The Reform of Legal Education in East Asia

Posted: 27 Dec 2008

See all articles by Setsuo Miyazawa

Setsuo Miyazawa

Aoyama Gakuin University

Kay-Wah Chan

Macquarie University

Ilhyung Lee

University of Missouri at Columbia

Date Written: December, 23 2008


Legal education in East Asia, particularly in China, Japan, and Korea, is undergoing fundamental changes, both institutionally and pedagogically. A common feature of those changes is the introduction of elements of the American system of legal education. Although traditional legal education in these countries has been provided at an undergraduate level and has not been considered professional legal education, recent and current reforms in those countries are either adding postgraduate professional law schools to existing undergraduate legal education or replacing undergraduate legal education with postgraduate professional law schools. The main parts of this review describe key features of those reforms in the three countries. The conclusion draws some theoretical implications from similarities and differences among the three countries, particularly in terms of the role of the top elite as agents of reform and of the constraints of different local conditions.

Keywords: legal changes, professional law school, American model, China, Korea, Japan

Suggested Citation

Miyazawa, Setsuo and Chan, Kay-Wah and Lee, Ilhyung, The Reform of Legal Education in East Asia (December, 23 2008). Annual Review of Law & Social Science, Vol. 4, December 2008, Available at SSRN:

Setsuo Miyazawa (Contact Author)

Aoyama Gakuin University ( email )

4-4-25 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku
Tokyo, 150-8366

Kay-Wah Chan

Macquarie University ( email )

North Ryde
Sydney, New South Wales 2109

Ilhyung Lee

University of Missouri at Columbia ( email )

332 Cornell Hall
Columbia, MO Columbia 65211
United States

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