USAID Initiative to Educate Law Professors in China Wraps Up Well
After six years, the Pacific McGeorge and US Agency for International Development (USAID) Rule of Law program in China came to a close in July 2012. The total grant funding amounted to over $2.3 million throughout the successful pioneering program's duration. The partnership of American and Chinese law schools working to enhance the capacity of Chinese law schools by providing training in experiential legal education was led by Brian Landsberg, Distinguished Professor of Law.
Initially the program trained Chinese law professors from three different universities how to teach both advocacy and clinical legal skills. This was done both through periodic practical skills workshops given in China by Pacific McGeorge faculty and through bringing Chinese professors to the Pacific McGeorge campus to earn a Masters in Laws degree in Experiential Teaching.
Chinese professors who were the students in the initial phase became trainers themselves teaching alongside professors from Pacific McGeorge during the later phases of the program. In 2010, the training program expanded to five new Chinese law schools, and through the Committee of Chinese Clinical Educators (CCCLE) over 140 additional members schools came into contact with the program curricular materials and effective practice books.
This June Pacific McGeorge Professors Brian Landsberg and Cary Bricker and Dean Matthew Downs participated in conferences on experiential teaching at China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing, at Zhejiang Gongshang University School of Law in Hangzhou, and at Huazhong University of Science and Technology School of Law in with Wuhan. The conferences featured demonstrations and discussions on experiential legal education from the program's recently published series on teaching experiential legal education in Chinese law schools. The series includes three books:
- EFFECTIVE PRACTICES OF EXPERIENTIAL LEGAL EDUCATION
- HANDBOOK FOR TEACHING EXPERIENTIAL LEGAL EDUCATION, and
- SKILLS TRAINING HANDBOOK FOR EXPERIENTIAL TEACHING IN DOCTRINAL LAW COURSES.
The program concluded with a two-week evaluation of the eight participating schools. The evaluation found that the program objectives were successfully met and there is strong evidence that the program results are both sustainable and far reaching. Moreover, the training was received positively by professors, and students are benefitting from the new and popular curricular offerings. Finally, the publication of the three books of curricular material and effective Chinese legal education practices leaves an important tool to assist in the further development of clinical programs and pervasive advocacy courses at Chinese Law Schools. The Final Report of the program is available online.