STL is the only law school in the world that combines an American-style Juris Doctor degree (J.D.) with a China law Juris Master degree (J.M.). STL provides an academically rigorous, bilingual four-year program of legal education that prepares students for the mixture of common law, civil law, and Chinese legal traditions increasingly characteristic of the global economy.
Although STL is still young, with only four graduating classes to date, it already has captured the attention of the world’s leading law firms, companies, government offices, NGOs and universities. Post-graduate placement of STL graduates is nearly 100 percent. STL graduates now work with leading law firms such as Fangda Partners, King & Wood Mallesons, Junhe, Kirkland & Ellis, Shearman & Sterling, Paul Weiss, Simpson Thatcher, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, DLA Piper, Morrison & Foerster, and others; with leading companies such as Huawei Technologies, Tencent, Baidu, Walmart China, Ping An, General Electric, and others; and with leading government offices and nonprofit organizations such as the Qianhai Equity Exchange, the Supreme People’s Court, the South China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission, the United Nations Refugee Agency, CIETAC and others. STL graduates pursuing academic careers have been accepted into advanced degree programs at such elite universities as Harvard, Yale, Science Po, College of Europe and others.
These employers and universities recognize that the true value of STL’s J.D. and J.M. degrees includes far more than simply educating students about the content of different areas of Chinese and American law. The true value lies in imparting the skills that make for great lawyers, jurists and leaders of any nationality: rigorous analytical thinking, the ability to see all sides of an issue, the ability to solve complex problems creatively, and the ability to persuade. STL students acquire these skills because of STL’s unique method of instruction: serious, reflective study of actual cases accompanied by intensely interactive class sessions in which professors question and challenge students, day after day, about the cases they read. The effect of this method becomes apparent to STL students:
“The study of American law is something new and unfamiliar to me, unlike any schooling I’ve ever been through before. The professors use the Socratic method here; they call on you, ask you a question, and you answer it. At first, I thought it was inefficient – why didn’t they just give a lecture? But I soon learned that it was not just an efficiency matter, but a way to educate yourself. Through professors’ questions, you learn to teach yourself. And through this method of questioning, answering, questioning, answering, they seek to develop in you the ability to analyze … the professors train the mind.”
Increasingly, STL’s curriculum also offers supervised real world practice experience. Students in STL’s new Small Business Entrepreneurship Clinic, for example, will advise emerging Shenzhen businesses on the wide range of business, intellectual property, and other regulatory and personal issues that typically accompany the ramp-up effort of new businesses. Students in STL’s Public Interest Advocacy Clinic work remotely via audiovisual connection, but real-time, with experienced public interest lawyers in the United States on major social change initiatives and litigation there.