The Roles of U.S. Law Faculty in Developing Countries: Striving for Effective Cross-Cultural Collaboration
Florida International University College of Law
October 21, 2009
Clinical Law Review, Vol. 14, No. 2, p. 465, 2008
Florida International University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 08-17
This Article focuses on one of the key ways in which the trend toward globalization and the creation of a more integrated world has manifested itself in the legal education community: the increased number of visits by U.S. lawyers and law professors to overseas school. A large number of those consultants have come from the clinical law community, and specific attention is paid here to the efforts of these clinicians both in broad-based projects in Iraq, China, and Russia, as well as smaller scale ones in other parts of the world, particularly sub-Saharan Africa.
The Article’s jumping-off point is to contrast these recent efforts with those forty years ago during the “Law and Development Movement,” an era which has been severely criticized because the American experts who visited foreign countries then never bothered to learn the way justice was administered and law was taught in the U.S. The failure of those efforts demonstrated the need to adopt a different approach, and the data reviewed for this Article indicates that to successfully support the implementation of positive reforms in other countries, the methodology needs to be more collaborative.
The Article therefore concludes that in practical terms this means that both U.S. funders and the consultants they support will have to involve colleagues from the host country from the out-set in establishing the purpose and the goals for the project. Further, the overseas visitors will have to thoroughly immerse themselves in the local context and culture early in the process and then maintain a high level of collaboration through all phases of delivery to insure that the reforms they seek can work in the local context. Finally, particular attention will have to be paid to and during the collaboration to those factors that will help sustain the reforms after the formal consultation has ended.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 44
Keywords: legal education, law professors, lawyers, United States, consultants, law and development movem,ent, American, foreign countries, reforms, collaboration
Date posted: October 24, 2009