Teaching law or training jurists? A view from Spain

March 23rd, 2016 § 0 comments

by  Josep Ma. de Dios, Professor of Private International Law, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain


The aim of this article is to present my views on how law schools should prepare students for a very dynamic and changing society. I will try to show the importance of providing our students with a ‘legal mentality’, and giving them the appropriate tools for working in a very complex society. And I question legal teaching based solely on the ‘letter of the law’.

I take two approaches in developing my argument. For teaching law, I think we must always start with the national domestic law. I think there is no question about this. But this national law is always changing, and not all legal relationships are ‘local’ relationships, so it is more important for our students to have a very good knowledge of the most important legal institutions, than knowledge of specific laws. The other approach is based on the principle that legal relationships come from human relationships. Scientific and technological progresses, and accessibility to communications and transport, have increased exponentially the number of human relationships connected through different legal systems.{The challenges of globalization in the education fields were advanced by Green in 1999. Andy Green (1999) Education and globalization in Europe and East Asia: convergent and divergent trends, Journal of Educational Policy, 14:1, 55‐71. It is possible too link to this article in http://dx.doi.org/10,1080/0268093993286495} As a result, law schools have to prepare their students for this open society. Therefore, I make some suggestions in this area.

My point of view is influenced by some characteristics of the Spanish legal and university systems, and by my specialty: private international law.

Concerning the Spanish legal system, its influence on this article stems from the fact that in the last thirty years Spain has experienced two main developments: an enormous growth in legislation and a major expansion of international connections, especially as a member of the EU. The influence of the Spanish university system is that most Spanish universities are public, and the best universities in Spain are public. This is the traditional system, financed by public funds and with significant control by public authorities. And I have always worked in public universities. Some of my considerations in this article have to be seen from this point of view.

And concerning my specialty, the influence here is that I consider that we are living in an open world, with hundreds of millions of people often having relationships with different legal systems. But I think that we only have a global society, not global legal relationships.{Even I disagree with Ralf Michaels assertion “if globalization is the main paradigm of our time, then a chapter of globalization and law could also be entitled, simply, the law of our time” because I think globalization is not a legal phenomenon, but a human phenomenon with legal consequences, I absolutely agree with the author when says “A widespread understanding of globalization distinguishes three aspects: economics, culture, politics. Law, in the works, is absent”. Michaels, R., Globalization and Law: Law Beyond the State. Banakor and Travers Editors, Law and Social Theory (2nd ed.) Oxford Hart Publishing, 2013, p. 287.}

All the  human relationships could be incorporated in a legal aspect (characterisation, in private international law terminology), and all the legal relationships could be connected with more than one legal system, but I consider that we don’t really have any ‘global’ human relationships, and that’s why we don’t have any ‘global’ legal relationships.

This work is the result of broad reflections, the reading of a large number of specialised articles on this subject, and formal and informal discussions with different colleagues from different universities, and with friends. It is my first publication in the field of teaching law, perhaps because in Spain it is not a very common subject for research. An invitation from Renmin University to talk about law teaching and globalisation at the congress which they organised with the Universite Paris II Assas in June 2014 was a very good opportunity for presenting and writing about this question, which I have been thinking about for a long time.

I want to especially thank the Law School of the University of Edinburgh where I was accepted for a sabbatical year. In its library I was able to find all the resources that I needed for my research. This document is one of the results of that research period. Thank you to the institution, and thank you to the staff for their kindness and for their time. Thank you too to Professor Gerry Maher for making possible my sabbatical time in Edinburgh, spending his valuable time introducing me to the Scottish private international law system, discussing the teaching of law, enthusiastically suggesting various projects in some of them we are working, and enjoying talking about Barcelona and Celtic football teams. Thank you too to Professor Veronica Ruiz Abou‐Nigm, who has invited me to participate in several seminars and researches where I’m the possibility to improve my knowledge in common law. Finally, thank you to Alan, my Scottish friend, for many hours and litres of coffee that allowed the pursuit of a very difficult task: to improve my English.

