On Saturday morning, July 1, 2017, the STL community celebrated the sixth Commencement Ceremony of Peking University’s School of Transnational Law (STL). The ceremony recognized the excellence of STL’s 86 J.D./J.M. graduates.
Dean Philip McConnaughay began the ceremony with a brief address to the graduates. “You decided to attend STL because of its promise: A unique introduction to the legal systems of the West, to the law of China, and to transnational law. A unique and especially demanding interactive method of instruction. And an English language curriculum. But no one really knew the outcome of all of this in 2013. You had to decide based on your vision, and on your confidence that you could contribute to making the promise of STL a reality. And that’s exactly what you have done, ” said Dean McConnaughay.
“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. Congratulations on your graduation and on all of your extraordinary achievements. You make us very proud,” continued Dean McConnaughay.
This year’s commencement was held in the Moot Courtroom in the new STL Building. 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; Peking University Law Professor Ge Yunsong; The Honorable Xi Xiangyang, a senior judge of the Supreme People’s Court First Circuit; and graduating student Li Mengshi.
Dean Lehman’s remarks included a thought-provoking discussion about Give and Take, a book written by Professor Adam Grant of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Dean Lehman said,
[t]he book talks about different ways that people interact with each other. Sometimes they behave as what Grant calls “takers” (people who like to get more than they give). Sometimes they behave as “givers” (people who give more than they get). And sometimes they behave as “matchers” (people who try to preserve a fair, reciprocal balance). … According to Grant, the research suggests that the least successful people are disproportionately givers. They are unsuccessful because they get taken advantage of by takers. And yet the research also shows that the most successful people are also givers! How can that be?
According to Grant, these successful givers tend to be people who ask a lot of questions before they speak, who ask others for advice, who listen carefully and reflect on what others say, and who speak tentatively rather than aggressively. They are successful because other people like them, admire them, trust them, and end up helping them to be successful. … I believe that, by nurturing within you the transnational lawyer’s ability to see issues from other people’s perspectives, STL has done an amazing job of preparing you to be successful givers.
Ge Yunsong, Professor of Law at Peking University (Beijing) and Distinguished Visiting Professor at STL, was invited by STL graduates to provide the faculty address. His remarks touched on the stages of development in China’s efforts to build a legal civilization. He stressed the fundamental role of advanced legal education in achieving this. He cited STL’s innovative program as having great potential for legal education in China and worldwide: “[STL] is a school full of promise, not only in China, but also worldwide. The unique legal education model created by STL is innovative. STL is like a laboratory for legal education. I believe it has already achieved success, and I believe an even better future is yet to come, with lots of hard work and contributions from you all.”
“Dear students, you are about to leave school and are ready to work in different fields. But please keep this in mind … [T]he little effort that we make every day is part of the Chinese legal undertaking, a part of the new legal civilization. Though our contribution might seem to be little, we should always work honestly to accelerate the development of a Chinese new legal system,” concluded Professor Ge.
Judge Xi began his remarks by telling the gradates that they were in an “enviable” position because they had been “able to enjoy the most unique legal education in the world.” “Promoting the rule of law should be the responsibility and goal of every law school graduate and even of every member of society.” He offered many examples of seemingly small contributions having major impact on the development of the rule of law.
Like the classes before them, the Class of 2017 is pursuing positions in leading multinational and top-tier Chinese law firms (e.g., Fangda, Kirkland & Ellis, King & Wood Mallesons, Cooley, Paul Weiss), the legal departments of leading multinational and Chinese corporations and financial institutions (e.g., Xiaomi, China Union Pay, China International Capital Corporation Limited), government agencies (e.g., Ministry of Finance, Shanxi and Hebei Provincial Governments), SOEs (e.g., National Development Bank, China Agriculture Bank) and advanced degrees (e.g., Harvard University, Tsinghua University). A few graduates have even started their own businesses.
