US, Chinese law schools to deepen collaboration

Updated: 2013-05-23 11:09

By Caroline Berg in New York (China Daily)

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US, Chinese law schools to deepen collaboration

(L-R) Columbia Law School Dean David M. Schizer and Peking University Law School Dean Zhang Shouwen. Provided to China Daily

Columbia Law School Professor Alexandra Carter first visited Beijing in 1996 as a college student. She didn't make it back to the capital city until last week to lecture law students at Peking University.

"The purpose of my visit was not only to give a couple of lectures, but also to explore the opportunity for future collaboration both in [alternative dispute resolution] and in the field of clinical education," Carter said. "Clinical education is a form of learning that's become extremely important at the top law schools here in the US and it's an area that [Peking University] has started and is looking to expand."

Carter spent a week in Beijing thanks to a memorandum of understanding that Columbia Law School Dean David Schizer and Peking University Law School Dean Zhang Shouwen signed earlier this month to expand opportunities in an already existing partnership.

"The idea is to try to create a framework that allows deepening of collaboration between Chinese scholars and American scholars working on common issues," said Benjamin Liebman, Robert L. Lieff professor of law and director of the Center for Chinese Legal Studies at Columbia.

In 2006, Columbia teamed up with Peking University to offer a reciprocal opportunity for students at the New York-based and Beijing-based law schools to participate in semester-long exchanges. In 2011, the exchange program expanded to faculty to provide professors the option to co-teach a course with a colleague at the host institution, lecture on a topic of interest or conduct research.

"There's a long tradition of American scholars studying China and of Chinese scholars studying the West, but there's not a long tradition of American and Chinese scholars working together to pursue common research questions," Liebman said.

The new initiative will enable cooperation in mutually agreed upon areas of research.

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