By Eric H. Mao, Director of Academic Affairs
For the second year in a row, Peking University School of Transnational Law’s (STL) Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot Court team bested 32 other Chinese schools to win the championship of the 12th annual CIETAC Cup in Beijing from November 17-21. The team is composed of 4 students, all 2Ls from the Class of 2017 – Guo Yufei, Liu Yi, Wang Biyu, and Yu Yadian.
A truly complete team performance, the Vis squad swept their way to the final round by arguing on behalf of the moot problem’s claimant, defeating teams from Jilin University in the quarterfinal round and China University of Political Science and Law in the semifinal round. Upon reaching the final round, the team switched sides, arguing on behalf of the respondent and then vanquishing Shantou University. Claimant oralists were Guo and Yu while respondent oralists were Liu and Wang.
Upon being announced the champions, the team rose to the stage and received their trophy to the applause of hundreds in attendance, among them judges, arbitrators, professors, students from around China and the world. In addition to the championship, the team garnered five Best Oralist awards, including the Best Oralist award for the quarterfinal round (Yu), semifinal round (Yu), and final round (Wang). Judges commented throughout the week on the team’s “deeply impressive” advocacy and “forceful” argumentation.
As champions, the team has now earned scholarships sponsored by CIETAC to support travel and accommodations at the international Vis competition in Vienna in March.
Guo commented, “I met lots of talented young students and had a taste of what real arbitration proceeding is like during the CIETAC Cup. This is an invaluable and memorable experience for me. Through CIETAC Cup, I also realize how far I’ve come since I entered into STL. The training here is extremely helpful.”
Wang added, “I am so glad that I have had the privilege to participate in the CIETAC Cup as a member of the STL Vis Team. The CIETAC Cup is a fascinating event where law students have the access to the real world of legal practice. What excites me more is that we managed to defend the championship for STL. The STL community has provided enormous support in all aspects, without which we would not be able to make our path to the final.”
The CIETAC Cup is sponsored by the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC). The CIETAC Cup uses the same case problem as the international Vis competition, focused around the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods, and simulating an actual arbitral hearing. The competition is held entirely in English.
The four students on STL’s Vis team are among 23 who participate each year in the school’s international moot court program. The moot court competitions provide intense training in legal writing and oral advocacy, helping to augment skills acquired in the school’s Transnational Legal Practice program. Faculty coaches work closely with each moot court team to guide learning while the law school provides financial support for travel.
This year, in addition to the Vis team competing in Vienna, STL has teams competing in the Vis (east) Competition (based in Hong Kong), the European Law Student Association WTO Moot Court (based in Geneva), the International Criminal Court Trial Competition (based at the Hague), the Jessup International Law Moot Court (based in Washington, D.C.), and the Red Cross International Humanitarian Law Moot Court (based in Hong Kong).
Additional coverage of the team’s achievement appeared in several national news organizations as below.
On November 19, 2014, Preston Torbert returned to Peking University School of Transnational Law (STL) to present a lecture about the downfall of Arthur Andersen, one of the largest and most prestigious accounting firms in the world. The lecture focused on various theories about what caused the firm’s collapse, ranging from corporate governance failures, to severe breaches of professional ethics and standards, to ambiguity in the way the firm carried out its policies and internal operating procedures. The latter cause – ambiguity – is a topic that Mr. Torbert researches and teaches. His recent law review article – A Study of the Risks of Contract Ambiguity – was published in Volume 2, Issue 1 (2014) of STL’s Peking University Transnational Law Review. The article was one of the top ten most downloaded articles on SSRN in the fields of Contracts, Commercial Law, and Securities Law. Professor Torbert is a long-time visiting professor at STL, teaching a very pragmatic course on ambiguity and problems in multilingual contracts. He currently is Senior Counsel at Baker & McKenzie, where he was one of the founders of the firm’s China practice group and played a key role in establishing the firm’s Beijing and Taipei offices.
Following the lecture, members of STL’s Law Review Board presented Professor Torbert with a signed copy of the most recent edition of the Law Review, which includes Professor Torbert’s article.
On November 4, 2014, the Peking University School of Transnational Law (STL) hosted a lunch-time lecture during which STL Visiting Assistant Professor Nicholas Frayn discussed an important criminal law case currently pending in the New York Court of Appeals. The case, People v. Dunbar, asks whether a program run by the Queens District Attorney of videotaped interviews with defendants conducted shortly before they were arraigned, at which point the right to counsel would attach, violated the defendants’ rights under the Fifth Amendment, which include protection from compelled self-incrimination.