Li Mengshi, who provided the address on behalf of the graduates, spoke of the transformation that she and her classmates experienced in their four years at STL, recounting all of the fun and pressures that bonded their friendships.
The Class of 2017 expressed their commitment to STL and their fellow students by establishing a scholarship fund that will recognize outstanding student achievement while at STL. Dean McConnaughay described the gesture as a generous gift for a worthy purpose that he hoped would establish a precedent for future STL classes.
Congratulations, STL Class of 2017!
Wang Teng, a 4L student at Peking University School of Transnational Law (STL), has been selected as a 2017-18 Schwarzman Scholar, an elite scholarship program for top graduate students.
Wang Teng is one of 129 Scholars chosen from around the world to earn a fully-funded scholarship to study at the new Schwarzman College at Tsinghua University in Beijing. The one-year master’s degree program for Schwarzman Scholars “is designed to prepare its graduates to build stronger relationships between China and a rapidly changing world and to address the most pressing challenges of the 21st Century.” Each Scholar will earn a degree in global affairs with a focus in one of three areas: public policy, economics and business, or international studies.
As a Schwarzman Scholar, Wang Teng will focus his studies on public policy. Longer-term, he is interested in reforming the judicial system and improving social justice in China.
“It will be an exciting new journey. I greatly appreciate the wonderful platform STL provided me. Besides the unique curriculum with cutting-edge legal knowledge, my interest in improving and reforming China’s judicial system was inspired and enhanced during my study in STL,” said Wang Teng.
“Wang Teng’s well-earned recognition in the highly selective Schwarzman Scholars program reflects well on STL’s standing as a law school that graduates future leaders. The faculty is proud of Wang Teng’s achievement. We are confident he will excel as a Schwarzman Scholar, just as he has as a student at STL,” said Philip McConnaughay, dean of STL.
Wang Teng joined STL in 2013 and will graduate in July 2017 with a dual degree Common Law Juris Doctor (J.D.) and China Law Juris Master (J.M.). STL is the only law school in the world to offer a combined J.D./J.M. program of study. Wang Teng earned his Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Xiamen University in 2011. He spent his senior year of college studying political science at American University in Washington D.C. as an exchange student; he spent part of his 3L year at STL as an exchange student at the University of Amsterdam, Faculty of Law studying European Union law and international law. Among his many accomplishments, Wang Teng served as editor-in-chief of the Peking University Transnational Law Review, received the National Scholarship for graduate students, and interned at King & Wood Mallesons Beijing office.
The Schwarzman Scholars program, which recognizes academic excellence, leadership accomplishment, and significant promise to contribute to a deeper understanding across cultures, was founded and largely funded by Stephen Schwarzman, co-founder of Blackstone, a global investment firm. Schwarzman contributed $100 million USD to establish the program and is overseeing a campaign to raise an additional $350 million USD from private sources to fully endow the program.
To view the full list of Schwarzman Scholars, please click here.
Peking University School of Transnational Law celebrated the opening of its new “STL Building” with a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday, March 20, 2017. The event marked a major milestone for the STL community and introduced a new landmark on Peking University’s Shenzhen Graduate Campus (PKUSZ).
The 8,900 square meter STL Building was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF), one of the world’s premier architectural firms, in cooperation with Shenzhen-based Huasen Architectural & Engineering Consultants Ltd.
Participants in the STL Building dedication ceremony included Professor Wu Yundong, Chancellor of PKUSZ, Philip McConnaughay, Dean of STL and Vice Chancellor of PKUSZ, Jeffrey Lehman, Founding Dean of STL and current Vice Chancellor of New York University’s Shanghai campus, and Jill Lerner, managing principal at (KPF). The ceremony was held in the main atrium of the STL Building and was attended by hundreds of STL students, faculty, and alumni, as well as scores of PKUSZ leaders, government officials, architects and contractors, community members and other distinguished guests.
