STL Welcomes New Students from Throughout China and Around the World

DSC03493_meitu_7Peking University School of Transnational Law (“STL”) began the 2017-2018 academic year welcoming new students from China and abroad. The new class includes 115 students in STL’s dual degree J.D/J.M curriculum, along with several LL.M. and exchange students from a variety of countries, including the United States, Uganda, South Korea, Indonesia, Sweden, Chile, Germany, Argentina, and several others.

Dean Philip McConnaughay officially welcomed students to STL during orientation on August 13-15. “STL’s innovative curriculum blends the study of China Law and Common Law in ways designed to equip students for the practice of law in a world in which different legal traditions increasingly interact, creating challenges that only the best transnational lawyers will be able to resolve. You will emerge from your study at STL with the superior analytical and advocacy skills essential to cross-cultural and transnational exchange.  You will be leaders in this new legal landscape, just like the STL classes before you.”

Dean McConnaughay also moderated a faculty panel on intellectual engagement with Professors Danya Reda, Norman Ho and Nicholas Frayn, during which professors answered questions from students and offered advice about how to succeed in STL’s academically rigorous program of study.

The orientation program for new students also included introductions to STL’s academic rules and policies, student services and career resources, a library tour, and an exchange session with upper-level students about adjusting to the study life at STL.  New students also attended a class on how to read and analyze a judicial opinion that included a case briefing exercise.

On August 29-31, the Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School (“PKUSZ”) will host its orientation for new graduate students.  This year’s program will focus on leadership development.  PKUSZ is home to eight elite graduate schools: the School of Electronic and Computer Engineering; the School of Chemical Biology and Biotechnology; the School of Environment and Energy; the School of Urban Planning and Design; the School of Advanced Materials; the HSBC Business School; the School of Humanities and Social Sciences; and the School of Transnational Law.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Teaches at STL

IMG_2995United 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.

Peking University Celebrates Opening of STL Building

IMG_4592_meitu_9Peking 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.”


STL Graduate Among Forbes China “Top 30 Under 30”

董少灵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.

Professor Campbell Invited Speaker at LexTech 2017 in Kuala Lumpur

IMG_6416_edited Professor Ray Campbell was one of several leading experts invited to speak at the LexTech 2017 Conference on “The Future of Law,” November 4-5 in Kuala Lumpur.  Professor Campbell participated in a panel on “ AI and Big Data:  Can Lawyers Be Replaced?”  His remarks focused on, “Is AI Just Hype?”  He was joined on the panel by lawyers from Linklaters, Lexis Nexis and Zico Holdings.  Professor Campbell has written extensively about the changing dynamics of the legal profession and the role of innovation and regulation in the delivery of legal services.

LexTech was the first of its kind legal technology conference that brought together private, public and regulatory organizations to “share new ways of thinking, build strong partnerships, and define new strategies to compete in the ever-changing legal landscape of South East Asia.”  The conference aimed to identify leading-edge issues in legal tech that might contribute to a greater understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing lawyers, law firms and legal tech start-ups.


Professor Feldman and Director Aycock Present to Malaysian Bar

On October 30, 2017, Professor Mark Feldman and John Aycock, director of STL’s international programs, visited the Malaysian Bar Council in Kuala Lumpur for invited presentations to Bar members. Professor Feldman, a scholar of international investment treaty arbitration, delivered remarks on “Mega-Regional Free Trade Agreements: Asia as 21st Century Rule-Maker.”  His remarks focused on Asia as the new center of gravity for international investment law rule-making.  This is occurring largely as a result of two developments: (i) the negotiation of two mega-regional free trade agreements, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), both based in Asia and both proceeding without the United States, and (ii) the stalling-out of a third mega-regional free trade agreement between the United States and the European Union (the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership).

Director Aycock devoted his presentation to legal developments in China’s Pearl River Delta, which included an introduction to STL’s unique program of legal education.

Professor Feldman and Director Aycock also visited the Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration during their visit to Malaysia.


Experts Discuss Disappearance of PKUSZ Graduate Zhang Yingying

On October 30, STL hosted a panel of experts to discuss the case of missing Peking University Shenzhen (PKUSZ) graduate Zhang Yingying, who graduated in 2016 with a master’s degree in environmental engineering.  She disappeared in early June 2017 while studying as a visiting scholar at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, in the United States.  A University of Illinois post-graduate student has been charged with her kidnapping and criminal proceedings are under way.  Zhang Yingying remains missing.

