Twenty-six students from STL recently took part in a two-day intensive trial advocacy program designed to introduce them to trial techniques and strategies and sharpen their advocacy skills. The May 10-11 program was held in the new STL Building and was organized by STL Associate Clinical Professor of Law Nicholas Frayn, an experienced criminal defense lawyer who previously worked for the Legal Aid Society in New York City. Professor Frayn was joined by Ye-Ting Woo and Evan Williams, two U.S. federal prosecutors with substantial trial experience in criminal and civil matters, and STL Lecturer in Law Shama Farooq, also an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
The program afforded students an unparalleled opportunity to develop and fine-tune their advocacy skills before their peers in an atmosphere where experienced trial lawyers were readily available to provide feedback and advice.
“This program offered me a great opportunity to benefit from the experience and expertise of skilled trial lawyers. Throughout the program, we participated in preparing and delivering opening statements, direct examination, cross examination and closing statements. We also learned the importance of story telling in the courtroom, which I’ve come to learn is really an art,” said Zhu Dianmeng, a 1L student who participated in the trial advocacy program.
STL is a leader in teaching lawyering skills. The law school’s J.D./JM. curriculum is rich with courses and programs offering real world practice experience.
Following up on their visit to Harvard University Law School in January for the LawWithoutWalls (“LWOW”) Kickoff, STL students Li Yidan (3L) and Wang Wei (2L) joined their teammates from top law and business schools around the world to present their team projects at the LWOW “ConPosium” at the University of Miami, April 22-23, 2017.
During the two-day ConPosium, STL students and their teams showcased their innovative projects to the LWOW community before a panel of multidisciplinary judges, who assessed the substance, viability and creativity of each project. Li Yidan’s team, which included students from Germany and France, favorably impressed the judges. Their project on using artificial intelligence (“AI”) applications to streamline the work of in-house lawyers in reviewing low-risk and repetitive documents earned top billing and recognition as “Winner of Creativity.”
“In the course of LWOW, I talked with numerous experts and scientists in the field, which helped me to understand the relationship between law and technology, ” said LiYidan of her LWOW experience. “As we learn important skills in legal analysis, research and interpretation during law school, we also should focus on the technological innovation that is happening in the legal profession,” she added.
2L student Wang Wei participated in LWOWx, LWOW’s on-line counterpart program that teams up students and professionals from around the globe to develop cutting-edge solutions to law, business, and technology-based problems. Wang Wei’s LWOWx team won the on-line competition and earned a fully-fundedtrip to join the ConPosium in Miami.
“The problem our team addressed was combatting adolescent cyberbullying. The first issue we had to overcome was the logistical challenge of being a single team spread across multiple time zones. Our team was very supportive of each other and exhibited mutual understanding and tolerance, which was one of the keys to our success,” said Wang Wei.
“I am very thankful to STL for giving me this amazing opportunity. In addition to learning new legal and business concepts, I also acquired many new transferable skills, such as shooting videos, marketing strategies, and the importance of engaging with the broader world, ” added Wang Wei.
LawWithoutWalls is a project run by the University of Miami that teams 100 students from 30 of the world’s leading law and business schools with academic, business, entrepreneur, and legal mentors to tackle cutting edge issues at the intersection of law, business and technology. STL is the only school in Asia to participate in this unique cross-disciplinary, cross-border program.
On April 28, STL hosted Professor (Dr.) C. Raj Kumar, the Founding Vice Chancellor of O.P. Jindal Global University and Founding Dean of Jindal Global Law School (JGLS), Soniapt, India. Professor Kumar delivered a public lecture on “Corruption and Good Governance in India: Establishment of a Rule of Law Society,” which was followed by a Q&A with STL students and faculty. During his visit, Professor Kumar and STL dean Philip McConnaughay signed an Agreement of Friendship and Cooperation between JGLS and STL aimed at strengthening research and student exchange opportunities between the schools.
Professor Kumar was a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford, where he obtained his Bachelor of Civil Law (B.C.L.) degree; a Landon Gammon Fellow at the Harvard Law School, where he obtained his Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree, and a James Souverine Gallo Memorial Scholar at Harvard University. He was awarded a Doctor of Legal Science (S.J.D.) by the University of Hong Kong. He also obtained a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) degree from the University of Delhi, India, and a Bachelor of Commerce (B.Com.) degree from Loyola College of the University of Madras, India.
JGLS offers a multi-disciplinary legal education with a view to producing world-class legal professionals, scholars, and public servants. It is the first global law school in India.
STL is the only law school in China – and the only law school in the world – to offer a full post-baccalaureate Common Law Juris Doctor (J.D.) curriculum alongside a complete China law Juris Master (J.M.) curriculum, thereby preparing STL graduates for the mixture of Common Law, civil law, and Chinese legal traditions increasingly characteristic of the global economy.
STL Dean Philip McConnaughay was a keynote speaker at the 29th Shenzhen Legal Forum/2017 Global Intelligence Forum on “International Legal Talent Cultivation under the Background of Innovation,” on April 15, 2017 in Shenzhen. The Forum was sponsored by the Shenzhen Legal Society, the Shenzhen Bureau of Justice, and Benchmark Chambers International.
Dean McConnaughay’s remarks concerned, “Educating Legal Talents for a Globalized Age: Lessons from Shenzhen,” which he delivered to an audience of over 300 legal professionals. He spoke about the importance of a Chinese legal professional equipped to serve a sophisticated economy based on technological innovation, financial services and internationalization and that is capable of competing head-to-head with dominant British and American multinational law firms.
Shenzhen and the Greater Pear River Delta are at the forefront of transnational exchange and legal and commercial developments here likely will preview similar developments throughout China and throughout the world.
Other keynote speakers and panelists included Director General Zhou Yuansheng of the Department of Lawyers and Notarization, PRC Ministry of Justice, Executive Vice President of Renmin University, renowned Professor Wang Liming, and Professor Gao Xiqing, the principal architect of China’s capital markets regulatory system.
STL Distinguished Scholar in Residence Susan Finder, STL Assistant Dean Chen Keru, and STL Director of Development and Career Services Zhang Chenli also attended the Forum.
The 2017 Global Intelligence Forum is intended to promote the development of the legal infrastructure necessary for sustained economic growth and innovation in Shenzhen and the Greater Pearl River Delta.
Please click here to read Dean McConnaughay’s keynote speech, which was posted on WeChat by Benchmark Chambers International.
Times Higher Education (“THE”) ranked Peking University second among 300 institutions from 24 Asian countries in THE’s Asia University Rankings 2017.
On March 11, STL hosted the “First Chinese-Foreign Commercial Law Forum,” organized and led by Professor Zhu Daming, one of China’s leading scholars of comparative commercial law. The Forum brought together 41 top law professors from prestigious universities around China, including, among others, Tsinghua University, China University of Political Science and Law, Zhejiang University, Sun Yat-sen University, Southwest University of Political Science and Law, and Peking University. The theme of the Forum was, “Normalization of Company Resolution Act.” Forum participants prepared papers on relevant topics and presented on their areas of expertise.
The Forum was the first academic conference held in STL’s new building. Dean Philip McConnaughay extended a warm welcome on behalf of STL and said the law school was honored to host such a distinguished group of scholars, whose work is contributing to the advancement of commercial law theory, practice and reform throughout China.
Under Professor Zhu’s guidance, STL looks forward to making the Forum an annual event. Professor Zhu teaches Chinese commercial legal system, company law, and mergers and acquisitions at STL.
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.