Globalization and the Business of Law: Lessons for Legal Education
Northwestern University School of Law
David Van Zandt
Northwestern University - School of Law
Nicole De Bruin Phelan
affiliation not provided to SSRN
Northwestern Journal of International Law & Business, Vol. 28, p. 399, 2008
Georgetown Public Law Research Paper No. 1241657
Whether working for global or local organizations, lawyers today are increasingly faced with the prospect of working with colleagues and competitors who are diverse in terms of nationality, education and training, and with clients whose problems may be as locally-focused as a Chicago zoning matter or as distant as the acquisition of one non-U.S. company by another. The global forces shaping business and the practice of law are felt in legal education, too, and U.S. law schools occupy a leading role in educating domestic and non-U.S. students for practice in the transnational marketplace. In spite of this, however, the core educational experience at nearly all U.S. law schools remains distinctly domestic in terms of substantive focus. The first year curriculum generally emphasizes exclusively U.S. law, and even most "core" upper level courses are jurisdictionally limited to U.S. law. While this U.S.-centric approach may continue to be appropriate in terms of the substantive focus of the curriculum, it may not adequately prepare students to work across national boundaries, both as collaborators and competitors with lawyers and clients from diverse jurisdictions and disciplinary backgrounds. Certainly, a strong education in substantive U.S. law is a necessity, but it is insufficient. In addition, what we might term "global sensitivity" is crucial, as is the need to understand business and apply its lessons to legal practice. If law schools can educate students to be globally sensitive as well as provide training in basic business concepts, they will strengthen the competitiveness of U.S. law graduates in the global market for legal services as well as the enhance the value of U.S. legal education.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 16
Keywords: globalization, legal education, legal profession
JEL Classification: K40, F01
Date posted: August 22, 2008
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