The experiential education project in China was a project of USAID and the American People in Partnership with American and Chinese Law Schools.
China embarked on an ambitious program to rebuild its legal system several years ago. It adopted new laws addressing a wide range of modern issues. If the rule of law is to take hold in China, an essential next step is the development of more experiential learning to facilitate the practical application of such newly adopted legal provisions.
Our U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) sponsored program assisted China in creating skills-based legal education programs that focuses on the application of law in practice. A partnership of American and Chinese law schools worked to enhance the capacity of Chinese law schools by providing training in experiential legal education.
After six years, the 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 McGeorge faculty and through bringing Chinese professors to the 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 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.
In June 2012 McGeorge Professors Brian Landsberg and Cary Bricker and Dean Matthew Downs participated in conferences on experiential teaching and a two-week evaluation of the eight participating schools.
The program objectives were successfully met and there is strong evidence that the program results are both sustainable and far reaching, according to the evaluation report. The training was received positively by professors and students are benefitting from the new and popular curricular offerings. 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 has been published.