An International Look at Law
The American law school curriculum is designed to prepare students for practicing law in the United States, so it could be tempting for educators to focus entirely on the American system. But the practice of law is intricately bound to the realities of globalization, and the Duquesne University School of Law has championed that global view for students.
Their 3-and-a-half week elective course in China at the end of May is an ambitious multi-city look at law issues in a comparative context. In 2017, Jacob Rooksby and Steven Baicker-McKee led courses in energy and environmental law and international property law, with additional coursework in Chinese legal history and law. With visits to Chinese universities, law firms, and cultural sites, these comparative courses gives students the chance to understand the American system as it compares to one of the world’s most important and powerful nations. “China is where everything is today. For us not to be in China is a disservice to our students,” explains Jacob Rooksby, Associate Dean/Professor.
During their time in China, students commonly take classes taught at Duquesne’s partner universities in China. The on-campus components are each taught by one of the two professors associated with the course, with a third professor acting as adviser and teacher of Chinese history and culture.
Of course, what would a visit to China be without a Great Wall sighting or a look at the Terracotta soldiers of Xian? The group augments the coursework with cultural excursions and academic visits that provided opportunities for students to reflect on their classroom learning.
The unique mix of guest lectures, excursions, co-curricular programming, and multi-city travel logistics required a careful partnership between Duquesne and WorldStrides to identify the areas where WorldStrides’ services best fit the needs of the program. Duquesne’s Associate Dean, Jacob Rooksby, credits this partnership with making their international programming possible. “Planning this is simply too heavy a lift for our faculty,” he explained. “This allows us to teach.”