Before joining STL, Professor Frayn was an attorney with the Legal Aid Society’s Criminal Practice, the largest public defender program in the United States. At the Legal Aid Society, he litigated dozens of cases in which defendants had given videotaped statements under the program at issue in People v. Dunbar. Professor Frayn described the various arguments that have been raised in the filings and engaged the audience of STL students and faculty with challenging questions about defendant’s “rights” in the United States criminal justice system.
Professor Frayn teaches criminal law in STL’s first-year J.D. curriculum.
On November 4, 2014, the Peking University School of Transnational Law (STL) welcomed Professor Daniel M. Filler, Senior Associate Dean for Academic and Faculty Affairs at Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law. Professor Filler, a criminal law and legal ethics scholar, presented a lecture on “The New Dawn of Hands-on Legal Education,” about the new emphasis in American legal education on the importance of experiential learning. Following the lecture, Professor Filler met with groups of STL students and faculty to learn more about STL’s innovative J.D./J.M. program of study and to share his experience at Drexel, a law school known for its extensive experiential “co-op” programs.
In addition to his faculty and administrative positions at Drexel, Professor Filler is the co-founder of one of the most widely read law professor blogs, The Faculty Lounge, which has twice won awards from the American Bar Association as one of the Top 100 law blogs in the United States. In September, 2014, STL Associate Professor Ray Campbell was invited to be a guest blogger on The Faculty Lounge.
In the evening of October 30, 2014, Peking University Intellectual Property Association (IPA) was greatly honored to have Ms. Guohua (Annie) Wu, senior partner at Jincheng, Tongda & Neal (JT&N), on campus to give senior students a lecture on Chinese overseas M&A practice. She started with a brief introduction to some key legal issues related to Chinese overseas M&A including new trends and difficulties for Chinese corporations in M&A transactions in the United States. Then she shared her extensive experience working in both international and domestic law firms as a transactional lawyer as well as being a law school student in Cornell Law School before she started her career. In Q&A section she answered questions from students in terms of job-hunting for a law firm position, as well as how to develop essential career skills as a junior associate. Prof. Richard Schepard attended the lecture and also contributed to some topics covered during the talk.
Impressed by Peking University School of Transnational Law (STL) graduates’ excellent performance at JT&N, Ms. Wu also expressed her intention to recruit more STL students for internship with her team.
Ms. Guohua (Annie) Wu is a leading lawyer on Corporate & M&A. She practiced law for about ten years with two prestigious international law firms, Sullivan and Cromwell (New York) and Kirkland and Ellis (Chicago). Prior to joining Jincheng Tongda & Neal, she was a partner in the Beijing office of Paul Hastings & Janovsky LLP.
On October 29, 2014, the Peking University School of Transnational Law (STL) Career Services Office hosted its second Law Careers Series Public Lecture on “An Introduction to US Patent Law and Litigation Practice”. The lecture was given by Qingyu Yin from Finnegan who has significant experience in patent litigation, patent preparation and prosecution, and client counseling in the fields of semiconductor technologies, materials science, electronic circuits, telecommunications, optical communications, and information technology.
During his lecture, Mr. Yin used some cases to introduce the general situation and latest trends of US patent law. Also, he shared his work experience on barrister in US.
The Career Services Office is planning to hold more public lectures of Law Careers Series in order to help students plan their careers and further developments.
October 15, 2014, the presidential election of STL students’ union (STLSU) 2014-2015 was held at C105. Dean McConnaughay, Dean Toomey and members of Students’ Union attended the election. The members of Students’ Union summarized their work in the previous year and expressed their expectation for STLSU. At the end of this conference, every student to exercise their voting right actively, the new leaders of STL-SU produced successfully.
Dean McConnaughay first delivered a speech to comment on the achievement of STLSU in the previous year. Then, Li Hang, president of STLSU, together with the members of STLSU summarized their work in the previous year and expressed their expectation for STLSU. In the previous year, by the regular Dean meetings and information bulletin system, STL successfully build up the effective communication platform within STL community. Students can express their concerns and suggestions, such as lecture guest invitation, academic schedule and career service. During the past year, the Student Union has organized colorful activities to enrich students’ life and to promote friendship, such as New Year’s Party, the Halloween’s Party, and Dean’s Cup basketball competition.
In the last, the four candidates for presidium each gave their campaign speeches and answered questions from audiences. Though the secret ballot, Li Jianwei from 3L was elected as the new president of STLSU. Huang Qingyu and Deng Zhicong are elected as the new vice-presidents. With the great achievement last year, we are looking forward to see the performance of STLSU under the new leadership.
