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Law deans convene at NUS for inaugural forum

1 Oct 2013



Prof Chesterman delivering his welcoming address



(From left) Prof Braconnier, Prof Magade, Prof Holden-Smith, Prof Aishah and Prof Klonoff at the inaugural forum
Graduates need to know what the law is, but also why it is the way it is, and how to serve the interests of their clients while also upholding the rule of law. Professor Simon Chesterman, Dean of the NUS Faculty of Law, said this at the inaugural Global Law Deans’ Forum held from 26 to 27 September 2013 at NUS Bukit Timah Campus.

“A legal education must aspire to do far more than teach a student ‘the law’. Though there is, of necessity, a certain body of doctrinal knowledge that must be imparted, we would not be doing our job if we did not equip our graduates with skills that will last them a lifetime,” noted Prof Chesterman. This was in the context of globalisation as well as the nature and purpose of modern legal education.

Organised by the NUS Faculty of Law and the International Association of Law Schools, the Forum provided a platform for law leaders to meet and share experiences. More than 80 law school leaders gathered at the event to explore the commonalities and standards for legal education globally.

Delivering his welcome address, Professor Francis S. L. Wang, President of the International Association of Law Schools, said: “We teach so that there is stability, so that we can live in peace, because we are putting forth a harmonised cultural perspective that binds us all together – all seven billion people on this earth. That’s our obligation as teachers of the law.” Prof Wang is also Dean Emeritus at the Kenneth Wang School of Law at Soochow University, China.

In an ensuing panel discussion on law school leadership in the 21st century, the challenges and opportunities facing law schools were examined. The discourse encompassed the views of various regions through presentations from Professor Stephane Braconnier, Dean of Sorbonne Assas International Law School, France and Singapore; Professor Emmanuel Magade, Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Zimbawe; Professor Aishah Bidin, Dean of the Faculty of Law, National University of Malaysia; and Professor Robert Klonoff, Dean of the Lewis & Clark Law School, US. The session was moderated by Professor Barbara Holden-Smith, Vice Dean of Cornell Law School.

During the two-day event, other issues deliberated included global legal education and its standards and outcomes, as well as the resources for institutional advancement.


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