Beyond Colonization — Programs of U.S. Legal Education Abroad by Indigenous Institutions

Drexel Law Review, Forthcoming

Penn State Law Research Paper No. 26-2012

55 Pages Posted: 7 Oct 2012 Last revised: 8 Aug 2013

See all articles by Larry Catá Backer

Larry Catá Backer

Pennsylvania State University, Penn State Law

Bret Stancil

University of Pennsylvania

Date Written: October 6, 2012


This article will look at globalization in the context of higher education and, in particular, higher legal education. The object will be to think about the ways in which non-U.S. based law schools are now offering US style legal education to (1) supply the U.S. legal market or (2) produce U.S. trained lawyers in the home state market or for other legal markets outside the U.S. Specifically, this article will first discuss the history of higher education as a national project and more recent trends and efforts to globalize higher education. The conceptual framework is informed by cosmopolitan, imperial or national aspirations. Starting from a definition of legal education globalization, the article considers the history of legal education as a national and international project. It then examines recent efforts to globalize legal education as an exercise in American cosmopolitanism, internationalism and nationalism and will then critically assesses arguments that, in light of certain characteristics of legal systems and legal education, globalization of legal education may implicate notions of cultural imperialism, in whatever form it takes. It then turns to an examination of one of the more interesting manifestations of globalization abroad — nationalist globalization in the form of developing American law schools outside the U.S. by non-U.S. educational entities, concentrating on two examples, one from Spain and the other from China. Finally, after discussing the ways in which the globalization of American legal education may affect recipient cultures, this article will take the reverse perspective and hypothesize on how the American legal education system may be affected by the same export.

Keywords: internaitonalization, legal education, globalization, law schools, pedagogy, transnational law, colonialism, markets

JEL Classification: K10

Suggested Citation

Backer, Larry Catá and Stancil, Bret, Beyond Colonization — Programs of U.S. Legal Education Abroad by Indigenous Institutions (October 6, 2012). Drexel Law Review, Forthcoming; Penn State Law Research Paper No. 26-2012. 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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