UK thought leaders join groundbreaking international legal education project

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By Legal Futures

13 January 2011


Susskind: among thought leaders who will help the students

Some of the UK’s leading legal brains – including Professor Richard Susskind and Legal Services Board chief executive Chris Kenny – are teaming up with six law schools in England, the US and China to launch a groundbreaking international legal education project in London this weekend.

LawWithoutWalls claims to be the first global venture designed to tackle the problems facing legal education and practice by bridging law schools, students, legal and business professionals, and entrepreneurs.

It aims to modernise legal education and teach students the practical side of being a 21st century lawyer.

There are 23 students participating in LWOW, from University College London – where the launch is taking place – Peking University School of Transnational law, and US law schools in Miami, Harvard, New York and Fordham.

The students will be split into pairs. Through studying and interacting in weekly virtual classes with academic and practitioner mentors, as well as entrepreneurs and subject experts, they will attempt to solve tough legal education or practice problems. They will also hear from the thought leaders. The students will present their solutions – which could take forms as diverse as computer software, a website or an architectural model – at a conference in April in Miami.

As well as Professor Susskind and Mr Kenny, thought leaders include top UK legal academics John Flood, Avrom Sherr and Dame Hazel Genn; leading US lawyer Selvyn Seidel, who runs UK-listed third-party funder Burford Capital; solicitor Al Giles, London practice leader at innovative US law firm Axiom Legal; Peter Kurer, former chairman and former general counsel at UBS; Carolyn Lamm, a partner at White & Case and immediate past president of the American Bar Association; and Amy Schulman, general counsel at Pfizer.

Patricia White, dean of Miami Law School, where the project was founded, said: “The reason law schools haven’t done it before is because they never had to, but with the technological advances, globalisation, and deregulation, the law schools of today have to change.”

Michelle DeStefano Beardslee, co-founder of LWOW and associate professor of law at Miami Law, said the project is ambitious but necessary. She said: “This is not your grandfather’s law school. This is our vision of tomorrow’s law school. LawWithoutWalls is poised to change the way lawyers are trained, the way lawyers think, and importantly the way lawyers add value in a globalised, digital marketplace where the distinction between law and business is anything but clear.”

For more details on LWOW click here.

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