1.‐ What to teach

Concerning teaching law, one of the most important questions that I ask myself is how law schools must prepare their students.{Concerning the importance of the research in teaching law, one document to consider is the report “Educating lawyers”, published by the Carnegie Foundation. Educating Lawyers: Preparation for the Profession of Law. William M. Sullivan, Anne Colby, Judith Welch Wegner, Lloyd Bond, Lee S. Shulman. San Francisco: Jossey‐Bass, 2007.} In Spanish legal culture, and probably in European continental legal culture generally, teaching law has traditionally been and still is based on the ‘letter of the law’ or normative teaching4. {Professor Reich writes about the “nationalization” of legal education in Europe. Following his words, “legal education was to be conducted in one language –with remnants of Latin where Roman law was and is still taught‐; in one legal system, namely the national law –with little possibility for specialization in international and comparative law‐ giving exclusive access to the national legal profession, namely as a lawyer”. REICH, N., “Recent trends in European legal education: the place of the European Law Faculties Association”, 21 Peen St. Int’l L. Rev 22 2002‐2003. } The basis of our law studies is very often the literal  letter of the law. Basically, the starting point of legal studies is to introduce students to a legal branch and its interpretation (civil law, criminal law, administrative law …). Starting from legal theories, teaching staff expound the most important fundamentals of this branch of legal knowledge. These explanations are increasingly accompanied by practical examples, and tend to have the support of recommended reading.

The result of this system is that when students are finished their law studies, they have a double basic knowledge. They are able to identify key legal areas in which many legal relationships are involved (administrative law, civil law, commercial law, criminal law …), and their fundamental rules. In addition, all the students know some of the rules regulating the main legal institutions and the main legal relationships of this branch of law (real estate, family law, corporate law, private and public contracts …).

Therefore, one consequence of this system is that it offers students only a partial view of legal knowledge; a very partial view both in terms of legal categories, and in terms of the most substantial content.

In my opinion, this specific training was the right one in a legal context different from the present one. Thinking of the Spanish case, until the ’80s it was a very inward looking country, having few international relationships. And from the legal system point of view, it was a country with a not excessive amount of regulations, and with very well separated legal structures: basically public law and private law. The most important regulations were the civil code of 1889, the commerce law of 1885, the corporate law of 1951, and the procedural law of 1881. In the field of public law, the Spanish legal system was inspired by the French system, and the most important rules were from 1956 {Ley reguladora de la jurisdicción contencioso administrativa de 27 de diciembre de 1956}, 1957 {Ley de régimen jurídico de la Administración del Estado de 26 de Julio de 1957 } and 1958 {Ley de procedimiento administrativo de 11 de Julio de 1958 }. But in general we could describe the  Spanish legal system as a very ‘national’ legal system, with a limited number of regulations and being relatively static. All of those characteristics were obviously a result of the dictatorship governing Spain for forty years.

In this context, and considering the characteristics of the Spanish legal system, teaching from the text and interpretation of the rules was an adequate system for training future lawyers. This method provided a solid legal education and a fairly accurate knowledge of the national legal system. Therefore, and taking into account all of these circumstances, law students were provided with a good legal education. In general, all the students knew the legal system and the specific regulations that were in effect at that time.

However, the present Spanish context, the context of many countries and, in general, the world context, is different. Firstly, one of the very important legal characteristics of our times is the big increase in regulation. This increase is the legal consequence of many different causes: social and economic changes; scientific, technological and communication improvements; and the desire of legislators to offer specific answers to specific questions. And in this context, many legal specialties with lots of different regulations have arisen. The amount of national regulations has increased very much. As a result, nowadays it is impossible to teach all of it. And it is impossible (and unnecessary) not only because of the number of rules, but because those rules are constantly changing.