In his welcome remarks, Dean McConnaughay observed that STL’s success was a combined effort of so many of the people present. “It is wonderful to see so many STL graduates, students and friends and former and present STL colleagues here today – so many people who have had so much to do with the establishment and success of STL,” said Dean McConnaughay. “It was clear from the outset that STL would require a building that gives expression to the importance and forward-looking character of our law school, while providing an environment in which we all can comfortably study, learn and interact,” he said.
Dean Lehman praised the commitment of Peking University and the City of Shenzhen to work together to envision a new kind of architectural home for STL’s pioneering style of legal education. “This is a building that, just like the law, looks completely different, depending on the perspective with which you approach it. It integrates many different architectural cultures into an original, creative new style. This style speaks to our shared future – our need to harmonize differences as we transcend boundaries,” said Lehman.
“The new building realizes our vision to successfully combine formal education with informal learning,” said Jill Lerner of KPF. “The building satisfies STL’s unique teaching and learning demands, where faculty and students engage not just in the classroom, but also in the hallways and common areas,” she said.
“In this new building, STL will make even greater strides on the path of success,” said Chancellor Wu, who mentioned several of STL’s groundbreaking achievements as evidence of the bright future STL enjoys.
The STL Building was completed in January 2017. Classes in the building commenced at the start of the spring semester on February 20, 2017.
Located immediately between the beautifully restored Dashahe River Parkway and the PKUSZ campus central plaza, the STL Building serves as the gateway for the PKUSZ campus. The centerpiece of the new building is a grand tiered atrium with spectacular outward views of the landscaped pathway running the length of the Dashahe River. Additional building features include one 100-person classroom that can be converted into a high-tech moot courtroom; three additional 100-person classrooms; an on-site law library equipped with the latest in digital research platforms; four 60-person classrooms; four 20-person classrooms; several intimate seminar rooms; legal clinic and student organizations suites; outdoor terraces and reading gardens; highly functional faculty and administrative offices; and abundant student study space. The building represents a place for intellectual discourse, friendships forged and memories made.
“STL is a school that trains legal minds, shapes personalities, and ultimately cultivates future leaders,” said 3L student Li Yidan. “The new building is a great home for STL. The open spaces encourage interactive learning and the abundant sunlight brings life to the black letter law.”
Professor Zhu Daming’s new Japanese to Chinese translation work, The Spirit of Corporate Law, was published by China Law Press in October, 2016. The author of the original work is Professor Hideki Kanda, an internationally renowned scholar of corporate law from the University of Tokyo.
The translated work is Professor Zhu’s latest contribution to the Japan Commercial and Financial Law Book Series, which he edits and translates. The Spirit of Corporate Law covers five chapters: the definition of corporate law, the structure of a stock company, a stock company’s fund procurement, corporate restructuring, and the future direction of corporate law.
Under Professor Zhu’s editorship, the Japan Commercial and Financial Law Book Series includes monograph and code translation aimed at advancing China’s knowledge of Japanese commercial and financial law. To date, three books in the Series have been published to great acclaim: Japan Corporate Law Explained, The Philosophy of Corporate Law and Financial Instruments and Exchange Law.
Professor Zhu earned his Ph.D. and LL.M. from Hitotsubashi University in Japan and is a prominent scholar of corporate law, with special focus on financial law and comparative commercial law. Earlier this year, he was appointed as a Director of the prestigious China Law Commercial Law Society. He is the author of over thirty scholarly articles and seven monographs and translated works. He teaches Chinese commercial legal system, mergers and acquisitions, and company law in STL’s cutting-edge J.M. curriculum.
United States Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito spent a full week in residence at Peking University School of Transnational Law (STL) this past week teaching a seminar on the U.S. Supreme Court to STL students and offering an extended and candid Q&A session for the entire STL community. Justice Alito was accompanied by Georgetown University Law Center Visiting Professor John Baker.
