On May 19, 2018, the STL community celebrated the seventh Commencement Ceremony of Peking University’s School of Transnational Law (STL). The ceremony recognized the extraordinary achievement of STL’s 96 J.D./J.M. graduates and 2 LL.M. graduates.
STL Dean Philip McConnaughay began the ceremony with a brief address to the graduates. “You have successfully completed the world’s only American Law Juris Doctor, China Law Juris Master dual degree program, much of it in English and all of it extremely demanding,” he said.
“All of you are now members of an elite group of lawyers prepared to understand and practice the law of China, the law of the United States, the law of the United Kingdom, the law of the European Union, and whatever laws, rules and practices eventually emerge from the meeting and modification of all of these. You are true transnational lawyers, and we hope, the kind of ethical lawyers and professionals who will continue to make STL proud,” remarked Dean McConnaughay.
This year’s commencement was held in the International Conference Center on Peking University’s Shenzhen Graduate Campus. During the ceremony, graduates and their families heard from STL’s Founding Dean and current Executive Vice Chancellor of NYU’s Shanghai campus, Jeffrey Lehman; The Honorable Pei Xianding, Chief Judge of The First Circuit Court of The Supreme People’s Court; STL Professor Zhu Daming; and graduating student Yuan Ziyan.
Dean Lehman’s speech included a thoughtful reflection on the importance of persuasion to effective transnational lawyering. Dean Lehman said,
The reason why I believe it is so important to focus on “persuasion” rather than “argument” is that “persuasion” incorporates a crucial, essentially human quality, the quality of empathy for other people. …
Persuasion means offering your listener, in terms that they can appreciate, a logical path that will carry them from where they are to where you want them to be. The best transnational lawyers are able to feel empathy for people who are very, very different from them. People who speak other languages. People who grew up in different cultures. They are able to bridge enormous gaps, combining the virtues of two very different cultures and creating very powerful transnational partnerships. By nurturing within you the transnational lawyer’s ability to persuade effectively, STL has prepared all of you to lead lives of accomplishment and contribution.
STL Associate Professor Zhu Daming addressed the graduates on behalf of the faculty. His remarks inspired graduates to use their legal training to create a better world for themselves and for society. “The purpose for which we chose law, why we kept expanding our knowledge base is not solely that we could become legal professionals or that we could gain great wealth. As legal practitioners from Peking University School of Transnational Law, I hope you become professionals who always harbor the dream of the rule by law, who always have the courage to shoulder responsibilities, who remain down-to-earth and keen to contribute, and who possess both legal wisdom and ethics,” urged Professor Zhu.
In his keynote address, Chief Judge Pei offered four principle aspirations for STL graduates: first, aspiring to be a noble and ethical person; second, aspiring to be a legal practitioner who holds firm beliefs and strong convictions; third, aspiring to be worthy of the great promise and opportunities afforded by China’s continued development; and fourth, aspiring to be a human being who contributes to the whole of society.
Judge Pei also lauded STL graduates and the special education they have received. “STL is an international law school providing a unique global legal education during a period of reform and opening-up, with the geographical advantages of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone, and a combination of senior professors and outstanding students. … During this promising period with great opportunities, STL graduates, with their strong legal foundations, are thus able to be talents who contribute to society through their dedication to China’s and the world’s peaceful development and progress, ” he said.
Like the classes before them, the Class of 2018 is pursuing positions in leading multinational and top-tier Chinese law firms (e.g., Fangda, Linklaters, Kirkland & Ellis, Zhong Lun, Hui Zhong, Freshfields, Han Kun, Jun He), the legal departments of leading multinational and Chinese corporations and financial institutions (e.g., Ping An, DJI Drones, Huawei, Shenzhen Stock Exchange, SoftBank in Tokyo), government and judicial agencies (e.g., Hebei Provincial Government, High Court of Tianjin, Shenzhen Government), and SOEs (e.g., China Securities, China Agriculture Bank). A few graduates have even started their own businesses.