Moreover, the increasing internationalisation of human relationships has led to an increasing internationalisation of legal relationships.{Concerning the internationalisation of human and legal relationships is very interesting the approach of Simon Chesterman when the author analyses the influences of transportation and communication in the global phenomenon. In this way, the author says “these influences have seen legal education move away from purely local approach and through three broad paradigms, which one might term international, transnational, and now global approaches to legal education”. CHESTERMAN, S. The evolution of legal education: internationalization, Trans nationalization, globalization. 10 German L.J. 877 2009 p. 879. This article has been published too in the Singapore Journal of Legal Studies, 58 July 2008, and in the 13 Thailand Law Journal 58 2010 spring (Issue 1). In those both cases the title of this article is The globalization of legal education.} And this new scenario is accompanied by a large number of international and supranational regulations. Therefore, those heterogeneous legal relationships are not only governed by national rules, and obviously they are not always governed by the lex fori. In many cases they may also be governed by foreign legal systems, by international or supranational regulations, and the national regulations in some cases have been influenced by those international or supranational rules. Even strictly internal (national) legal relationships may be governed by rules having supranational origin. This is the case, for example, of EU rules and their connection with the legal systems of the Member States. {One example of this regulation is the European consumer’s policy. The rules of this policy are applicable in domestic and Trans border cases. The EU Regulation No. 254/2014 of the European Parliament and of the council of 26 February 2014, on a mutual consumer programme for the years 2014‐2020 and repealing Decision No 1926/2006/EC (Official Journal of the European Union of 20/3/2014 L 84/42) establishes “The Union contributes to ensuring a high level of consumer protection and to placing consumers at the heart of the internal market by supporting and complementing Member States’ policies in seeking to ensure that citizens can fully reap the benefits of the internal market and that, in so doing, their safety and legal and economic interests are properly protected by means of concrete actions”. In the globalization context, consumer area is may be one of the most important legal  branches that are concerned by this phenomenon. In this sense Vid. PORTO MACEDO Jr., Ronaldo, Globalization, regulation and consumer Law, Seminario en Latinoamérica de teoría constitucional y política, 2002 Paper n. 7 } So this context is very different from that of some years ago. Our society exists within a constant growth of national and international legal relationships. The constant developments of science, technology and transport, new social requirements, and increasing economic mobility {In an article of 2001, published after his speech in the meeting of the American Bar Association held in London in 2000, the dean of the New York University Law School, John e. Sexton, said, “At the broadest level, we can be certain that over the next century the world will become smaller and increasingly interdependent, we can be sure the law will provide the basis of economic interdependence and the foundation of human rights. The rule of law will permeate an emerging global village touching societies never has touched. SEXTON, J.E., “Out of the Box. Thinking About the Training of Lawyers in the Next Millenium”, 33 U. Tol. Rev. 189 (2001), p. 191.} have allowed a large increase in cross‐border relationships. {Perhaps this is one of the most important legal characteristics of globalization: the relationships between different legal systems, very often belonging to very different legal families. Those connections often lead to difficulties of legal application and /or legal interpretation.} They have also led to the emergence of new legal concepts and new legal situations, and modifications and enlargements of traditional legal relations. {Family law is a good example of these modifications. In this field, even in purely internal relationships, there have been important changes. Some legal systems have introduced new rules on cohabitation, or new rules on forms of marriage. Scientific developments in reproductive techniques have opened important debates in the parental area. And international adoption has increased in recent years.}

Given this scenario, I think we need to adapt the traditional teaching model to the new human and legal relationships. However, under this new model we cannot forget some things. 

  • First, the number of internal legal relationships is higher than the number of legal relationships connected with other legal systems. 
  • Secondly, for working in cross‐border legal relationships, a solid education in national (local) law is essential. 
  • And thirdly, the legal education of our students is the main duty of law schools.

Therefore, in my opinion, and in this context, the aim of law schools should be focused on some specific targets 

  • Providing students with a legal mental structure 
  • Providing future legal professionals with a training that allows them to provide their services combining rigour and complexity 
  • Training students for work in different jurisdictions and with legal relationships connected with different legal systems {Paraphrasing Chesterman: “to operate effectively in such a world, individual lawyers need to be comfortable in multiple jurisdictions, often simultaneously. In the words of one dean, we need to educate lawyers to be residents rather than tourists in new jurisdictions”. Op cit. CHESTERMAN, S., The evolution of legal education…, p. 883. This point of view is very different from the point of view that many years before had the Dean Pound in an article of 1933. Because times, society, economy, technology, science, transport, politics, international relationships, education and even law have changed, solutions hate to be also different, but it is interesting to remember the words of the Dean of Law School of Harvard University when he said “A good legal education in the politically and economically unified America of today must be national. But its national character involves a judicious compromise between the national and the local”. At that time, the Dean was not thinking in international legal connections, and in international legal training. POUND, R., “What is a good legal education?” 19 A.B.A. J. 627 1933.}
  • Providing students with the capacity to constantly adapt their knowledge to new realities and new circumstances.