On October 13, 2014, Melissa H. Maxman, a leading litigator with a specialty in antitrust litigation in the United State, gave a lecture on American antitrust law.
Ms. Maxman is currently a member in the firm Cozen O’Conner’s Commercial Litigation Group and the cochair of the Antitrust Practice Group, working in the Washington, D.C., office. In addition to her antitrust practice, she has extensive experience in RICO and environmental law and commercial and criminal litigation. Ms. Maxman has advised domestic corporations on international antitrust issues, including the coordination of compliance with U.S., and foreign antitrust laws by U.S. corporations and their foreign subsidiaries. She has also advised foreign corporations on the application of and compliance with U.S. antitrust laws. She has represented clients in civil and criminal matters before the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice, in actions before the Federal Trade Commission, and in private civil matters. Ms. Maxman has prosecuted and defended complex litigation, including class actions, involving antitrust, RICO, environmental and intellectual property laws.
In the lecture, Ms. Maxman gave a comprehensive introduction of US antitrust law and shared her experience of being an antitrust litigator in US. Based on her practice, she used vivid examples to explain why an antitrust law is needed, the types of antitrust law violation and its consequences and also her suggestions on antitrust compliance. She introduced the Sherman Act and the related concepts which are essential to understanding of the law.
Ms. Maxman’s observations and advice gave the students an opportunity to expose to this important practice area which is an area of intense attention and growing importance in China. This lecture is one of the series of programs arranged by the Career Services Office to give students an opportunity to learn more about the broad array of career options in law.
On October 10, 2014, the Peking University School of Transnational Law (STL) hosted a public lecture on “How to Succeed as an Inside Counsel.” The lecture was presented by Professor Robert Eli Rosen, a professor of Law at the University of Miami. He is a graduate of Harvard College, Harvard Law School and the University of California-Berkeley (Ph.D. in Sociology).
During the lecture, Professor Rosen discussed successes and failures in being organizational actors with students and stated that a successful inside counsel is a successful organizational actor.
More than 100 students gathered for the lecture, which ended with an interactive question-and-answer session.
Peking University School of Transnational Law (“STL”), on PKU’s Shenzhen Graduate Campus, is the only law school in the world that combines an American-style Juris Doctor degree (J.D.) with a China law Juris Master degree (J.M.), thereby preparing students for the mixture of common law, civil law, and Chinese legal traditions increasingly characteristic of the global economy. The law school’s resident faculty includes scholars from the U.S., China and the EU whose previous and concurrent appointments include such esteemed law faculties as those of Harvard, Yale, Stanford, the University of Chicago, University College London, University Aix-Marseille, and Hong Kong University, among others.
The fundamental mission of STL is to (i) educate top Chinese university graduates about different legal traditions and systems and thereby promote their ability to contend with the new policies and practices likely to emerge from the East-West integration under way in Southeastern China; (ii) contribute to the creation of a Chinese legal profession equipped to serve China’s increasingly sophisticated domestic economy and to compete successfully on an international scale with dominant American and British law firms; and (iii) provide domestically an affordable, graduate-level legal education top Chinese students traditionally have only been able to obtain abroad at great expense. As one of STL’s students recently exclaimed, “Studying at STL is like studying abroad in China!”
The PRC State Council authorized Peking University’s creation of China’s first common law Juris Doctor curriculum in 2007. The following year, STL admitted the first students into its combined J.D./J.M. curriculum. The University appointed Jeffrey Lehman, a former president of Cornell University and dean of the University of Michigan Law School, as STL’s Founding Dean. Lehman left STL in 2013 when he was appointed Founding Vice Chancellor of New York University’s new Shanghai campus. His successor is Philip McConnaughay, the Founding Dean of Penn State University’s Schools of Law and International Affairs, a former professor of law at the University of Illinois, and a former partner of the leading international law firm, Morrison & Foerster.
STL’s students are among the best and brightest in China. In order to be eligible for admission to STL, PRC students must either earn exemption from China’s national graduate school entrance exam by virtue of being one of the top-few graduates of one of China’s top-tier universities, or meet or exceed STL’s cut score on the national graduate school entrance exam, which is a slightly lower cut score than PKU University-Beijing because STL also requires in-person English-language interviews of applicants and administers a special STL-LSAT exam, which STL has found to be highly predictive of law school success. However, in order to take advantage of STL’s slightly lower cut score, you must designate STL as your first choice law school.
In addition, STL welcomes applications from foreign students and students from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau.