Yuan Ziyan, who provided the address on behalf of the graduates, talked about how her STL education has provided her with more than just legal knowledge. “For me, being at STL enabled me to realize that the most important thing in my life is possibility. Studying both U.S. law and Chinese law in STL introduced me to new perspectives and afforded me precious opportunities to meet and talk with great minds from diverse backgrounds. … I learned how important critical thinking is when looking at the world. I began to discover more possibilities of life, and all of these are valuable gifts STL has give me,” said Yuan Ziyan.
Congratulations, STL Class of 2018!
Dong Shaoling, a 2016 graduate of Peking University School of Transnational Law, has been named to the Forbes China “Top 30 Under 30” in Media, Marketing and Advertising for 2017. The ranking is part of Forbes China’s listing of “300 Top Innovators, Entrepreneurs and Leaders Under Age 30.” (Click here for the ranking.)
Dong Shaoling is the CEO of Shenzhen ZhongbeiMingyi Tech Co., Ltd, which provides innovative IT services and solutions. One of its most popular products, RabbitPre, an HTML5 online tool and application generator, already has more than eight million registered corporate users, including Alibaba and China Mobile.
Click here for an interview (in Chinese) with Dong Shaoling about his reasons for choosing to study law at Peking University School of Transnational Law and about his successful business.
STL’s Founding Dean Jeffrey Lehman was recognized as one of the 40 most influential foreign experts since China’s reform and opening up 40 years ago. The award was announced by the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs (SAFEA) at SAFEA’s 16th China International Talent Exchange Conference in Shenzhen on April 14, 2018.
“Jeffrey Lehman is especially deserving of this recognition. He has personally established two of the most forward-looking intuitions of higher education in China, both of which promise a lasting and significant impact on China’s relationships with the global community,” said STL Dean Philip McConnaughay.
Lehman currently is the Founding Vice Chancellor of New York University’s Shanghai campus. He was the Founding Dean of STL, serving from 2007-2012. Previously, he was President of Cornell University and Dean of the University of Michigan Law School.
Lehman’s additional achievements and awards include China’s esteemed Friendship Award, the highest honor for “foreign experts who have made outstanding contributions to the country’s economic and social progress,” and the Shanghai Magnolia Gold Award, presented annually in recognition of major contributions by members of Shanghai’s expatriate community. Lehman also is the recipient of an honorary doctorate from Peking University.
More information about SAFEA’s Influential Foreign Expert Awards is available here.
Peking University School of Transnational Law’s “STL Building” was honored at the 2018 Better Educational Environment Dynamic (BEED) Asia Spring Summit in Shanghai, April 12-14. The STL Building, designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF), one of the world’s premier architectural firms, was one of ten projects honored with a BEED Educational Facility Design Award. BEED Asia is devoted to supporting innovation in educational design with a platform that connects educational institutions with cutting-edge architects and designers, project vendors, and advanced technology providers.
Completed in January 2017, the 8,900 square-meter STL Building serves as the gateway for the Peking University Shenzhen Graduate Campus. The centerpiece of the building is a grand tiered atrium with spectacular outward views of the beautifully restored Dashahe River Parkway. Other signature features include a 100-person classroom that can be converted into a high-tech moot courtroom; an on-site law library equipped with the latest in digital research platforms; legal clinic and student organizations suites; outdoor terraces and reading gardens, including a stunning rooftop terrace; and abundant student study space with comfortable seating.
On July 4-6, 2018, Assistant Professor Stephen Minas participated in the 16th Annual Colloquium of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Academy of Environmental Law hosted by the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland. Founded in 1948, IUCN is a leading global environmental organization with a diverse membership of States, NGOs, academic institutions and business associations.
The theme of the colloquium, “The Transformation of Environmental Law and Governance: Innovation, Risk and Resilience,” focused on the intersection of technology and law. Professor Minas presented on the role of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) Technology Executive Committee (TEC) in furthering technology development and transfer under the Climate Convention and the Paris Agreement.
