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.”
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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.
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.
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.
STL established the new “PKU-STL Alumni Association” on March 20 in Shenzhen, in conjunction with the dedication of the new STL Building. The inauguration ceremony was attended by over 100 alumni and STL faculty and friends. The launch of the PKU-STL Alumni Association marked a much-expected milestone for STL, which now boasts five classes of highly successful and trailblazing graduates. The mission of the new Association is to promote the interests of STL by fostering meaningful opportunities for alumni (i) to stay connected to the law school and to network with each other, (ii) to provide support and mentoring of students, and (iii) to provide counsel to the law school’s administration and faculty with respect to trends and developments in the market for legal services.
The ceremony was officiated by STL’s Vice Dean Emeritus Stephen Yandle, who greeted the returning alumni and reminded them that STL would always be happy to welcome them home. Niu Hongwei, Vice-Chancellor of Peking University’s Shenzhen Graduate Campus (PKUSZ), extended his congratulations on behalf of PKUSZ and shared his hope that synergies would be developed between the STL Association and the PKUSZ Alumni Association.
STL’s Director of Development and Career Services, Zhang Chenli, whose efforts were instrumental in establishing the new Association, discussed the principal objectives of the Association and the mechanics of how it will function (e.g., membership, meeting plan, and so forth). He applauded the enthusiasm of STL alumni and said the new Association was a great opportunity for graduates to keep in touch with the work of STL and to participate in the law school’s development.
The inaugural chairperson of the Association, Zhou Bin (class of 2012), and two current 2L students, Qin Shijie and Fan Fumei, rounded out the group of speakers. They all expressed excitement and gratitude for the opportunity to participate in this landmark event for STL.
Following the ceremony, STL’s Student Union hosted a “house-warming” and networking party for students and alumni in the coffee lounge of the new STL Building.
Wang Hui, an alumnus from the class of 2014 who works for JunHe LLP in Shanghai, said that what he learned in STL attaches great importance in his career. At STL, he learned many essential skills that include the capability to analyze problems, the ability to research and construct compelling legal memos and other important documents, and the confidence to communicate in English. “Current students should cherish their school days at STL and make full use of the rich learning resources, ” he said.
Post-graduate placement of STL graduates is nearly 100 percent by the time students graduate. STL graduates hold positions with leading Chinese and multinational law firms, companies, NGOs and government offices worldwide. STL graduates pursuing academic careers have been accepted into advanced degree programs at several of the world’s most selective universities, including Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Oxford, Chicago, Science Po, College of Europe and others.
An Interview with the Design Team from KPF, Architects of STL’s New Building
(Interview by STL Students Hu Yue/胡月 (2L) and Du Yayun/杜雅云 (1L))
The new building of Peking University School of Transnational Law (STL) is prominently located on the Peking University Shenzhen Graduate Campus (PKUSZ). The building is situated between the beautifully restored Dashahe River Parkway, on one side, and the PKUSZ campus central plaza, on the other.
The building is designed by world-famous architecture firm, Kohn Pederson Fox (KPF), whose masterpieces include IBM’s international headquarters, Shanghai World Financial Center, the headquarters of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, and the towering Ping An International Finance Building in Shenzhen.
Fortunately, we earned an exclusive opportunity to interview the principal architects of STL’s new building: Jill Lerner, Elie Gamburg, Alex Kong and Wang Tianmeng. The main contents of our interview follow.
Q1: Why did you choose the task of designing the new building for Peking University School of Transnational Law?
A: I have known Jeffrey Lehman since he was the President of Cornell. I visited Dean Lehman when he became the Dean of STL. Meanwhile, there was a proposal of a new building for this innovative law school. KPF has an office in Hong Kong and had been taking projects in Shenzhen. We have done a lot of designs of academic buildings, including law schools. So, it was a terrific opportunity to partner with STL.
Q2: What were the preparations that you undertook during the process of designing the STL Building?
A: For an academic building, we had a lot discussions with the then Dean, faculty members, and students. We also spent a lot of time visiting other schools at Peking University in Shenzhen, as well as the campus in Beijing. We also researched other major Chinese universities, such as Tsinghua, Tongji and Fudan.
Comparing to our experience in doing educational buildings in Europe and the U.S., we tried to understand how education happens here in China. We tried to identify things that are critical for 21st century education and that may have been overlooked in earlier academic buildings.
Q3: How did you harmonize the design in order to meet the needs of the various users of the new building – e.g., students, professors, administrators, etc.?
A: We wanted some visual connections between the faculty areas and student areas, and the places where everyone would be comfortable working together. We designed an atrium to help bring the entire law school community together. It’s a place where students and faculty can meet formally or informally with one another, and students can comfortably study. We understand that students have different styles of studying. The design of the atrium, in a way, addressed a few of the different ways in which people study: (i) the open seating arrangements along the stairs cater to students who like to study in public spaces; (ii) the terraces with small tables cater to students who like to study in small groups; and (iii) the small nooks under the stairs cater to students who prefer studying in private. We tried to accommodate a variety of study preferences in one central space.
