Thinking Critically About International and Transnational Legal Education
Drexel Law Review, Vol. 5. No. 2, p. 285, 2013, Forthcoming
13 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2013 Last revised: 28 Sep 2017
Date Written: June 10, 2013
It has become a matter of recurring lament and concern — and periodically, an object of satire and derision — that Americans lack basic knowledge, awareness, or interest concerning the world beyond their borders; whether in terms of history, public affairs, culture, language, or even basic geography. Politicians, corporate leaders, scholars, and other observers across a broad spectrum routinely warn of the potential dangers this global awareness deficit poses to the well-being and security of the United States. In an increasingly interdependent world — with a growing array of economic, political, social, and environmental problems that transcend national borders — individuals cannot meaningfully function as responsible democratic citizens without both greater global knowledge, and the capacities and sensibilities necessary to engage that knowledge critically, and with sophistication. Some observers push harder and deeper; as Martha Nussbaum argues, “[i]t is irresponsible to bury our heads in the sand, ignoring the many ways in which we influence, every day, the lives of distant people."
In response to these concerns, significant investments have been made in recent years to expand the place of global perspectives in elementary, secondary, and undergraduate education. To what extent and in what manner, then, are analogous concerns relevant to U.S. law schools, which educate some of society’s most active and influential citizens? And how have law schools responded? This symposium issue of the Drexel Law Review examines these questions. Fifteen panelists — with expertise and experience spanning a variety of countries and legal systems — presented papers engaging current trends concerning globalization and legal education at the symposium, which took place in October 2012. Eight of these papers are published in this symposium issue.
Although the rationales for globalizing legal education are longstanding and well-developed, the dynamic and uncertain context of U.S. legal education demands an equally dynamic set of responses that continue to develop, critique, refine, and rearticulate these rationales — and equally important, that critically assess and reassess the specific forms that initiatives to globalize legal education can and should take. The contributions to this symposium issue take on this challenge by addressing a series of conceptual and methodological themes at the leading edge of recent developments, including innovative approaches to integrating international, transnational, and comparative perspectives into the law school curriculum, pioneering methods of bringing these global perspectives into experiential learning and lawyering programs, and critical perspectives on all of these emerging ideas and trends.
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