Legal Education Reform in China Through U.S.-Inspired Transplants
Journal of Legal Education, Vol. 59, No. 1, pp. 60-96, August 2009
37 Pages Posted: 10 Aug 2009
Date Written: August 7, 2009
Over the past several decades, a salvo of U.S. entities have sought to reform the legal system and, particularly, legal education in China. This Article examines the applicability of the U.S. experience for legal education reform in China by examining two dimensions of reform: the Juris Master law degree and experimental pedagogies that foster critical reasoning. Ethnographic data, collected during 2007-2008, is used to develop a case study of Tsinghua University Law School in Beijing and Shenzhen. The study suggests that the top-down transplant of the Juris Master program fails to meets its stated goals. However, the 'bottom-up' transplants of experimental teaching approaches, implemented by the “cultural brokers” of Chinese educators, hold more promise. The Article argues that while the U.S.-led 'rule of law' initiative echoes the earlier 'law and development' movement, globalization has emerged as a central feature of legal transplantation. Nonetheless, this process operates via a partial misrecognition of globalization as Americanization.
Keywords: Legal education, rule of law, transplants, comparative law, globalization, China, U.S.
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