Perched on the Pacific Rim and located just 20 miles from the gateway to Latin America, California Western School of Law has become a global force whose many international programs help reform judicial systems, promote human rights, free the wrongfully convicted, and improve the legal skills of thousands of foreign lawyers.
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How a small school makes a big difference in Latin America
The beginning was modest: in 1998, a passionate professor at California Western offered to help train a handful of Chile’s first-ever public defenders as that country transitioned from a repressive inquisitorial judicial system leftover from the Pinochet dictatorship...
Helping Foreign Lawyers Find their Place in the U.S.
“Many of my students would say I’m the stereotypical ‘Jewish Mother’-proud, controlling, supportive-sometimes interfering-protective, and an endless caretaker,” says Professor Jacqueline H. Slotkin, director of California Western’s LL.M./M.C.L Program for Foreign Lawyers. The program brings licensed attorneys from around the world to California Western’s campus...
“We are a relatively small school, but the huge footprint we’ve worked hard to establish internationally-the lives we’ve transformed and the tremendous experiences and understanding we’ve given our students-rivals that of any other law school, including the Ivy League,” says Professor James M. Cooper, Director of International Legal Studies at California Western School of Law.
The school’s global focus began more than 40 years ago when it launched the California Western International Law Journal, one of the first of its kind and among the most respected, a reputation that continues to this day.
Fifteen years ago, the school turned its attention to Latin America, in particular Chile, where it helped that country transition its system of justice from inquisitorial to adversarial. Out of that grew Proyecto ACCESO, a program that has grown rapidly into one of California Western’s most wide-ranging and effective efforts throughout Central and South America.
California Western’s International Legal Studies program offers a strong curriculum that combines theory with real-world experience. Students study abroad through the Consortium for Innovative Legal Education (CILE), which offers summer programs at law schools in Chile, Malta, Prague, Ireland, and the United Kingdom.
The Master of Laws in Comparative Law (LL.M.) & Master of Comparative Law (M.C.L.) program prepares lawyers from other countries to work knowledgeably with lawyers in the United States on questions of common interest arising under either their own or the U.S. legal system. Many return to become the leading attorneys, judges, and elected leaders of their countries.
Nearly half of California Western’s faculty members have lectured abroad, and several have become leading voices in international fields. Among them: Professor William J. Aceves, Vice Dean for Academic Affairs,is a highly respected international human rights expert, and Professor John Noyes is a leading authority on international law of the sea.
“We’re competing in a globalized marketplace today where rapidly shifting migration patterns and cross-cultural economic and political practices have caused an explosion of legal issues many of our students will have to face in their practices,” Cooper says. “If anyone chooses to ignore these trends, they do so at their own peril. California Western has chosen to stay ahead of the wave by providing our students with the tools and programs they’ll need to successfully navigate in this increasingly international environment.”