For the challenges of a global society, legal professionals able to adapt to a constantly changing world are needed. Those professionals have to be trained, from the point of view of legal expertise, for social change in general. Having this education and this legal training, they will be able to respond to the continuing demands of society. Practitioner training cannot be static, even for the provision of purely internal legal relationships.

Considering all these circumstances and characteristics, I suggest that preparing law students to think legally is the primary function of law schools. We must contribute to structuring the minds of our students so that they take a ‘legal view’. They have to be able to identify legal relationships and to submit each one to a legal category. We cannot (and we don’t) give them an answer to every legal issue that arises. We have to train the students to search for and provide a legal response. But within this training it is very important also to educate the students to have a capacity for analysis, for reasoning and for critical thinking. It is vital to provide students with an open mind for adapting legally to human relationships in a changing world.

Therefore, we cannot teach our studies based purely on the ‘letter of the law’, but in the light of the legal relationship, and the diversity of legal relationships, that occur in our society. In this way, we combine our responsibility for teaching legal knowledge with the ability to legally analyse human relationships. We can never abandon the transfer of legal knowledge. We work with broad concepts and basic legal institutions. We analyse their content and their function. In short, we teach working and thinking in law and with law.

2. ‐ Must we continue working on the basis of national law?

Considering the new human and social relationships, and considering the legal effects of globalization, the second major issue is whether we have to teach within a single legal system, or whether we should consider only wider questions. On this point I think the answer has to be that we initially have to teach within the national legal system, because this is the system which has to provide the tools for structuring the legal mind. {Michael Bogdan writes “What role can international, comparative and foreign law play in the education of Law students who do not specialize in transnational matters? Students desiring such specialization should, of course, be offered the widest possible array of optional courses on public and private international law, … The only limitation that must be imposed on such specialization is that a fundamental knowledge of their own legal system is one of the necessary prerequisites for understanding and being able to deal with transnational legal problems”. BOGDAN, M. Is there a curricular core for the transnational lawyer? 53 J. Legal Educ., 484 2005. In the same sense, Raymond J. Friel says “The fundamental base is the study of a relevant national legal system. This study offers the skills and discipline required in the study of law, and this national training is the foundation upon which to build new. The transnational lawyer must have basic core education necessary to provide sufficient academics skills need to match national professional requirements”. FRIEL, R.J., “Special methods for educating the transnational lawyer”, 55, J. Legal Educ. 508. And Roger Burridge, within his six propositions for legal education includes “the study of the significance of law and lawyers in national and international governance”, BURRIDGE, R., “Six propositions for legal education in local and global development”, 53 J. Legal Educ. 488 2005.} 

However, starting from this principle, it is necessary to take some precautions. We teach within the national legal system for different reasons.

  1. Firstly, because it is the most familiar and the best known both by teaching staff and by students. Most students were born and have grown up in the society of this legal system. So it is easier to build the required mental structure using their own legal system.
  2. Secondly, because their own legal system is the law under which most of the students will practise. {See op. cit. CHESTERMAN, S., “The evolution of legal education…”, p. 886.}
  3. Thirdly, because working in law is the way to learn law. In this case their own legal system is the best tool for organising their legal mental structure. But having said that, law schools have responsibility for preparing students beyond specific content. They must understand that:
  • Even within the domestic legal system, there are many more legal relationships than those that have been taught.
  • The material content of legal institutions is subject to constant change.
  • The number of legal specialties is large and growing. Students in law schools don’t know all the specialties, and they don’t know all the branches of law. They are just introduced to some of them, the most important of the legal system. This growth of legal branches is the result of the complexity of society.
  • There are many and diverse legal systems, legal system families and legal system groups. And these legal systems and families of legal systems are intertwined because of human relationships.
  • They must be ready to work within multisystemic legal relationships. That is, beyond that this occurs in a single legal system.

In this context, there are many important subjects to be taught, but as examples, I think there are two that could be particularly relevant and very useful in this structural training: the sources of law, and comparative legal systems.

