The Value of International Students in Law School

27 de agosto de 2017

“Our world continues to become more global”.  ”We live in a global world”.  ”Globalization is an undeniable reality”.

Considering the far-reaching effects of technology and its ability to shrink the globe, law schools need to prepare students not just for the “real world” but for the “globalized world”.

What does this mean?

It means law schools ought to consider the value of internationalizing schools.  It means law schools need to find a way to expose us to different cultures and languages and people so that we do not end up being completely ignorant and offensive ethnocentric neophytes when we meet a lawyer from another country who speaks five languages, knows more about our laws than we do, and not only has seen the latest Hollywood blockbuster but has seen it at an Imax in China.

Students need to know how to work with individuals from different nations and backgrounds.  Period.

What can law schools do to help prepare us for the “globalized world”?

Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Encourage and set up more study abroad programs
  2. Better integrate international students into the general student population
  3. Develop programs allowing for more international students to attend LLM programs at our schools

How might these reforms help?

STUDY ABROAD

Study abroad programs allow students to take a step outside of their comfort zone, open their minds to different legal systems, and gain international experience, which will allow them to be better prepared to work in the “real world” aka the “globalized world.

FULLY INTEGRATE INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS INTO OUR SCHOOLS

International students offer a way for law schools to globalize internally.  Only problem, as found by a recent LSSSE report, is that international students often become excluded from the general student population:  “The absence of interaction between JDs and IGLSs in many settings is pervasive. Among all JDs, regardless of their year in school, more than half reported never interacting with an IGLS in five of the seven settings we addressed, including outside of class for the purpose of studying informally or completing a class assignment.” (14)

It’s time law schools provide programs in and out of the classroom that encourage the general student body to interact on a regular basis with international students.  Conversations with international students should go beyond just “how do you like studying here?”

LLM PROGRAMS FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS

Developing LLM programs for international students not only allows for greater “law school globalization”, but if used wisely, could provide funds to our schools (that we must hope and pray would be used for the benefit of, well, us).

So, let’s say law schools are used to fund other parts of our universities, especially during these tight times.  Let’s say, we are cash cows “for the good of our loving and familial university community”.  Well, call me selfish if you like, but when I pay tuition, I want it spent on me, and if it isn’t spent on me, at least it should be spent on you.  But, well, let’s say we can’t do much about this merry-go-round of university money passing hands, then, let’s get back to LLM programs for international students.

Here’s a thought.

Let’s get global and also get some gobs of global money.  If we law students and law schools are going to be funding other parts of the University, I say, let’s have some good, rich LLM students attend at a higher rate and put that into nice scholarship funds for incoming JDs.

 

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