STL Hosts Summer Honors Program for Top University Students

On July 28 through August 4, 2018, Peking University School of Transnational Law (“STL”) hosted over 100 students from China’s and World’s most prestigious universities, including Peking University, Fudan University, Wuhan University, Sun Yat-Sen University and Oxford University for Summer Honors Program (“SHP”).  SHP at STL is an opportunity for outstanding college students to spend a week in residence experiencing the academic and daily life in China’s most innovative law school setting.

Throughout the 7-day program, students were introduced to STL’s cutting edge English-language J.D. and China law J.M. curriculums.  Students experienced actual law school classes taught by STL’s distinguished multinational faculty, participated in case briefing exercises and moot court arguments, met with current STL students and alumni to discuss life at STL and visited Tencent.  Students also traveled to Hong Kong for two days, observing proceedings at Hong Kong International Arbitration Center, Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal and Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The People’s Republic of China in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

STL’s SHP program was established in 2009.  Many current STL students and alumni participated in SHP before enrolling in STL.  For more information about SHP 2019, please contact shp@stl.pku.edu.cn.

STL Celebrates the Class of 2018

286A0487On May 19, 2018, the STL community celebrated the seventh Commencement Ceremony of Peking University’s School of Transnational Law (STL).  The ceremony recognized the extraordinary achievement of STL’s 96 J.D./J.M. graduates and 2 LL.M. graduates.

STL Dean Philip McConnaughay began the ceremony with a brief address to the graduates.  “You have successfully completed the world’s only American Law Juris Doctor, China Law Juris Master dual degree program, much of it in English and all of it extremely demanding,” he said.

“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, and we hope, the kind of ethical lawyers and professionals who will continue to make STL proud,” remarked Dean McConnaughay.

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This year’s commencement was held in the International Conference Center on Peking University’s Shenzhen Graduate Campus. 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; The Honorable Pei Xianding, Chief Judge of The First Circuit Court of The Supreme People’s Court; STL Professor Zhu Daming; and graduating student Yuan Ziyan.

Dean Lehman’s speech included a thoughtful reflection on the importance of persuasion to effective transnational lawyering.  Dean Lehman said,

The reason why I believe it is so important to focus on “persuasion” rather than “argument” is that “persuasion” incorporates a crucial, essentially human quality, the quality of empathy for other people. …

Persuasion means offering your listener, in terms that they can appreciate, a logical path that will carry them from where they are to where you want them to be.  The best transnational lawyers are able to feel empathy for people who are very, very different from them.  People who speak other languages.  People who grew up in different cultures.  They are able to bridge enormous gaps, combining the virtues of two very different cultures and creating very powerful transnational partnerships.  By nurturing within you the transnational lawyer’s ability to persuade effectively, STL has prepared all of you to lead lives of accomplishment and contribution.

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STL Associate Professor Zhu Daming addressed the graduates on behalf of the faculty.  His remarks inspired graduates to use their legal training to create a better world for themselves and for society.  “The purpose for which we chose law, why we kept expanding our knowledge base is not solely that we could become legal professionals or that we could gain great wealth.  As legal practitioners from Peking University School of Transnational Law, I hope you become professionals who always harbor the dream of the rule by law, who always have the courage to shoulder responsibilities, who remain down-to-earth and keen to contribute, and who possess both legal wisdom and ethics,” urged Professor Zhu.

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In his keynote address, Chief Judge Pei offered four principle aspirations for STL graduates: first, aspiring to be a noble and ethical person; second, aspiring to be a legal practitioner who holds firm beliefs and strong convictions; third, aspiring to be worthy of the great promise and opportunities afforded by China’s continued development; and fourth, aspiring to be a human being who contributes to the whole of society.

Judge Pei also lauded STL graduates and the special education they have received.  “STL is an international law school providing a unique global legal education during a period of reform and opening-up, with the geographical advantages of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone, and a combination of senior professors and outstanding students. … During this promising period with great opportunities, STL graduates, with their strong legal foundations, are thus able to be talents who contribute to society through their dedication to China’s and the world’s peaceful development and progress, ” he said.

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Like the classes before them, the Class of 2018 is pursuing positions in leading multinational and top-tier Chinese law firms (e.g., Fangda, Linklaters, Kirkland & Ellis, Zhong Lun, Hui Zhong, Freshfields, Han Kun, Jun He), the legal departments of leading multinational and Chinese corporations and financial institutions (e.g., Ping An, DJI Drones, Huawei, Shenzhen Stock Exchange, SoftBank in Tokyo), government and judicial agencies (e.g., Hebei Provincial Government, High Court of Tianjin, Shenzhen Government), and SOEs (e.g., China Securities, China Agriculture Bank).  A few graduates have even started their own businesses.