Both issues are very useful both in domestic legal relationships and in global legal relationships. In both cases a very good knowledge of the sources of law provides every lawyer with useful tools for working within a legal system. But in both cases it is also very important to have a basic knowledge of legal system families. Globalization has increased the internationalisation of legal relationships, making them an everyday occurrence. Without realising it, hundreds of millions of people daily form hundreds of millions of legal relations connected with different legal systems belonging to different legal system families. It is possible to justify the importance of both issues with the following arguments.

Concerning the sources of law, this is a very important topic for several reasons. Firstly, because it explains the origins of a regulatory legal system and a hierarchy of regulatory relations. But ‘sources’ also includes the diversity of sources of law (we have sources of internal origin, sources from regional integration, and international sources). Moreover, the study of sources of law can show the relationships between regulations of different origins, and their influence on each other. {While in most cases the influence comes from international or regional regulations, we cannot forget that in many cases national rules, national legal institutions or legal categories from national legal systems spread their influence to the regional or international regulations.} And in this regard it is important to have a place for soft law, {Robert Wai in a very interesting article emphasizes about the importance of the growth of lex mercatoria as a delocalized private law based on the customs of international trade, and other forms of non‐traditional rules in the regulation of transnational business conduct and dispute‐resolution. WAI, R., “Transnational lift‐off and juridical touchdown: the regulatory function of private international law in an era of globalization”, 40 Coulm. J. Trnasnat’l L. 209, 2001‐2001.} because of its influence on legal relations. {Hwa‐Jin Kim, “Taking international soft law seriously: its implication for global convergence in corporate governance”, Journal of Korean Law, vol 1, Num. 1, 2001, p. 3 } Through this topic we can show students the complexity of legal systems and introduce them to the range of possible solutions to a variety of cases, so that they become aware of how there can be harmonised or standardised answers to some questions. Having a good awareness of sources of law, legal professionals will be more able to handle the complexity of today’s legal relationships, whether those relationships are national or connected with different legal systems.

The other subject that I consider having special importance for building the basis of a legal mental structure is comparative legal systems {Concerning this comparative legal systems see DEDEK, H., and DE MESTRAL, A. “Born to be wild: The Trans‐systemic programme at McGill and the De‐Nationalization of Legal Studies”, 10 German L.J. 889 2009. See also AHMAD, A., “Educating lawyers for transnational challenges: The challenge of Islamic law”, 53 J. Legal Educ. 475 2005.} (which is different from comparative law). Knowledge of world legal system families is a very appropriate tool with which to equip students in the current legal situation. Globalisation is a phenomenon allowing connections between people from very different origins, residing in distant places, and even having no awareness that those connections are the basis of an international relationship, or of their legal consequences. As a result of this phenomenon, legal relationships between different legal systems are very normal, quite everyday, even between legal systems belonging to very different legal system families. All lawyers have to be aware of this situation, and all of them must at least know what the legal families are, and under which principles they are governed. This knowledge will allow them to approach an understanding of the legal relations occurring in each of these areas.

Here I have only touched on two possible subjects that I think would be useful in providing the mental basis to work legally in a world with global human and legal relationships.

But, as I have mentioned before, law studies have not only to provide system tools. A solid knowledge of legal institutions is required. Although it is impossible to teach and to learn all the details of all the subjects, it is very important to know the basis of the main legal institutions, because legal relationships always have connections with different legal branches. This is where the national or internal legal system is essential. In this sense, national legal systems provide the legal knowledge and the legal training for meeting the challenges of today’s society. This legal system provides future lawyers with a legal mental structure, tools and special abilities for working legally, and a good introduction to their local legal institutions.

This teaching and this knowledge has to provide a solid training in law to future legal professionals. This training has to give them access to other regulations and to other legal  institutions. Because there is a very close link between a society and its legal system, this first introduction to their own law should be easier and more fruitful for students training. This does not mean that a student cannot study law at a university in a different country than the one where they reside. But in this case the student will receive their training in the legal system of the country of the university.

All of this does not mean, of course, that private and public international law, and international or regional regulations, should not be taught and learned. All of these topics should be basic training for every legal professional today.

3.‐ How to prepare future legal professionals for work amongst a plurality of legal systems.

