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The Internationalisation of Legal Education

The Internationalisation of Legal Education

The Future Practice of Law

Edited by William van Caenegem and Mary Hiscock

The legal academy is responding in many varied ways to the challenge of producing lawyers adequately prepared to operate in a global environment. There is a renewed focus on lawyering skills, on core principles, on cultural context and on comparative research and study. This work advances the discussion of these issues while developing solid solutions and approaches to teaching law students destined for the future practice of law.

Chapter 9: Doctrine, perspectives and skills for global practice

Simon Chesterman

Subjects: law - academic, comparative law, legal philosophy, legal theory


Legal education has always been influenced by the tension between being an academic pursuit and a professional qualification. Different jurisdictions historically resolved these tensions in their own way, though most tend to hedge: requiring a professional qualification administered by the local guild (a bar exam or a pupillage), as well as a degree, in order to practice law. Only a few allow lawyers to practise with only a degree, as various Latin American jurisdictions do, or with only a professional certification – such as a handful of US statesand, until recently, Japan. How one thinks of the purpose of legal education will naturally have consequences for how one teaches. If law is perceived as primarily vocational training for lawyers, that will tend to encourage practice-oriented classes that focus on issues that may arise in a future career. If law is intended to be an academic discipline and encompass a broader liberal education, this may encourage a more theoretical approach. Few law schools admit to being in the former category, but the efforts of almost all to aspire to the latter have led to grave economic problems in legal education, particularly in the US. The American Bar Association (ABA) accreditation requirements and the pressure to rank highly in the US News & World Report have pushed law schools into behaviour that distorts their activities away from education, raising tuition costs while lowering the quality of what they offer students.

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