STL Dean Philip McConnaughay said, “Justice Alito’s visit provided an extraordinary opportunity for STL students to spend extensive in-person time every day for an entire week with a Justice of the United States Supreme Court. The seminar focused on the recent case of RJR Nabisco, Inc. v. European Community [579 U.S. ___ (2016)], with STL students ultimately preparing and presenting moot oral arguments to Justice Alito, just as if they were appearing before the Supreme Court. The week was extraordinary and we are deeply grateful to Justice Alito for providing STL students with such a historic opportunity.”
3L student Li Yidan said of her seminar experience, “To be able to spend five days with Justice Alito and Professor Baker is something beyond imagination. None of us would have expected to have this opportunity; but STL made it happen and it is the most honorable and exciting moment of my life…. The 5 minutes before Justice Alito speaking as an appellate attorney before the Supreme Court cast a spell on me. I gave a roadmap, carefully unfolded my first argument, watched every look on his face to adjust every sentence I said, and neatly answered the first question he asked. The 5-minute argument brought together everything STL has been teaching me — the analytical reasoning skills I develop in rounds and rounds of Socratic questioning, the English language skills I acquire in legal writing classes, and the argumentative skills I learn in participating in moot court competition.”
3L seminar student Zhu Liusheng said, “It was an amazing experience to argue before Justice Alito. I have listened to many Supreme Court oral arguments on audio, but this was the first time to have one of the Justices in front of me asking me questions. There was a moment that I even felt like I was in the U.S. Supreme Court! Justice Alito asked me very probing questions that went to the core of the legal issues, which opened a window for me to see how Justice Alito thinks. I am truly grateful for this wonderful educational opportunity.”
1L student Hu Yue asked Justice Alito a question during the community-wide Q&A. She said of her experience, “It was my great honor and a once in a lifetime opportunity to listen to and even talk to Justice Alito in person. For me it is an extremely unique experience to ask Justice Alito a question and have Justice Alito kindly reply to me with patience, which is a great inspiration for my law studying and career planning.”
2L student Qin Shijie said, “I was extremely excited to be picked out of the large, enthusiastic crowd and become the first one on such an extraordinary occasion to raise questions to Justice Alito. As he responded to me in such a thoughtful and gracious manner, with almost every word he articulated carved in my mind, I couldn’t help recalling the past year of burying myself in the casebooks, where I was frequently intrigued by the complexity and beauty of those novel legal questions. And now, a real Justice is standing in front of me, and speaking to me.”
4L seminar student Yu Yadian said, “Before law school, when I had almost zero knowledge about the Supreme Court of the United States, and just started to read The Nine, if someone had told me that one day I would argue a case in front of Justice Alito, and be grilled by his hard questions, I would definitely think that person is crazy. This experience will constantly remind me of how privileged I am as a law student, and reassure me in my future career — I argued my first Supreme Court case while I was still in law school, nothing should ever terrify me!”
4L seminar student Pei Yiliang said, “Everyone in the seminar was impressed by the humility and candidness of Justice Alito. Our discussions spanned a wide variety of topics and the experience has forged a bond between us.”
Justice Alito also met during his visit with former Vice President of Peking University and current Vice Chair of the Peking University Council, Professor Hai Wen, with Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School Chancellor, Professor Wu Yundong, and with members of STL’s faculty.
2016 marks Justice Alito’s 10th year on the United States Supreme Court. He took his seat January 31, 2006, following his nomination by United States President George W. Bush and confirmation by the United States Senate. Justice Alito served previously as a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, as the United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey, and as an official of the United States Department of Justice.
Professor Sang Yop Kang, a prominent scholar of corporate law and governance, was honored by Tsinghua University’s Law Review with the “Tsinghua China Law Award for Excellence in Academic Research of 2017.” The award was made in recognition of Professor Kang’s article, The Independent Director System in China: Weakness, Dilemmas, and Potential Silver Linings, published in the current issue of the Tsinghua China Law Review (Volume 9, Issue 2 (2017)). The editors of the Tsinghua China Law Review offered the following introduction to Professor Kang’s article:
In The Independent Director System in China: Weaknesses, Dilemmas, and Potential Silver Linings, Professor Sang Yop Kang … critically analyzes the weaknesses of the independent director system in China, especially under the pressure of controlling shareholder ownership. Nonetheless, Prof. Kang believes that the system brings positive effects to Chinese corporate economy and offers an ingenious perspective to consider the Confucian tradition as a worthy resource of a “truly pluralist theory”.