In law schools, at degree level, as I have said above, we should prepare students for working in law in general, and we should prepare them through study of their domestic legal system or the national system of the university they attend. We cannot hope to train students for work in every legal system. {Usually, universities in countries within multiple legal jurisdictions will train their students in these. But this is a different case, because it is still just a form of ‘national’ legal system training. I’m thinking here of students gaining knowledge of foreign legal systems, not of the legal systems of their own country.} However we can train them to be specially prepared to have an understanding of more than one legal system. But this preparation will not only give them an understanding of more than one legal system, it will also give them the tools to work within legal relationships born from globalisation.

In order to achieve this preparation, law schools can utilise different methods. I list them below from most to least intensive. This is not a complete list, but only some examples of how law schools working together are constructing or can construct an improved legal education for our students. {Concerning some of this possibilities see WHITE, J.P., (2007), “A Look at Legal Education: the Globalization of American Legal Education”, Indiana Law Journal, vol 82: Iss5, article 11}

  1. To organize double degrees in law. This is already not unusual. It arises from agreements between universities in different countries under which law students complete part of their degree at the law schools of each of the partner universities. When they complete the required credits, students receive two law degrees, one from each of the participating universities. This means that these students will have the same legal knowledge and the same legal competence as graduates from each of the countries. These agreements are based on good links between the courses of study and reciprocal recognition of course credits at each university. Students prepared in this way are very much appreciated for their broad legal knowledge, and their multicultural and linguistic abilities. The Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, for example, has a double degree in Law with the University of Toulouse, and another with University Paris II Pantheon‐Assas.{For several examples see op cit. CHESTERMAN, S., “The evolution of legal education …”, p. 884 and 885. 23 I think students have to be free to decide to study different subjects. But they have to be informed that these subjects may not be recognised in their home university.}
  2. To organize double master degrees. The aim of this system is to offer two or three strongly coordinated masters, between two or three universities in different countries. As in the previous case (double degrees in law), the basis of these agreements are the reciprocal recognition of course credits. Under these programs, students again receive part of their legal training in each university. And when they have finished all the courses and obtained all the credits needed, they receive two or three master titles. Within this arrangement there are several possibilities. Double masters can be organized over one academic year, with students spending one semester in each university party to the agreement. Or it is possible to organize double or triple masters over a longer period (usually no more than two academic years, even in the case of a triple master). Concerning the subjects of these masters, they can be in the same subject, or in different, but complementary, subjects. In the first case it is vital to have a very well coordinated program. The law school of the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona offers two double masters: one with the Universite de Toulouse, and another with Renmin University.
  3. Exchanges of undergraduates. Perhaps the most well‐known student exchange scheme is the Erasmus program, in the EU context. But I think we need a larger concept of exchange, and there should be global student exchange. It may be difficult for law schools to provide this globalism, but I think it is important to offer students destinations in different areas of the world, and thus offer students destinations for learning within different legal families. The present system is usually standard: there is previous agreement between the universities, students exchange for one or two semesters, and there is recognition in the university of origin of the credits completed in the destination university. For this system we have different academic possibilities: to organise a fixed academic program for students, or to allow them to choose the subjects that they want to study from a limited list (basically because credits have to be recognised in the home university)23.{} In my opinion, in terms of students’ knowledge and training, a longer stay (two semesters) is the best solution. It allows students to acquire a broader and deeper knowledge of the legal system and of the society and culture of the destination country. And from the academic point of view I think a fixed program is a better solution, because it may offer a more orderly selection of subjects for preparing foreign students well in the basis of the legal system of the country of the destination university. And this university can issue a certificate detailing this special introduction to their national legal system. This is important for students, because they do not have a double degree, but they can prove their special abilities in a foreign legal system.
  4. In my opinion these are some of the most important schemes for students’ legal training in the special abilities needed for working in global relationships. But in law schools we have to think of all of our students. It is likely that not all of them could take part in one of these possibilities. But this does not mean that some of them would not have an interest in this foreign knowledge. To include as many students as possible in this special training, we may organise two other extra activities: summer courses and seminars. Summer courses may allow the exchange of teaching staff, the exchange of students, or both. Seminars are more appropriate for the exchange of teaching staff over a shorter time scale, and they could be very useful for students, because while remaining in their home university they are introduced to foreign legal systems. These may not be the best solutions, but there are shorter and cheaper than others.

