Global Law Schools on U.S. Models: Emerging Models of Consensus-Based Internationalization or Markets-Based Americanization Models of Global Legal Education

69 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2011

See all articles by Larry Catá Backer

Larry Catá Backer

Pennsylvania State University, Penn State Law

Bret Stancil

University of Pennsylvania

Date Written: August 19, 2011


This article examines two substantially irreconcilable approaches to internationalization that are emerging in the United States. The first focuses on globalizing the law school curriculum through internationalization. This approach is congruent with emerging trends in legal education internationalization in Europe. The second approaches internationalization as a market driven competition for influence among dominant domestic legal orders, that is, as nationalist globalization. Internationalization is understood as the extension of the influence of national law outside the national territory and is nicely illustrated by recent efforts to globalize the law school curriculum by internationalizing the conventional U.S. law school curriculum. The principle thesis is this: The global legal education community, led by the Europeans, has been constructing a vision of globalization of legal education that has as its basis the idea of harmonization and convergence of different systems and the development of a new institutional model grounded in harmonized global trends in law. The United States appears to be taking two approaches to this development.  After an Introduction, Part II examines the internationalization efforts of U.S. law schools following one of five models: (1) integration; (2) segregation; (3) aggregation; (4) immersion; and (5) multi-disciplinary department models. This project seeks a newer framework for the construction of shared legal structures grounded in joint effort that is not dominated by the approaches off any one state. Part III then examines the ways in which American institutions are also working against this general trend by positing a form of nationalist globalization that has as its foundation the idea that national legal education can go global without globalizing the law taught. Nationalist globalization takes three forms: a focus on the training of lawyers for domestic service whose pedagogical methodologies can be exported, the extraterritorial extension of the U.S. law school system, and the management of post graduate degrees in law for foreign law graduates. In place of harmonization and globalization of law, the American nationalist globalization model grounded in extraterritorial competition for socialization in the laws of the domestic legal order of dominant states. The article ends with an analysis of the consequences of these competing forms of global engagement in legal education. While much of the attention on changes to the American law school environment has focused on internationalization within consensus-based and supplementary programs founded on the internationalization ideal, American law schools have also been developing market-based strategies that are, at their core, fundamentally inconsistent with the internationalization framework.

RESUMEN BREVE: En este artículo se examina dos enfoques sustancialmente incompatibles de la internacionalización que están surgiendo en los Estados Unidos. La primera se centra en la globalización del currículo escolar a través de la ley de internacionalización. Este enfoque es congruente con las nuevas tendencias en la internacionalización de la educación legal en Europa. La internacionalización de los enfoques en segundo lugar como la competencia por el mercado por la influencia entre dominante ordenamientos jurídicos nacionales, es decir, la globalización nacionalista. La internacionalización es entendida como la extensión de la influencia de la legislación nacional fuera del territorio nacional y está muy bien ilustrado por los recientes esfuerzos para globalizar el currículum escolar la ley por la internacionalización del derecho convencional EE.UU. currículo escolar. La tesis de principio es el siguiente: La comunidad global de educación legal, liderado por los europeos, ha sido la construcción de una visión de la globalización de la educación jurídica, que tiene como base la idea de la armonización y convergencia de los diferentes sistemas y el desarrollo de un nuevo modelo institucional basado en la armonización de las tendencias mundiales de la ley. Los Estados Unidos parece estar tomando dos enfoques para este desarrollo. Por un lado, algunas instituciones están participando en la internacionalización de la educación. Sin embargo, las instituciones estadounidenses también están trabajando en contra de esta tendencia general al plantear una forma de globalización que tiene como fundamento la idea de que la enseñanza del derecho nacional puede ser globalizado y el rechazo de la necesidad de crear y enseñar derecho más allá del derecho nacional. En lugar de la armonización y la globalización del derecho, los estadounidenses de un modelo basado en la competencia extraterritorial para la socialización de las leyes del ordenamiento jurídico interno de los estados dominantes.

PALABRAS CLAVE: internacionalización, nacionalismo, globalización del currículo de derecho, enfoques pedagógicos, maestría en derecho, acreditación de estudios de derecho al extranjero, licenciatura de abogados

Keywords: Legal education, accreditation, American Bar Association, globalization, outsourcing, legal process bar exam, licensing, foreign lawyers, international, transnational, law school, legal education, curriculum, internationalization of law, legal nationalism, accreditation of law schools, LL.M. program

JEL Classification: I21, K3

Suggested Citation

Backer, Larry Catá and Stancil, Bret, Global Law Schools on U.S. Models: Emerging Models of Consensus-Based Internationalization or Markets-Based Americanization Models of Global Legal Education (August 19, 2011). Available at SSRN: or

Larry Catá Backer (Contact Author)

Pennsylvania State University, Penn State Law ( email )

Lewis Katz Building
University Park, PA 16802
United States

Bret Stancil

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

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