Yuan Ziyan, who provided the address on behalf of the graduates, talked about how her STL education has provided her with more than just legal knowledge.  “For me, being at STL enabled me to realize that the most important thing in my life is possibility.  Studying both U.S. law and Chinese law in STL introduced me to new perspectives and afforded me precious opportunities to meet and talk with great minds from diverse backgrounds. … I learned how important critical thinking is when looking at the world.  I began to discover more possibilities of life, and all of these are valuable gifts STL has give me,” said Yuan Ziyan.

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Congratulations, STL Class of 2018!

Professor Minas Participates in Major International Environmental Law Conference

IMG_1664On July 4-6, 2018, Assistant Professor Stephen Minas participated in the 16th Annual Colloquium of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Academy of Environmental Law hosted by the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland.  Founded in 1948, IUCN is a leading global environmental organization with a diverse membership of States, NGOs, academic institutions and business associations.

The theme of the colloquium, “The Transformation of Environmental Law and Governance: Innovation, Risk and Resilience,” focused on the intersection of technology and law.  Professor Minas presented on the role of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) Technology Executive Committee (TEC) in furthering technology development and transfer under the Climate Convention and the Paris Agreement.

Summarizing the colloquium, Professor Minas observed, “Creative thinking on bringing together technological innovations and innovations in governance to protect our shared environment has never been more necessary.  IUCN and its diverse network are playing a key role in this effort, and we were fortunate indeed to be hosted by the University of Strathclyde and the wonderful city of Glasgow to continue the discussion.”

Professor Minas is a member of IUCN’s World Commission on Environmental Law (WCEL).

STL Professors Co-Author Article on Food Safety Law in Leading Academic Journal

C.V. Starr Professor of Law Francis Snyder and Yi Seul Kim, senior C.V. Starr Lecturer of Law, recently authored the article, China’s 2015 Food Safety Law: Crossing the River but Feeling the Stones and Avoiding Low Branches?, which was featured as “Editor’s Choice” in the June 2018 issue of the Chinese Journal of Comparative Law (Oxford University Press).  The Chinese Journal of Comparative Law is one of the leading journals in the world that covers Chinese law in a comparative perspective.  An abstract of Professor Snyder’s and Kim’s article follows:

This article provides an overview of China’s 2015 Food Safety Law (FSL 2015). It analyses the main innovations of FSL 2015 compared to its predecessor, FSL 2009, which was China’s first-ever legislation expressly on food safety. It shows that FSL 2015 represents a dramatic step forward in China’s regulation of food safety. It also sets FSL 2015 in its social and economic context, drawing on the logic ascribed to Deng Xiaoping. It first emphasizes the gradual normative progress of Chinese food safety legislation, using the metaphor of crossing the river by feeling the stones—in other words, by step-by-step gradualism, exploration, and experimentation. Then, it notes that many stones in the watery pathway may be slippery, risky, insecure, or painful and that major difficult challenges remain. Finally, it considers certain structural obstacles or systemic features as overhanging branches to minimize or avoid; they constitute continuing issues in ensuring safe food in China. The article also compares FSL 2015 with selected features of food safety law in the European Union, the USA, and Brazil. While showing that FSL 2015 draws substantially on an international normative repertoire for food safety, it also emphasizes the extent to which FSL 2015 has specific Chinese characteristics.

Professor Man Keynote Speaker at International Symposium on Sino Swiss Evidence Science

STL Professor from Practice Thomas Yunlong Man was a keynote speaker at the Third International Symposium on Sino Swiss Evidence Science organized by Sino Swiss Evidence Science Research Center, June 25 – 27 in Hangzhou.  More than 70 scholars from China, Switzerland, the United States and Australia participated in the symposium.

Professor Man presented on “Allocation of Burden of Proof in Chinese Civil Litigation.”  Other keynote speakers included Professor Ronald J. Allen from Northwestern University, Professor Zhang Baosheng from China University of Political Science and Law, Professor Christophe Champod from University of Lausanne, Professor David Caruso from University of Adelaide, and Professor Jeff Cheng-Lung Lee from Qatar Police Academy.

Interview with Professor Finder about People’s Supreme Court and Chinese Judicial Reform

STL Distinguished Scholar in Residence Susan Finder, a leading expert on China’s judicial system and the author of the widely read Supreme People’s Court Monitor blog, was interviewed in a recent issue of the People’s Court Daily.  In the interview, which took place at the 19th Applied Law Forum in Beijing, Professor Finder spoke on “How & Why I Research the SPC: Some Tentative Views on Judicial Reform,” in which she shared insights about the professionalization of courts and judges, judicial fairness and transparency, and judiciary autonomy.  The interview is available in Chinese here.