Summarizing the colloquium, Professor Minas observed, “Creative thinking on bringing together technological innovations and innovations in governance to protect our shared environment has never been more necessary. IUCN and its diverse network are playing a key role in this effort, and we were fortunate indeed to be hosted by the University of Strathclyde and the wonderful city of Glasgow to continue the discussion.”
Professor Minas is a member of IUCN’s World Commission on Environmental Law (WCEL).
C.V. Starr Professor of Law Francis Snyder and Yi Seul Kim, senior C.V. Starr Lecturer of Law, recently authored the article, China’s 2015 Food Safety Law: Crossing the River but Feeling the Stones and Avoiding Low Branches?, which was featured as “Editor’s Choice” in the June 2018 issue of the Chinese Journal of Comparative Law (Oxford University Press). The Chinese Journal of Comparative Law is one of the leading journals in the world that covers Chinese law in a comparative perspective. An abstract of Professor Snyder’s and Kim’s article follows:
This article provides an overview of China’s 2015 Food Safety Law (FSL 2015). It analyses the main innovations of FSL 2015 compared to its predecessor, FSL 2009, which was China’s first-ever legislation expressly on food safety. It shows that FSL 2015 represents a dramatic step forward in China’s regulation of food safety. It also sets FSL 2015 in its social and economic context, drawing on the logic ascribed to Deng Xiaoping. It first emphasizes the gradual normative progress of Chinese food safety legislation, using the metaphor of crossing the river by feeling the stones—in other words, by step-by-step gradualism, exploration, and experimentation. Then, it notes that many stones in the watery pathway may be slippery, risky, insecure, or painful and that major difficult challenges remain. Finally, it considers certain structural obstacles or systemic features as overhanging branches to minimize or avoid; they constitute continuing issues in ensuring safe food in China. The article also compares FSL 2015 with selected features of food safety law in the European Union, the USA, and Brazil. While showing that FSL 2015 draws substantially on an international normative repertoire for food safety, it also emphasizes the extent to which FSL 2015 has specific Chinese characteristics.
STL Distinguished Scholar in Residence Susan Finder, a leading expert on China’s judicial system and the author of the widely read Supreme People’s Court Monitor blog, was interviewed in a recent issue of the People’s Court Daily. In the interview, which took place at the 19th Applied Law Forum in Beijing, Professor Finder spoke on “How & Why I Research the SPC: Some Tentative Views on Judicial Reform,” in which she shared insights about the professionalization of courts and judges, judicial fairness and transparency, and judiciary autonomy. The interview is available in Chinese here.
STL LL.M. student Victor Contreras Kong from Chile recently was interviewed by the Nanyan Observer. Victor is in the first year of his LL.M. program and is the highest ranked fencer in Chile. Below is an excerpt from the interview:
Because of his global interests, according to Victor, the LL.M. program at STL really stood out: “It’s a well-recognized program, not just in China but all over the world. A lot of international enterprises put their eye on it.” Victor wasn’t mistaken; last academic year the percentage of STL graduates employed following graduation was an impressive 97.8%. He wasted no time pursuing those global interests upon arrival. His classes for the first semester included International Intellectual Property Law, International Business Transactions, and European Law.
Even more intriguing, STL provided an opportunity to live in and learn about China. Without really knowing why, Victor says he felt drawn to the country: “I wanted something different.” Later in the conversation, he added, “First, they are a major partner in trade with Chile. So for being a lawyer, this is super useful. And not just the job part. Just to live in a different country is super cool.” Victor enthusiastically explained that he even found out about a scholarship offered by the Chinese Government, “I applied for the scholarship at the [Chinese] Embassy…and I got it. So, of course, I had to take it!” …
Victor didn’t quite know what to expect moving to China with never having been here, but things are going rather smoothly. He is teaching and training at the fencing club, finishing up his second semester of law courses, and accumulating victories in competitions, like his 1st place finishes in the solo and team categories of the South American Fencing Championships. Victor is now the highest ranked fencer in Chile and ranked in the top 100 for his category in the world. His dream is that in 2020 he will have obtained his LLM and be on his way to the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
To view the full article, please visit here.