We designed classrooms in various configurations. For example, some classrooms are tiered horse-shoe shaped while others are more traditional flat floor spaces. Such variety addresses the reality that you have different professors with different teaching styles.
Q4: Was there any consideration with regard to sustainability and environmental protection?
A: We spent a long time trying to get the glass right. Because the atrium faces south we had to ensure that the atrium would not get too hot in the summer. This meant carefully choosing the right type of protective glass from the standpoint of heat protection and glare reduction. We used a special Low-E glass to make the space more comfortable and sustainable.
We wanted the atrium to face south so occupants had views of the mountains and river. There are few windows in the east and west of the building because, in Shenzhen, the sunlight is very strong in these directions.
There are many operable windows in the building to allow for fresh air and to reduce reliance on mechanical air conditioning systems. It’s nice when you walk out of a classroom and have fresh air, lots of sunlight and a beautiful view in the atrium. The idea of the atrium also encourages people to walk instead of taking the elevator, which promotes exercise and wellness.
Q5: What was the most challenging aspect of the project from the beginning to the completion of the building?
A: The most challenging part was the construction. We used different construction materials for different functions. We had locally sourced materials, materials from Hong Kong, and materials from overseas. During the construction, our architects regularly visited the construction site from our KPF office in Hong Kong in order to make sure every step went well. I want to thank STL Assistant Dean Chen Keru for her support and help. Without her, the construction process would not have progressed as smoothly.
Q6: What was the most satisfactory thing about the project and do you have any regret about the new building (if any)?
There was a famous architect who said that he had a very hard time going into a building he designed and completed because what he saw was only all possibilities that didn’t happen. Though I had a lot of respect for him, I actually never felt that way about this building. We do have possibilities, but the important thing is that we designed this building for you (the STL community) and it is you who will give life to this building.
Q7: What do you think of STL and Shenzhen?
A: This is a good question and our team members had a lot discussion about this. Shenzhen is an innovative, energetic, young and international city. So is STL. You are studying in a highly globalized, innovative and young law school.
Q8: Do you have any words to say at the end of the interview?
A: It has been exciting for KPF to be a part of this new venture with STL.
Concluding thoughts from the interviewers:
We were surprised by the architects’ understanding of the Socratic teaching style of STL, their sophisticated consideration of the variety of needs of STL students and faculty, and their commitment to environmental protection and sustainability.
We have a strong belief that STL will continue to get better and better and our new STL Building designed by KPF provides the perfect nest for all STLers.
Professor Sang Yop Kang, a leading scholar of corporate law and governance, was invited by Harvard Law School’s Corporate Governance Program to spend January 25 to February 8, 2017 in residence conducting research, attending corporate law seminars, and collaborating with Harvard Law scholars and professors about mutual research interests.
On February 24-25, 2017, Professor Kang was invited by the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law to make a presentation at their Comparative Corporate Governance Conference. Professor Kang was joined at the invitation-only conference by law professors from Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, University of Pennsylvania, and University of California, Berkeley. Professor Kang presented on “King Lear” Problems: Succession and Corporate Governance Issues in Family Corporations, which will be published in an upcoming issue of the Berkeley Business Law Journal.
Professor Kang teaches courses on corporate governance from the global perspective, economic analysis of corporate law, corporate and financial markets, and East Asian economic structures.
Professor Kang (right) with Professor Richard Buxbaum, a distinguished corporate law, comparative law, and international law scholar at University of California-Berkeley
Professor Dr. Stephan Jaggi was an invited guest on “The Point with Liu Xin,” an opinion program on CGTN (China Global Television Network) that explores news stories making headlines in China and across the globe. The February 27, 2017 episode featuring Professor Jaggi addressed issues around the constitutionality of the Trump administration’s selective ban of journalists from a White House press briefing. A taped broadcast of the episode is available here.
Professor Jaggi is a comparative law expert focusing on German, U.S., and comparative constitutional law and constitutional theory. He teaches courses on constitutional law, comparative constitutional law, and justice in STL’s innovative dual-degree J.D./J.M. program.
On February 20, 2017, STL students and faculty began the spring semester in the law school’s brand new signature building on the Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School Campus. The move to the new building marks another important milestone in STL’s short history. An official ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place in late March 2017.
The 8,900 square meter law building was designed by Kohn Pederson Fox Associates, one of the world’s premier architectural firms, in cooperation with Shenzhen-based Huasen Architectural & Engineering Consultants Ltd.
Highlights of the building include state-of-the-art classrooms, an on-site law library equipped with the latest in digital research platforms, several intimate seminar rooms, legal clinics, courtroom, law review and student organizations suites, outdoor terraces and reading gardens, highly functional faculty and administrative offices, and abundant student study spaces.
Nicholas Wang, a 1L student, commented on the building’s impressive features. “The new building has loads of public spaces, fully-equipped classrooms and a very nice law library,” he said.
Jonathan Pai, a 1L student from Canada, said he already feels at home in the new building. “It’s great to finally have a communed place of learning, one where STL students can feel at home with, ” he said.
Before moving into the new building, STL had been occupying temporary facilities across the PKUSZ campus. The new building brings the entire law school community together under one roof and marks a new era for the law school.