All of these different possibilities (and many others that could exist) have a point in common: the students’ mobility {Although technology offers different possibilities for approaching students to study and attend courses of other legal systems, in my opinion the best way for this training in foreign law is the mobility of students. Living in the society and in the culture of the legal order they could be able to understand better all the questions concerning this specific legal order. Living in this host country, they have the opportunity to improve too different language, different culture, different system of legal training and legal learning, and different system of legal practice. As Professors Faulconbridge and Muzio said, “the role of education in professionalization process is clearly affected by geographical considerations and in particular by the peculiar characteristics of the country in question. However, the internationalisation of personal activity may put increasing pressure on the once exclusive link between national jurisdictions and professional education systems and spur the development of international educational programmes and establishments, wits important implications for professional projects”, FAULCONBRIDGE, J.R., & MUZIO, D., “Legal education, globalization and cultures of professional practice”, 22 Geo. J. Legal Ethics 1343 2009. But, obviously, technology could be a good tool for this huge legal education training; see DALY, M.C., “The structure of legal education and the legal profession, multidisciplinary practice, competition and globalization”, 52, J. Legal Educ. 480 2002.} and introduction to different and foreign legal systems. And this is the point that I think is very important in their training to face the legal challenges of globalization. Being conscious of divergence and of diversity, they are more open to working in a global society (even if they work only within their own national law) and finding the best solution for each human, and therefore legal, relationship. They will have legally, academically and personally grown out of their shell.

4.‐ Academic strategies for making multisystemic legal training possible.

In my considerations, I have tried to show how there is a very close connection between a domestic legal system and the social, cultural and historical characteristics of the country. And all of those circumstances make exchanges appropriate. For this training I prefer student exchanges, but clearly exchanges of teaching staff are very important too. In any case, to provide these abilities for future legal professionals from universities, I am thinking of two approaches: exchanges and training in different legal systems.

In fact, this choice and the decision to provide this special training is a school choice. But it is a choice that does not allow any law school to work by itself. Good and close cooperation, mutual trust and quality work commitment between school partners are required. That is why I think this strategy requires different responsibilities from different people and from different institutions. But in this section I want to focus my attention on the schools’ responsibilities. And one of the major responsibilities that they should take on is to work together. We have to cross the borders of our countries more than we do. We should increase our cooperation in legal research, but also in students’, researchers’ and administrative staff’s exchange. {In this sense, I think that all the university members have to be involved in this mutual cooperation. That is why I think administrative staff exchange is very important too, because they would have more knowledge of this process, and they would be more aware of this training and of their responsibilities in the administration of this special process. And they would be able to give better advice to students.} All the people involved in the goals of the university have to be involved in this cross‐border relationship. We cannot prepare students of law for globalisation, and not be global ourselves.

This means that law schools have to work closely, even when we are physically or legally distant. Our responsibility is to organise high quality and well‐coordinated academic programs for our students. That is why I think cooperation should be something very normal, more than an addition or something special in the school’s academic responsibilities. We have to work together in many ways: organising joint legal training programs, exchanging information, creating and consolidating areas of joint discussion and sharing concerns, initiatives and achievements. Working in this way we can achieve another target: the widening of global exchange of legal professionals. Because the tool for legal work is the law, and the law is often seen as something ‘local’ or national, there is less exchange within the legal profession than within other professions. If we organise this different system of legal training, we will be able to contribute to the increasing exchange of workers in the legal field. With this exchange we can also contribute to better application and better interpretation of any national legal system beyond the borders where it originated, and thus we can also contribute to improving legal confidence in relation to global relationships.{Anne Griffiths says “the position of professionals in the business or legal sphere who may draw selectively on the laws of multiple jurisdictions to create transnational legal constructs designed to undermine public interest to meet their business clients’ needs in ways that may subvert national regulations. GRIFFITHS, A., “Reviewing Legal Pluralism”, Law and Social Theory, Bankor & Travers Editors, Oxford, Hart Publishing 2013, p. 269 I ss., p. 271. In the same opinion vid. DEZALAY, Y, and GARTH, B.G., Lawyers and the Construction of Transnational Justice: Law Development and Globalization, Routledge, London 2012 }

5.‐ Who is involved in the training of legal professionals for global relations?

