Donnerstag, 16. Januar 2014

Influential Newcomers

In the US everything seems to be "rankable". This is why I love the list of the "Most Influential People in Legal Education", published by The National Jurist every year. The top rank in 2013 was Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of UC Irvine School of Law. When I visited him in September, I was forward-looking enough to have a photo taken of us in front of his office. As there is no such ranking in Germany, I can at least claim that I was standing next to the most influential person in legal education in the US...

But what makes him so influential? UC Irvine established its law school just a few years ago, in 2007. It comes with a concept pretty similar to Bucerius: playing by the rules, in this case the ABA standards of accreditation with all its ramifications, but at the same with the aspiration to be academically excellent, rigorous in admissions and focussed on practical experience. And thus being relevant.

Erwin's goal is to be ranked in the top 20 by next year, the first time US News and World Report will have them in their scope. Knowing his drive and commitment would to me prove enough evidence to buy in. But being friends with his faculty colleague Bryant Garth, former Dean of Southwestern in LA and one of the finest legal scholars I have met (and having had the pleasure to host him at Bucerius last year, sadly without photo, btw ranked #16 in this definitely questionable, but funny ranking) makes it a safe bet.

However, we keep our fingers crossed for newcomers, both honoring and challenging legal education in its traditions.

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