The panel of experts invited to discuss the case surrounding Zhang Yingying’s disappearance included Wang Zhidong, a senior lawyer representing Zhang Yingying’s family, and Dr. Liu Shiquan, a noted forensic scientist.  Both guests shared their findings before a standing-room only audience of students and professors from STL and the entire PKUSZ community, as well as several practicing lawyers and interested members of the public.  The program was organized and moderated by STL Distinguished Professor from Practice, Dr. Thomas Yunlong Man, a scholar of comparative evidence.  The event was broadcast live by Southern Metropolitan Daily, a Shenzhen-based news outlet.

Wang Zhidong is the founder and managing partner at Wang, Leonard & Condon, and is a nationally-acclaimed immigration attorney.  As a member of the team representing Zhang Yingying’s family, he plays an important role as a public spokesperson on behalf of the family.  He devoted most of his remarks to a discussion about the procedural process relating to the prosecution of the suspect, covering several important issues such as federal jurisdiction, death penalty, changes in the defense teams and strategies and prospects of a criminal conviction.

Dr. Shiquan, aided by detailed photographic analysis, offered an explanation of the police and FBI investigative processes.  He shared insights into the cooperation between Chinese police and the FBI that he helped to coordinate and that resulted in critical leads to identify the suspect.  Dr. Shiquan earned his Ph.D degree from People’s Public Security University of China and is a post-doctoral fellow at China University of Political Science and Law.  He is responsible for crime scene investigation and evidence identification and has been involved in numerous high-profile cases.

Following the presentations by Wang Zhidong and Dr. Shiquan, a prominent local criminal lawyer, Mr. Liu Hui, offered brief comments focusing on the differences between U.S. and Chinese criminal proceedings.

The experts then took questions from the audience.  The Q&A was extremely engaged and from time to time emotional as several of Zhang Yingying’s former classmates recalled their relationship with her and asked how they might assist in the effort to solve her case.

The program also included extensive participation by several STL students who worked under the supervision of Professor Man to prepare background information to help guide the audience through the nuances of the case.

STL Professor and Student Co-Author Article Published in Leading Academic Journal

C.V. Starr Professor of Law Francis Snyder’s and 3L student Ni Lili’s co-authored article, “Apples from China and the Emerging World Food Trade Order: Food Safety, International Trade and Regulatory Collaboration between China and the European Union,” recently was selected for publication in the Chinese Journal of Comparative Law (Oxford University Press), one of the leading journals in the world that covers Chinese law in a comparative perspective.  The international peer-review Journal gives preference to articles addressing cross-disciplinary “issues of fundamental and lasting importance in the field of comparative law.”

Professor Snyder’s and Ni Lili’s article analyzes the legal obstacles to Chinese international trade in food and shows how the increasingly successful strategies of Chinese government and business meet these challenges.  Alignment of Chinese and international standards, China’s export strategy based on selected export companies in the reform of Chinese agriculture, and new bilateral agreements within the “One Belt, One Road” initiative converge in an unusual form of regulatory collaboration between China  and the EU.  These developments lay a foundation for major shifts in the future world food trade order.  The article is in press and will be published later this year.

Professor Snyder, a world-renowned scholar of international trade law, European Union law, and food safety law and policy, has made a point throughout his distinguished career of collaborating with students on joint research projects, thereby cultivating his students’ research skills.

“It is a privilege to carry out research with outstanding STL students such as Ni Lili.  STL’s Center for Research on Transnational Law provides an ideal setting for such cooperation and can result in internationally recognized publications which draw on the talents of both established scholars and brilliant talents of the new generation,” said Professor Snyder, who credited the supportive atmosphere for research at STL for facilitating his scholarly productivity and encouraging scholarship among STL students.

2014.11.5 Professor Francis Snyder_meitu_1

“Professor Snyder inspires me to explore the academic field from comparative law perspectives.  I really appreciate the platform STL provides students, especially the atmosphere for research and the patient and generous mentoring from erudite professors,” said Ni Lili.  “I am very grateful to Professor Snyder for his encouragement and support and for the amazing opportunity to co-author papers with him.”


STL Graduates Gather in Shanghai and Beijing

STL invited graduates working in Shanghai and Beijing to reconnect with the law school at alumni gatherings hosted by STL’s alumni and development team. Graduates gathered in Shanghai on October 20 and in Beijing on October 21. Shanghai and Beijing are popular destinations for STL graduates. It was great to see so many STLers again!

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Peking University School of Transnational Law

Room 410, School of Transnational Law
Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School,
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