|Abstract as per original application
This project is concerned with evaluating the modern legal education reforms undertaken by three East Asian countries—Japan, Korea and China—meant to improve their legal professions by emphasizing postgraduate legal education. A generally strong consensus exists today that legal institutions are crucial to economic and political development. For lawyers, legal education serves as a foundational element in their training and orientation, and thus it has become common globally for reforming legal education to be seen as an effective policy response to reshaping national legal professions.
In Korea, reform was absolute—undergraduate law programs were eliminated in favor of postgraduate law degrees. In Japan, reform was mixed—postgraduate law programs now co-exist with undergraduate faculties. In China, reform was milder—postgraduate programs were introduced while most lawyers still pursued undergraduate degrees. Reform outcomes have been hotly contested, leaving reformers unsatisfied, lawyers facing new anxieties, and further reform efforts stymied.
The project will be the first to move beyond evaluating reform outcomes to explaining how postgraduate legal education initially came to be seen as a common regional solution. The project’s hypothesis is that transnational communication between domestic reformers and international policy entrepreneurs produced distorted understandings of such reforms' potential impact influenced by stylized views of the American postgraduate model—now undergoing an existential crisis casting doubt on its use as a model for reform.
This project will provide an interdisciplinary, comparative study using a novel focus on the formation of reform agendas by key domestic reform constituencies. It will cross-reference extant international studies with native language scholarship often neglected by foreign researchers. Field visits to law schools to gather interview data will augment this synthesis by documenting how views regarding postgraduate legal education’s potential for change were formed, mapping the transnational legal networks which shaped these views, and revealing how they have been affected by reform frustrations. This research will ground regional comparison between all three countries, further comparisons across East and Southeast Asia, and integrate these experiences into international debates about legal education reform.
Understanding distortions in transnational legal communication will enable the formulation of recommendations for improving international legal collaboration, provide specific calibrations for these three national legal education reforms projects, and challenge existing presumptions in the wider scholarship. Furthermore, the one book chapter, three articles, and edited volume produced by the project will show how these reform efforts speak to larger and ever more pressing global debates over the role of lawyers in political change and economic globalization.
该项目涉及评估三个东亚国家, 日本、韩国和中国, 进行的现代法律教育改革，旨在通过强调研究生法律教育来改善他们的法律专业。今天普遍存在强烈共识，即法律制度对经济和政治发展至关重要。对于律师而言，法律教育是其培训和定位的基础要素，因此将法律教育改革视为重塑国家法律职业的有效政策反应已成为全球普遍现象。
在韩国，改革是绝对的, 取消了法学本科课程，取而代之的是法学研究生学位。在日本，改革是混合的, 法学研究生课程现在与本科院系共存。在中国，改革较为温和, 引入了研究生课程，而大多数律师仍在攻读本科学位。改革成果众说纷纭，改革者不满，律师面临新焦虑，进一步改革受阻。
该项目将是第一个超越评估改革成果，解释研究生法律教育最初如何被视为共同区域解决方案的项目。该项目的假设是，国内改革者和国际政策企业家之间的跨国交流对此类改革的潜在影响产生了扭曲的理解，这种理解受到美国研究生模式风格化观点的影响, 现在正经历着一场生存危机, 人们对其作为改革模式的使用产生了怀疑。
了解跨国法律交流中的扭曲将使 PI 提出改善国际法律合作的建议, 为这三个国家法律教育改革项目提供具体校准，并挑战更广泛学术界的现有假设。此外，该项目制作的一本书一章、三篇文章和编辑过的卷将展示这些改革努力如何与关于律师在政治变革和经济全球化中的作用的更广泛、更紧迫的全球辩论相联系。