I think the responsibility for the training of legal professionals has to be shared between different institutions, and between different social entities. Obviously, each of these agencies has different responsibilities, depending on their functions and their competences. But many people have to have an active involvement in this training. In my view, and considering particularly the characteristics of Spanish university regulation, I identify six possible entities or groups involved:

  1. Governments. They are responsible for the university system, and therefore for university studies. Where the university system is basically public, and with a large amount of administrative control, governments have the ultimate responsibility for these studies. And they have to contribute with the power they have to guarantee the quality and adequacy of courses.
  2. Universities. They are responsible for learning at the highest level, and they are entrusted with the subject knowledge and the introduction of students to that knowledge. They have the responsibility to offer and to guarantee adequate study programs and quality education. And they have to prepare students to confront and respond to current and future demands and expectations of society.
  3. Law schools. We are directly responsible for training law students. We have to put forward and to teach quality academic programs, providing our students with all the tools that they might need to work in a global and fast changing society.
  4. Teaching staff. Teaching staff are the personnel responsible for legal education. Our work and our words are very influential in preparing future legal professionals. All of us have to be seriously involved in our goal. Depth and quality of subject knowledge, rigour and clarity, as well as human qualities of concern and generosity of spirit, have to be some of the most important characteristics of people training law students. We have to be conscious that we are preparing lawyers who will have the responsibility of handling the most complex human and legal relationships that may ever have existed.
  5. Students. They have to learn, and they have to be aware of the relevant social, human and legal responsibilities that a legal professional has. They have to be motivated to contribute energetically to their own training.
  6. Society. I refer not only to legal professionals, who should contribute towards helping and advising newly qualified lawyers, but also to economic and social agencies which are able to contribute to this training of excellence in law.

But to achieve these commitments, to achieve these goals, and to establish this special training, funds (both public and private) are needed. It is vital that there is an extensive system of grants supporting exchange. All the people and all the institutions involved in this goal have to be conscious of the importance of training legal professionals for these new social requirements, and for future requirements.


  1. The responsibility of law schools for training future legal professionals as well as they possibly can means equipping these students to deal with legal relationships arising from globalisation. To be useful to current and future society, law schools have to provide, and students have to acquire, tools and strategies for responding to the legal challenges posed by changing human relationships and scientific and technological innovations. We have to prepare our students to work in law within a very dynamic and changing world in every area. These characteristics of dynamism and change make it vital to have a legal education system specially thought out to give students specific tools for structuring their legal mentality in a constantly changing environment.
  2. These changes have an impact on legal relationships, domestic legal systems and regulations coming from supranational bodies, but they have a very important impact on global relationships. Therefore, we have to prepare our students to be confident in facing legal problems arising from human relationships connected with different legal systems. The number of these relationships is constantly increasing due to scientific and technological advances; and ease of communication and their associated legal problems have grown and are growing constantly too. Legal professionals have to be ready to deal with all of these ongoing situations. Law schools have special responsibility to achieve this.
  3. Providing law students with the tools to deal with legal relationships arising from globalism does not mean sacrificing the teaching of the law of their domestic university legal system. This legal system has to be the basis for preparing to study law, for giving students a legal mental structure, and for understanding and acquiring the tools for legal work. But students should not identify ‘law’ with domestic law, nor with the law learned at a specific time. Therefore, training students in different legal models is important, and to do this it is vital to promote exchange.
  4. One of the possible academic ways to prepare students for legal change in general, and for new social requirements and challenges, is to train them in more than one legal system. This pluralistic training serves to prevent them identifying ‘law’ with their domestic legal system, and to better understand the diversity and multiplicity of legal systems and legal relationships. On this point, exchange is a very powerful instrument. The close link between a legal system and its society allows students a better understanding of human relationships and legal relationships arising in a society, and to see the connections between society and legal systems. This type of training has several advantages: students are ready to work in more than one legal system; students experience different learning modalities and different ways of teaching law; students are introduced to different legal institutions and structures; and students’ minds are opened to global relationships.
  5. This complex legal teaching system perhaps cannot be offered by all universities, but at least some of them must take responsibility for preparing students for such legal relationships. To offer this special training, universities and law schools need to work in close cooperation, and establishing means of regular communication is very important. Retaining their own personality and their own characteristics, but working closely together, law schools will be able to offer better training for legal professionals in a global society.

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