What Lies Before, Behind and Beneath a Case? Five Minutes on Transnational Lawyering and the Consequences for Legal Education

Shauna Van Praagh and Helge Dedek (eds.), Stateless Law: Evolving Boundaries of a Discipline (Ashgate, 2014), Forthcoming

Osgoode CLPE Research Paper No. 62/2013

22 Pages Posted: 22 Dec 2013 Last revised: 21 Oct 2014

See all articles by Peer C. Zumbansen

Peer C. Zumbansen

King’s College London, Dickson Poon Transnational Law Institute

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

The following paper serves as the Epilogue to an edited volume that celebrates the first decade of McGill’s ambitious legal education reform in "Transsystemic Law". Placing this innovation in a larger context of curriculum reform, law school crisis – then and now -, it becomes apparent that McGill’s program can be seen as part of global changes in the way that law schools struggle with student expectations, market demands, and shifting frameworks of domestic and transnational lawyering. Karl Llewellyn’s observations "On What is Wrong With Legal Education" ring true still today, almost eighty years later. Still we seek ways to inspire law students to think critically and to develop a sense for their own moral compass, and still we find ourselves succumbing to the pressure to deliver, above all, "skills" and practical training. The here made contention is to introduce transnational case scenarios, constellations and case studies into the law school curriculum to illustrate the complexity of social and legal facts and the treacherousness of forgetting the former over an exclusive emphasis on the latter: using, for example, labor rights struggles as in the context of the Foxconn suicides or in the Bangladeshi ready-made-garment industry, we can introduce students to different layers of legal, political and social arguments in contexts where it is not enough to identify plaintiff and defendant. The "case" beneath that case is infinitely more complex and necessitates historical, political, economic, cultural understanding. Confronting students in first and upper year classes with such instances of ‘law in context‘, we might begin to complement our already ongoing efforts of making them sensitive to the ethical challenges of legal profession with accessible examples of transnational lawyering. Such illustrations bear crucial insights into the transnational complexities of rights advocacy, lawyering, access to justice and the legal process.

Keywords: legal education, law school crisis, transnational lawyering, ethical lawyering, access to justice, transnational advocacy networks, legal process, law in context, transnational law, legal pluralism

JEL Classification: K4, K40, K49

Suggested Citation

Zumbansen, Peer C., What Lies Before, Behind and Beneath a Case? Five Minutes on Transnational Lawyering and the Consequences for Legal Education (2013). Shauna Van Praagh and Helge Dedek (eds.), Stateless Law: Evolving Boundaries of a Discipline (Ashgate, 2014), Forthcoming; Osgoode CLPE Research Paper No. 62/2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2370428

Peer C. Zumbansen (Contact Author)

King’s College London, Dickson Poon Transnational Law Institute ( email )

Somerset House East Wing
Strand
London, WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

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