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The 'Americanization' of Legal Education in South Korea: Challenges and Opportunities

39 Pages Posted: 29 Feb 2012 Last revised: 13 Mar 2012

Rosa Kim

Suffolk University Law School

Date Written: February 28, 2012


In 2007, Korea reformed its legal education system from one consisting of an undergraduate degree, “cram school,” and a national bar exam with a less than 5% pass rate, to an American-style three year graduate law school system. The reform was instituted to expand and diversify the legal profession in Korea and to meet the demands of an increasingly globalizing economy. The first class of students graduating from the new law schools in February 2012 will face an environment that is not yet prepared to accommodate them. In this article, I explore the economic, cultural and pedagogical challenges posed by the reform. I also discuss the opportunities afforded by adopting a law school model that is in the midst of being re-evaluated. I argue that Korean law schools should implement some key recommendations for reform in U.S. schools. By learning from the U.S. experience, Korea can develop its own effective legal education model.

Suggested Citation

Kim, Rosa, The 'Americanization' of Legal Education in South Korea: Challenges and Opportunities (February 28, 2012). Brooklyn Journal of International Law, Forthcoming; Suffolk University Law School Research Paper No. 12-15. Available at SSRN: or

Rosa Kim (Contact Author)

Suffolk University Law School ( email )

120 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02108-4977
United States

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