STL Celebrating its 10th Anniversary
On April 13, STL community celebrated its 10th anniversary with an alumni weekend. To mark this milestone, STL has launched a months-long series of lectures and forums that culminated in this alumni conference. During the event, STL graduates, students and faculty heard from STL’s founding members along with many esteemed members of China’s legal community.
In his welcoming remarks, incumbent Dean McConnaughay recalled a conversation he had with STL’s founding Dean, Jeffrey Lehman where Dean Lehman had insisted that no law school in the world was going to have greater impact than STL, not just on the development of the legal profession in China, but on the legal profession and, even more, on legal education worldwide. Dean McConnaughay reflected on how, at the time, those words were an inspiring vision. But today, as STL’s impact continues to grow, they are an inspiring reality.
The incumbent Dean of Peking University HSBC Business School, Hai Wen, was the the first to conceive of the idea that has become STL today. He recalled how the initial idea of creating STL as an experiment in legal education back in 2008 has confronted many doubts. Now law faculties in China, Europe, the United States, Russia and elsewhere continually seek more information about STL and its innovative program. Moreover, STL graduates now hold leading positions with world-leading law firms, multinational corporations, elite government office and NGOs.
Founding Dean and current Executive Vice Chancellor of NYU’s Shanghai campus, Jeffery Lehman focused on the significance of the rule of law in a country and in human beings affirming that the success that STL has achieved was a result of a combination of innovation, boldness and dedication. He believed that STL would continue to carry out its missions and make greater progress in the next decade.
Vice Dean Emeritus Stephen Yandle added that STL is not only a dream, but also a dream that has come true while STL Professor Mark Feldman talked about the “STL generation”. STL reflects larger trends in legal education, which have developed alongside greater global connectivity. Just as people no longer use landlines or compact discs, a legal education that fails to look beyond one’s own borders is no longer accepted. Additionally, professor Mao described STL as “unique”: unique legal education program, unique curriculums and unique teaching methods. STL has attached great importance to education and the development of its students and as such is becoming a utopia for legal education, attracting worldwide faculties and students.
Also among the speakers was Deputy Presiding Judge of The First Circuit Court of the Supreme People’s Court, Zhang Yongjian. Judge Zhang expressed his great wishes to STL. He has witnessed some STL students doing internships with The First Circuit Court of the Supreme People’s Court and was impressed by their working performance. He believed there should be further cooperation with STL. Subsequently, STL signed a Memorandum of Understanding with The First Circuit Court of The Supreme People’s Court and agreed on several major areas for cooperation, including internship, academic exchanges and research.
There is no question that the impact that was envisioned a decade ago has been slowly but surely unfolding. More critically, there is no telling where the ripple effects of the creation of STL will end. As STL celebrates its 10th anniversary, all indicators seem to confirm that the creation of STL will surely go down in history as a legendary transformative moment in legal education.