Although STL is still young, with only four graduating classes to date, it already has captured the attention of the world’s leading law firms, companies, government offices, and universities. Post-graduate placement of STL graduates is nearly 100 percent. STL alumni work with leading law firms such as Fangda Partners, King & Wood Mallesons, Junhe, Kirkland & Ellis, Shearman & Sterling, Paul Weiss, Simpson Thatcher, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, DLA Piper, Morrison & Foerster ; leading companies such as Ping An, Huawei Technologies, Tencent, Baidu, Walmart China, General Electric; and leading government offices and nonprofit organizations such as the Qianhai Equity Exchange, the Supreme People’s Court, the South China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission, the United Nations Refugee Agency, and CIETAC. STL graduates pursuing academic careers have been accepted into advanced degree programs at such elite universities as Harvard, Yale, Science Po, College of Europe, and others. Click here for a full placement report that includes salary, job type, and employer location information.
These employers and universities recognize that the true value of STL’s J.D. and J.M. degrees includes far more than simply educating students about the content of different areas of Chinese and American law. Their true value lies in imparting the skills that make for great lawyers, jurists and leaders of any nationality: rigorous analytical thinking, the ability to see all sides of an issue, the ability to solve complex problems creatively, and the ability to persuade. STL students acquire these skills because of STL’s unique method of instruction through serious, reflective study of actual cases accompanied by intensely interactive class sessions in which professors question and challenge students. The benefit of this method quickly becomes apparent to STL students:
“The study of … law is something new and unfamiliar to me, unlike any schooling I’ve ever been through before. The professors use the Socratic method here; they call on you, ask you a question, and you answer it. At first, I thought it was inefficient – why didn’t they just give a lecture? But I soon learned that it was not a matter of efficiency, but a way to educate yourself. Through professors’ questions you learn to teach yourself. And through this method of question and answer, (question and answer), they seek to develop in you the ability to analyze. … The professors train the mind.”
“The most attractive part of STL for me is [the] teaching method, which is concentrated on motivated thinking instead of force-feeding information. … Professors will not say yes or no to any answer; they ask students to think in wider and deeper ways.”
“[T]he Socratic Method … left me with the deepest impression. I got a better understanding of the differences between STL and traditional Chinese law schools – initiative [and] critical thinking are greatly emphasized at STL. Although it is true that the four years of learning at STL are challenging and demanding, [I have learned] that studying law can be interesting and thrilling.”
STL’s four-year, dual degree J.D./J.M. curriculum offers a first-year curriculum of core American J.D. courses, supplemented by a Transnational Law survey course that introduces students to each of the world’s principal regulatory and dispute resolution jurisdictions. Students also enroll in a writing course specially designed with the help of linguistics scholars to aid non-native English speakers in the study of American law.
The second-year curriculum is weighted in favor of Chinese law Juris Master courses. J.D. and comparative courses are included as well to help maintain students’ English proficiency.
STL’s third and fourth year curriculums increasingly blend Chinese and American law topics with perspectives from the European Union and elsewhere to create a truly transnational program of legal education.
Increasingly, STL’s curriculum also offers supervised real-world practice experience. Students in STL’s new Small Business Entrepreneurship Clinic, for example, will advise emerging Shenzhen businesses on the wide range of business, intellectual property, and other regulatory and personal issues that typically accompany the start-up of new businesses. Students in STL’s Public Interest Advocacy Clinic work remotely via audiovisual connection with experienced public interest lawyers in the United States on major American social change initiatives and litigation.
STL’s unique program of legal education and method of instruction are quickly becoming models for law schools throughout China and throughout the world. STL is becoming known as “China’s Most Innovative Law School in China’s Most Innovative City.”
The achievements of STL students are already gaining attention worldwide. In 2013, STL’s Jessup International Law Moot Court Team was the Chinese National Champion. STL’s 2014 and 2015 Vis International Arbitration Moot Teams were Chinese National Champions as well, winning all expense paid trips to the Vis International competition in Vienna, Austria. STL students established and now edit the Peking University Transnational Law Review, an English language journal with worldwide readership. In 2014, STL students established China’s first Public Interest Law Foundation, commonly known as “PILF.”
Upon graduation, STL students are prepared for the practice of Chinese, American, UK, and EU law, as well as for the new traditions and practices certain to emerge from the continued globalization of legal practices. STL graduates are bound for leadership, and their impact on China and the world is certain to be significant.
If you are ready to experience STL’s challenging and rewarding J.D./J.M. program in China’s most innovative city, we look forward to your application.
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