Message From Director
Welcome to the website of the Program on Bilingual and Comparative Legal Education ("POBACLE") at the Law School of the Central University of Finance and Economics ("CUFE"). CUFE-POBACLE is an ongoing initiative designed to transform legal education in China by 1) moving Chinese legal training beyond abstractions, providing practical training for law students on how law actually functions in China; 2) increasing interaction and collaboration between Chinese law students and law students from all corners of the world; and 3) cultivating future lawyers able to operate across borders, with the highest level of professionalism and entrepreneurialism, yet instilled with a sense of service to community. We endeavor to train lawyers who think globally, work internationally, and serve locally.
CUFE-POBACLE is also proud to offer students the necessary technical skills to represent clients in the quickly changing and quite challenging social, political and economic operating environment that is the Chinese legal system. We do this through innovative course offerings where law students from around the globe study in an international and, where practical, bilingual setting (most POBACLE programs use English as the language of instruction). We invite students from around the globe to join us in a very unique learning environment. Get ready to understand law from a very different perspective.
As Director of CUFE-POBACLE, I am fortunate to lead a team of top notch educators and administrators all committed to transforming Chinese legal education, and all working on the development of four primary programs: 1) The Beijing Autumn Semester in Comparative Business Law (an American Bar Association approved Cooperative Program between CUFE and the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law-USA); 2) The Collaborative Law Student Exchange Program; 3) The Research Center for Government Procurement and Public Construction; and 4) The Law Clinic for Microcredit, Microinsurance and Microsurety (in cooperation with the School of Law and Politics at Shanxi Datong University, about 370 kilometers outside Beijing). Based upon the foundation of these four innovative programs, CUFE-POBACLE is moving towards creating a masters-level law degree program attended by both Chinese students and students from around the world. Again, CUFE-POBACLE is designed to maximize interaction and intellectual discourse among Chinese students and students from many countries; now in an autumn semester program, student exchange and moot court competition, but in the future through clinical training and a graduate degree program. We offer a learning environment that promotes mutual understanding among colleagues from very different backgrounds and very different legal traditions and, importantly, bridges the gap in perspectives and styles between those trained in the civil law tradition and those trained in the common law tradition--critical training for the transnational lawyer of the future. We do this by opening our courses--whether lecture, moot court, or clinic--to a diversity of students from around the world.
For lecture courses, CUFE-POBACLE employs two primary course designs: 1) Lectures on topics of Chinese law that prepare students for the rigors of law practice in China, taught by professors with practical experience in representing clients in China or working on Chinese arbitration panels, and 2) lectures that place Chinese law in comparative perspective, allowing the student to master the nuances of Chinese law in relation to the laws of other countries--a pedagogy unique to CUFE-POBACLE. For example, our Comparative Government Procurement Law course employs case studies from around the globe to draw out the intentions of China's 1999 Tender and Bidding Law and 2002 Government Procurement Law, while simultaneously demonstrating how familiar looking legislative provisions take on unexpected meaning when applied in the Chinese context. This same methodology is applied in CUFE-POBACLE's course on the Law of Credit and Guarantee (U.S. and China). And we are actively designing more courses taught in similar comparative perspective.
CUFE- POBACLE's Business Law Trial Competition takes moot court simulation training to a new level, with mixed-national teams writing legal briefs and making legal arguments on issues of international commercial law. Students must not only master the legal issues in the specific competition, and present them to a panel of international judges, but face the challenges of working with students from very different backgrounds and trained in very different legal traditions. Finally, CUFE-POBACLE's efforts to create a transactional law clinic related to microcredit will ultimately enable our students to not only gain practical experience advising clients on credit transactions, but allow these students to make an important social contribution by serving traditionally disadvantaged populations. Student teams composed of Chinese and non-Chinese students, acting under the guidance of Chinese lawyers, will jointly advise clients.
In total, CUFE-POBACLE provides first-class, innovative law courses for our diverse student body, preparing future lawyers to work globally, while simultaneously creating opportunities for students to use their new skills for the betterment of underserved communities. Such training ensures that our students leave CUFE-POBACLE well-prepared to practice international and commercial law, related to China or otherwise, with the upmost professionalism and a strong sense of community.
Please come and join us.
Daniel J. Mitterhoff, Director