PKU-STL 2016 J.D. and J.M. Admissions Information
Peking University School of Transnational Law (“STL”), on PKU’s Shenzhen Graduate Campus, 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.), thereby preparing students for the mixture of common law, civil law, and Chinese legal traditions increasingly characteristic of the global economy. The law school’s resident faculty includes scholars from the U.S., China and the EU whose previous and concurrent appointments include such esteemed law faculties as those of Harvard, Yale, Stanford, the University of Chicago, University College London, University Aix-Marseille, and Hong Kong University, among others.
The fundamental mission of STL is to (i) educate top Chinese university graduates about different legal traditions and systems and thereby promote their ability to contend with the new policies and practices likely to emerge from the East-West integration under way in Southeastern China; (ii) contribute to the creation of a Chinese legal profession equipped to serve China’s increasingly sophisticated domestic economy and to compete successfully on an international scale with dominant American and British law firms; and (iii) provide domestically an affordable, graduate-level legal education top Chinese students traditionally have only been able to obtain abroad at great expense. As one of STL’s students recently exclaimed, “Studying at STL is like studying abroad in China!”
The PRC State Council authorized Peking University’s creation of China’s first common law Juris Doctor curriculum in 2007. The following year, STL admitted the first students into its combined J.D./J.M. curriculum. The University appointed Jeffrey Lehman, a former president of Cornell University and dean of the University of Michigan Law School, as STL’s Founding Dean. Lehman left STL in 2013 when he was appointed Founding Vice Chancellor of New York University’s new Shanghai campus. His successor is Philip McConnaughay, the Founding Dean of Penn State University’s Schools of Law and International Affairs, a former professor of law at the University of Illinois, and a former partner of the leading international law firm, Morrison & Foerster.
STL’s students are among the best and brightest in China. In order to be eligible for admission to STL, PRC students must either earn exemption from China’s national graduate school entrance exam by virtue of being one of the top-few graduates of one of China’s top-tier universities, or meet or exceed STL’s cut score on the national graduate school entrance exam, which is a slightly lower cut score than PKU University-Beijing because STL also requires in-person English-language interviews of applicants and administers a special STL-LSAT exam, which STL has found to be highly predictive of law school success. However, in order to take advantage of STL’s slightly lower cut score, you must designate STL as your first choice law school.
In addition, STL welcomes applications from foreign students and students from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau.
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, and universities. Post-graduate placement of STL graduates is nearly 100 percent. STL alumni 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 ; leading companies such as Ping An, Huawei Technologies, Tencent, Baidu, Walmart China, General Electric; and 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, and CIETAC. 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. Click here for a full placement report that includes salary, job type, and employer location information.
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. Their 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 through serious, reflective study of actual cases accompanied by intensely interactive class sessions in which professors question and challenge students. The benefit of this method quickly becomes apparent to STL students:
“The study of … 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 a matter of efficiency, but a way to educate yourself. Through professors’ questions you learn to teach yourself. And through this method of question and answer, (question and answer), they seek to develop in you the ability to analyze. … The professors train the mind.”
“The most attractive part of STL for me is [the] teaching method, which is concentrated on motivated thinking instead of force-feeding information. … Professors will not say yes or no to any answer; they ask students to think in wider and deeper ways.”
“[T]he Socratic Method … left me with the deepest impression. I got a better understanding of the differences between STL and traditional Chinese law schools – initiative [and] critical thinking are greatly emphasized at STL. Although it is true that the four years of learning at STL are challenging and demanding, [I have learned] that studying law can be interesting and thrilling.”
STL’s four-year, dual degree J.D./J.M. curriculum offers a first-year curriculum of core American J.D. courses, supplemented by a Transnational Law survey course that introduces students to each of the world’s principal regulatory and dispute resolution jurisdictions. Students also enroll in a writing course specially designed with the help of linguistics scholars to aid non-native English speakers in the study of American law.
The second-year curriculum is weighted in favor of Chinese law Juris Master courses. J.D. and comparative courses are included as well to help maintain students’ English proficiency.
STL’s third and fourth year curriculums increasingly blend Chinese and American law topics with perspectives from the European Union and elsewhere to create a truly transnational program of legal education.
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 start-up of new businesses. Students in STL’s Public Interest Advocacy Clinic work remotely via audiovisual connection with experienced public interest lawyers in the United States on major American social change initiatives and litigation.
STL’s unique program of legal education and method of instruction are quickly becoming models for law schools throughout China and throughout the world. STL is becoming known as “China’s Most Innovative Law School in China’s Most Innovative City.”
The achievements of STL students are already gaining attention worldwide. In 2013, STL’s Jessup International Law Moot Court Team was the Chinese National Champion. STL’s 2014 and 2015 Vis International Arbitration Moot Teams were Chinese National Champions as well, winning all expense paid trips to the Vis International competition in Vienna, Austria. STL students established and now edit the Peking University Transnational Law Review, an English language journal with worldwide readership. In 2014, STL students established China’s first Public Interest Law Foundation, commonly known as “PILF.”
Upon graduation, STL students are prepared for the practice of Chinese, American, UK, and EU law, as well as for the new traditions and practices certain to emerge from the continued globalization of legal practices. STL graduates are bound for leadership, and their impact on China and the world is certain to be significant.
If you are ready to experience STL’s challenging and rewarding J.D./J.M. program in China’s most innovative city, we look forward to your application.
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