Professor Kang is the author of many leading articles related to corporate law and governance. He teaches courses on corporate governance from the global perspective, economic analysis of corporate law, corporate and financial markets, and East Asian economic structures in STL’s Juris Doctor curriculum.
Professor ZhuDaming‘s comprehensive study on Hong Kong corporate law earned him “Second Prize for Excellence” at the 2017 Peking University Humanities and Social Sciences Research Awards. Professor Zhu’s study, which was published by China Law Press, provided in-depth coverage of the Hong Kong Companies Ordinance and related rules, including company establishment, capital formation, departmentalization, accounting and supervision system, corporate reorganization and bankruptcy.
Professor Zhu is a leading scholar of corporate law, with a special focus on comparative commercial law and financial law. He serves by appointment as a Director of the prestigious China Commercial Law Society. He is the author of over thirty scholarly articles and seven monographs and translated works. Professor Zhu teaches Chinese commercial legal system, mergers and acquisitions, and company law in STL’s J.M. curriculum.
In May 2017, Peking University School of Transnational Law (STL) welcomed to its visiting faculty Major General Nilendra Kumar, a distinguished professor from India, who taught a new course on “Crimes Against Children and Children’s Rights.” The seminar-style course was offered as an elective in STL’s upper-level English-language J.D. curriculum.
Major General Kumar was the Judge Advocate General of the Indian Army from 2001 through 2009. Before that, he served as a Judge Advocate and was responsible for monitoring litigation on behalf of the Indian Army. Upon his retirement from the Army, he served until 2015 as Director (Dean) and Professor of Law at Amity Law School, Noida. Professor Kumar currently works with Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi (Save the Children Movement) as an advocate for children’s rights and universal access to education. He was awarded India’s Vishisht Seva Medal in 2004 and Ati Vishisht Seva Medal in 2005 for rendering distinguished service of a high order. He is the author or editor of twelve books and several scholarly articles on military law, security law and human rights. He is a graduate of the National Defence Academy and the Indian Military Academy, and holds a law degree from Lucknow University.
Professor Kumar’s work with Nobel Prize winner Satyarthi and the Save the Children Movement provided rich content for his course at STL, which introduced students to different legal mechanisms for protecting children from violence, abuse, and exploitation (trafficking, child labor) and safeguarding their fundamental right to subsistence, growth and development. The seminar deepened students’ understanding of the critical challenges children face around the world and the important role of law and lawyering in helping to overcome those challenges.
Professor Kumar is one of several prominent visiting scholars and practitioners from around the world who teach at STL every year.
STL’s program of pairing international students with Chinese host students featured in U.S. News & World Report. The story is available here.
Peking University moves up 4 spots to #17 in the 2017 Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings, a prestigious peer ranking of the best universities in the world. According to Times Higher Education, the 2017 World Reputation Rankings “are based on the world’s largest invitation-only survey of leading academics. The survey asks scholars to name no more than 15 universities they believe are the best for research and teaching, based on their own experience. The result is a list of the top 100 most powerful university brands as judged by those best-placed to know the most about excellence in higher education.”
Peking University, or “Bei-da,” as it is known in Chinese, is China’s first and most renowned comprehensive research university. The University was founded in 1898 as the Imperial University of Peking and is regarded as a symbol of modern Chinese education. PKU has developed into a comprehensive world-class research university with campuses in Beijing and Shenzhen offering courses in the natural sciences, engineering sciences, humanities, social sciences, and medicine. For more information, visit the Peking University web site here.