Chinese Law Students Expand Their Global Perspectives at UC Davis School of Law
Undergraduate and graduate students from China University of Political Science and Law (CUPL), one of the top law schools in China, will soon complete three weeks studying the U.S. Legal System at UC Davis School of Law. The program, held July 18 through August 6, 2016, is the result of a very special relationship between UC Davis School of Law and CUPL in Beijing.
For the past several years, prominent King Hall faculty have visited CUPL to teach and share legal research and expertise with CUPL's faculty and students. CUPL faculty members and doctoral students have also visited UC Davis School of Law in order to learn more about various aspects of law from an American point of view. King Hall established a student exchange program between the two law schools, and a number of top students from CUPL join the UC Davis academic year LL.M. program each August.
Beth Greenwood, Associate Dean of International Programs, notes that "faculty members at the UC Davis School of Law welcome the opportunity to expand our relationship with China University of Political Science and Law. Our UC Davis law students enjoy meeting Chinese law students from one of the world's most dynamic legal and economic environments."
Forty-six students (including four from Shanghai University of Finance and Economics and two from Capital Normal University) came to UC Davis for this summer's course, along with four group leaders: Professors Yajie Ji, Hongjun Ma, Jiantian Zhang and Shengli Wang. The students visited a county jail, courts in Sacramento, as well as the Diane Boyer-Vine, Legislative Counsel of California, and the California Legislature during their stay. These field trips further broadened their outlook.
Professor Yajie Ji has been aware of the program since it began, but this is her first time actually attending. "It's an excellent opportunity for the students to explore the law beyond China," says Professor Ji. "For me personally, the best part of this program is working with the staff and faculty from Davis. The whole program is really well organized."
Associate Dean Greenwood describes the curriculum in this way: "Students are introduced to the U.S. Constitution and other fundamentals of the common law system. They value the quality of the teaching and cutting edge scholarship that participating King Hall faculty members bring to the classroom presentations. Students also value the opportunity to participate in the Socratic dialogue in their classes." In addition, participants enjoy local culture and travel to Lake Tahoe, the Napa Valley, and San Francisco.
Sixu Yan, a student from CUPL, says the classes are the best part of the program. Ya says, "Even though I took a U.S. law course at home, I now have some new ideas about it. The professors took complex issues and condensed them into half day sessions that were very clear."
Greenwood observes that as China has emerged as a global economic force, its political influence has also grown. "Its legal system is undergoing many changes, and the UC Davis/CUPL program exposes participating students to new perspectives about the U.S. legal system, which helps them to understand and shape their own legal system in this period of transformation," says Greenwood. This rigorous academic program for talented law students is intended to expand those international connections.
Jiaqi Yang is majoring in common law at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics. Yang says, "There is a difference in the way of teaching law in China, so I wanted to see how it is done here." She also notes that law school in the U.S. is very expensive, so this program gives her an experience first to help her decide if she wants to pursue her J.D. "I really enjoy the professors. They talk about real trials and data. I find that very interesting."
"Partnership programs like this one are essential in today's global legal landscape," says Associate Dean Greenwood. "It continues to be our honor and pleasure to collaborate with CUPL, and we look forward to welcoming next summer's group."
For more information about the International Law Programs, please visit law.ucdavis.edu/international or contact Kate Asche at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-757-8569.