgens

I only partially agree with your analysis. US institutions are reaching out to foreign lawyers with greater frequency through specialized LLM programs and two-year JD programs for foreign trained lawyers. These programs are reasonably successful because - much to the world's chagrin - global legal processes have increasingly "Americanized" and taken on the inductive identity of (US) common law. In this sense, being "American" is the draw. And we do exceedingly well at being American.

That being said, legal education could certainly improve if we integrated more foreign perspectives into our curricula. This would better prepare US graduates for practice in an increasingly globalized economy (pace Brexit.). It also would improve cross-cultural discourse in law school - and thus better achieve the learning outcomes of teaching foreign lawyers US law and US law students the value of a US legal education. On this front, too, I see a lot of improvement in US legal academia. Most of our recent hires (myself included) have significant international exposure and integrate their international experience in the curriculum. Overall, this change just happens slowly. So - perhaps the incrementalist virtue of the US common law also applies to legal education? Change happens slowly first - and then all of sudden (after a critical mass of faculty has internalized a more global selbstverstaendnis as part of their teaching personas.)

Jeff Redding

Freddy, thanks so much for sharing your perspective!


I believe that the US legal system is the "envy" of the world i.e., isnt Delaware law the one developing nations look to for forming their own corporate law? I think even Japan did that a while ago on takeover law. The US remains the indispensable nation so IMHO, it is the other nations that ought to emulate the USA. I do agree that the US law schools should add some global perspectives and comparative law courses, this would be good for students.


The images seem pretty self-explanatory to me. Ugly Americans. They just happen (?) to also both be famous (images of) shirtless men.


"I believe that the US legal system is the "envy" of the world i.e., isnt Delaware law the one developing nations look to for forming their own corporate law?"

Our litigation processes are certainly not the envy of the world.

Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance King


I disagree. Our "litigation process" is the envy of the world! Name one other nation on Earth where one can get in wreck and get a check!


2 twbb
Why not? Here in the US bad actors know that if caught damage verdicts are available even punitives if justified. What about the ability to obtain discovery from the other side? Yes our system is a good one.


Guest, the adversarial system as implemented in the United States is enormously inefficient and expensive, driving poorer litigants out of the process altogether, often by the extensive discovery process. The delay is in many cases unconscionable, as cases can easily drag on for several years. Many of the fundamental bases of the adversarial system have been called into question by cognitive psychology over the past few decades. And I don't think the cost in time and money necessarily provides a better system than an inquisitorial one.

Colin Picker

As a former American academic now working at a foreign and very internationalised law faculty it seems to me that the solution runs deeper than simple curricular reform. The level of parochialism in US legal academia is so deep it is found across all aspects - from the curricula, academics, even to the goals of legal academia itself. It is a matter of legal culture. Without changing the essential inward looking approach alongside a general rejection of foreign approaches there will only ever be cosmetic change. Now, I am not advocating that US legal academia should change (it is generally successful under its own terms) or even that the American legal system should change (it too is generally successful - albeit with some notable problems). But, if law schools do wish to become truly internationalised it will require that the legal culture within that law school is itself internationalised. I am not sure how feasible that is within a larger American legal culture

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