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June 15, 2014

Prof. Carole Silver on international legal education

by Dan Rodriguez

NU Prof. Carole Silver, a leading expert on the global dimensions of legal curriculum, describes succinctly a presentation she recently gave at a major conference on this topic in San Diego, California:

“The idea is that all lawyers need to learn how to work in a global environment, but not everyone is able to learn this through an overseas immersion experience. A second best approach is to create a global learning environment at home, and law schools can do this by offering opportunities for domestic and international students to interact in meaningful ways. Meaningful interaction does not automatically follow from presence on campus or in the building (or even in the same classes). Rather, according to a theory developed by Gordon Allport, it requires a particular framework involving equal status among groups, common goals, intergroup cooperation and the support of authorities. In the law school context there are a number of obvious challenges to this framework, some related to ABA accreditation/acquiescence standards and US News (slide 14). It is possible, of course, that law schools are different than other contexts and that bringing international students into the building is sufficient to create the sort of interaction that provides opportunities for learning – to that end, I draw on data from LSSSE showing the extent of interaction that JD students report having with international graduate students in their law schools. This is quite low (see slides 8-13, pp. 479-486). The last part of the article addresses ways in which law schools will differ in their approaches to trying to generate global learning environments because of differences in their international student populations.”

For more on this topic, see Carole Silver, “Getting Real about Globalization and Legal Education: Potential Perspectives for the U.S.” XXIV Stanford Law & Policy Review 457-502 (2013).

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