What Should We Expect From Legal Education In The Era of Globalization

Globalization the process by which businesses or other organizations start operating on an international scale and develop international influence. By accelerating exponentially during the last decades, it has been involving massive movements of people, products, services, and capital.

Main global risks brought by globalization: 

  1. Global environmental risks.
  2. Income and wealth disparity 
  3. Populisms and nationalisms
  4. Weakening of mechanisms of global cooperation among countries.
  5. Technological disruption

Even though these risks cannot reverse globalization, they can shape it in various ways. 

At the same time, globalization generates opportunities that call for institutions, norms, and processes. Law schools, among others, also realize the need to innovate at a systemic level. The key reason why innovation is so important is that modern legal education models were originally developed to train legal professionals for the industrial revolution of the XIX century and not the technological revolution of the XXI century. 

In order to practice law in a specific jurisdiction, that law schools are closely tied up with, (at the very least convenient) future legal industry workers need to survive and graduate from a law school, find best BAR prep to prepare for the bar exam, and then undergo an internship within that jurisdiction.

Law schools nowadays fail to produce “practice-ready” law graduates, passing this task to employers that are forced to spend time and resources in order to train recent graduates. The law school management of course is aware of this problem, and some efforts are being reacted, and the majority are struggling to liquidate this issue, even though it’s clear that this process will take decades, and no one knows what new problems legal education will have to deal with in the future. 

Strategies for enacting innovative change in legal education at a systemic level

Most of these observations outlined below could be implemented at a relatively low cost, still requiring law school leaders and administrators to have a strong innovation spirit. And better if it will happen at the global level.

  • Active learning methodologies – project-based learning is particularly suitable for this, allowing students to take control of their own learning in small groups.
  • Developing soft skills – by forming multicultural classrooms, soft skills develop smoothly and seamlessly. 
  • Promote research on global and comparative law  – high quality, and multidisciplinary. 
  • Strategic cooperation and agreements with law schools in other countries – to maximize student´s exposure to different legal systems and legal traditions.
  • Strategic cooperation and agreements with other schools from all over the world, particularly noon-law, like political sciences, philosophy, economics, etc. 
  • Promote cooperation between students-entrepreneurs – by creating or collaborating with venture labs, incubators, and accelerators. 
  • Promote cooperation, on the other hand, with law firms, and corporations will help the curriculum remain relevant and students tuned to legal practice. 

Final thoughts 

Law schools need to accept responsibility for constantly offering professionals the opportunities to adapt their knowledge and skills to the rapidly changing conditions and factors of the legal world. But is achieving all this even thinkable? Many experts believe that 4 – 5 years is enough to place strong foundations on which students will later build upon.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.