LL.M. Student Victor Contreras Kong Pursues Excellence in Law and Fencing

STL LL.M. student Victor Contreras Kong from Chile recently was interviewed by the Nanyan Observer.  Victor is in the first year of his LL.M. program and is the highest ranked fencer in Chile.  Below is an excerpt from the interview:

Because of his global interests, according to Victor, the LL.M. program at STL really stood out: “It’s a well-recognized program, not just in China but all over the world. A lot of international enterprises put their eye on it.” Victor wasn’t mistaken; last academic year the percentage of STL graduates employed following graduation was an impressive 97.8%. He wasted no time pursuing those global interests upon arrival. His classes for the first semester included International Intellectual Property Law, International Business Transactions, and European Law.

Even more intriguing, STL provided an opportunity to live in and learn about China. Without really knowing why, Victor says he felt drawn to the country: “I wanted something different.” Later in the conversation, he added, “First, they are a major partner in trade with Chile. So for being a lawyer, this is super useful. And not just the job part.  Just to live in a different country is super cool.” Victor enthusiastically explained that he even found out about a scholarship offered by the Chinese Government, “I applied for the scholarship at the [Chinese] Embassy…and I got it. So, of course, I had to take it!” …

Victor didn’t quite know what to expect moving to China with never having been here, but things are going rather smoothly. He is teaching and training at the fencing club, finishing up his second semester of law courses, and accumulating victories in competitions, like his 1st place finishes in the solo and team categories of the South American Fencing Championships. Victor is now the highest ranked fencer in Chile and ranked in the top 100 for his category in the world. His dream is that in 2020 he will have obtained his LLM and be on his way to the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

To view the full article, please visit here.

Institute for Transnational Arbitration Academic Council Appoints Professor Feldman Vice Chair

Professor Mark Feldman has been appointed vice chair of the Academic Council of the Institute for Transnational Arbitration (ITA).  The Academic Council, made up of top academics in the field of international arbitration, is a key constituent body of the ITA, one of the world’s leading educational forums for scholars and practitioners of international arbitration.  Professor Feldman’s appointment as vice chair is for a three-year term beginning in AY2018-19.

HKU Professor Shahla Ali Discusses Research on Court-Annexed Mediation

DSC08857On June 19, STL hosted Dr. Shahla Ali, Associate Professor and Associate Dean at Hong Kong University Faculty of Law.  Professor Ali offered a lecture on “Reforming Court Mediation: Lessons from Global Experience,” in which she examined comparative empirical data from a diverse group of countries to explore the association between court mediation (mandatory and voluntary) and perceptions of justice, efficiency and confidence in courts.  The lecture drew on the extensive research on which Professor Ali based her new book, Court Mediation Reform: Efficiency, Confidence and Perceptions of Justice (Edward Elgar, 2018).

Professor Ali’s research and practice focus on questions of governance, development and the resolution of cross-border disputes in the Asia Pacific region.  She has consulted with USAID, IFC/World Bank and the United Nations on issues pertaining to access to justice, peace process negotiation training and land use conflict resolution.  She serves as a bilingual arbitrator (English/Chinese) with CIETAC, HKIAC (ADNDRC), SIAC and is a member of the IBA Drafting Committee for Investor-State Mediation Rules, the DOJ Mediation Regulatory Framework Sub-Committee, the UN Mediation Roster and the FDRC Appointments Committee.

“Just Bid It!” – Students Hold Fourth Annual PILF Auction

On June 8, members of STL’s Public Interest Law Foundation (“PILF”) held the “Fourth Annual PILF Auction.”  PILF is a student-run organization devoted to promoting public interest law and the pro bono responsibilities of lawyers.  STL’s PILF is the first in China.

The theme of this year’s auction – “Just Bid It” – set a festive mood for the evening, where scores of students, faculty and PKUSZ community members gathered in the STL Building and actively bid on items donated by faculty, alumni, students, and local businesses.  Auction items included a Hong Kong Victoria “junk boat” dinner cruise donated by Dean Philip McConnaughay; lunch in Aix-en-Provence, south of France with Professor Francis Snyder; a hiking trip at Shenzhen Bay with J.M. faculty; a beautiful calligraphy work by PKUSZ Chancellor Wu Yundong; yoga and dancing lessons from students; and many other fun and popular items.  Auctioneers for the event were Visiting Assistant Professor Jason Buhi and 2L student Evann Wu.

Proceeds from the annual PILF auctions help fund students’ unpaid summer internships with pro bono and public interest organizations.  Last summer, PILF funded seven students in public internships positions around the world, including Zhicheng Public Interest Lawyers in Beijing, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Beijing, and federal judicial clerkships in the United States.  In prior years, PILF fellowship recipients interned with Earth Rights International in Thailand, UNCITRAL in Incheon, ABA Rule of Law Program in Beijing, ABA Justice Defender Program in Washington D.C., ACLU of Southern California, and Common Language in Beijing.

“The PILF auction is a great event which supports students and enables them to develop their skills in public service. Many thanks to the organizers who made it all happen,” said Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs Christian Pangilinan.

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Peking University School of Transnational Law

Room 410, School of Transnational Law
Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School,
University Town, Xili, Nanshan District,
Shenzhen, China 518055