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Should Law School Curricula Go Global?

In a guest post at The Volokh Conspiracy, Harvard Law School professor Einer R. Elhauge argues that law schools are failing to confront "the reality that the basic law applicable to much conduct simply is multinational." He explains:

"In today’s global markets, firms face the reality that they are subject to simultaneous legal regulation by many nations. Lawyers face the reality that they must advise clients subject to such multinational regulation. Yet law schools continue to teach and research basic legal subjects from the parochial perspective of whatever nation they are located in."

This makes no more sense, he contends, than if Harvard Law were to offer a curriculum limited to the law of its home state of Massachusetts. Some law schools, Elhauge acknowledges, are introducing first-year courses in international and comparative law. But these courses tend to focus on resolving conflicts in national laws or on providing perspective on U.S. law. This approach "ghettoizes the laws of other nations, treating them as something to consider at the margins outside the basic legal subjects," he says.

As it so happens, Elhauge has just finished co-authoring a casebook on global antitrust law that he  believes is the first casebook to take the approach that the law applicable to a basic legal subject is multinational.

"We put US regulations and cases side by side with the EC regulations and cases that regulate the same conduct on global markets, without suggesting that one of them is more important or necessary to understanding basic antitrust law and that the other is only useful to add perspective. We designed the book to be able to replace parochial books on basic antitrust law and teach antitrust lawyers the global landscape they must face."

This approach, he predicts, will be "the leading edge" of a wave of similar books. Together, "they will transform legal education more than anything else we have seen in the last few decades." While it makes sense to start this global approach to basic law with antitrust law, he adds, "I really should be teaching all my other subjects from a global perspective."

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on May 22, 2007 at 06:10 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

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