IALS Conference 2009:
The Role of Law Schools and Law School
Leadership in a Changing World

Monday 25 May 2009 – Wednesday 27 May 2009

Hosted by ANU College of Law
Australian National University Canberra, Australia

View Working Papers

The Role of Law Schools and Law School Leadership In A Changing World, 29 Penn St. Int’l L. Rev. 1 (2010-2011).

MONDAY 25 MAY 2009


Common Room Foyer
Main Floor

IALS General Assembly
Common Room

Main Floor

16:30 (Buses Depart)
IALS Reception

Hosted by Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce AC, Australia’s 25th Governor-General

Location: Government House
, Canberra, commonly known as Yarralumla, is the official residence of the Governor-General of Australia

Buses will depart from the Main Entrance of the University House at 16:30. Buses will return to the University House at 18:00.

Dinner Hosted by the Law School Admission Council
The Hall
Main Floor

Host: Daniel O. Bernstine, President and CEO, Law School Admissions Council, Newtown, Pennsylvania, USA


09:00-09:15 Welcome
Common Room

Main Floor
Mónica Pinto, University of Buenos Aires and IALS President

Michael Coper, Dean, ANU College of Law; Chair, Conference Planning Committee

The Goals and Objectives of Law Schools in Their Primary Role of Educating Students
Common Room
Main Floor

Speakers/discussion openers

  • Kim Economides, Professor, University of Exeter Law School, UK
  • Gillian Triggs, Dean, University of Sydney Law School, Australia
  • Francis SL Wang, Dean Emeritus, Kenneth Wang School of Law, China

Is it the mission of law schools to go beyond producing technically competent and ethical lawyers? Does the mission extend to training lawyers to stand up for the rule of law, to work for law reform, to be community leaders? Should it? Is this a part of professional responsibility? What is the impact of globalization? Are we training lawyers for local, national, transnational or international practice?

Some possible questions

  • Is it the primary task of law schools to engage students in intellectual enquiry into the discipline of law, or to train lawyers for professional practice? If both, are these twin tasks complementary or opposed? How should this tension be resolved?
  • Beyond ensuring graduates are technically competent, how important are the following goals?
    • Ethics: embedding a sense of ethical conduct and professional responsibility
    • Rule of law: promoting a sense of duty as a lawyer to stand up for the rule of law, including the independence of the judiciary
    • Law reform: inculcating an aspiration to work for the improvement of the law and the operation of the legal system, and for the achievement of social justice
    • Leadership: educating for leadership and civic responsibility
    • Internationalisation: educating for globalization
  • What is universal and what is culture-bound in the values that underlie legal education?
    • Do, for example, the same values underlie education for the common law system that expects justice to emerge from adversarial combat before detached judges, and the civil law system that seeks a more objective truth through inquisitorial judicial intervention?
    • Is, for example, the core common law principle of an independent judiciary equally valued in civil law systems under which lawyers are educated directly for judicial office rather than drawn from an independent bar?

Refreshment Break
Hall Foyer
Main Floor

Plenary II – Why Are We Here?
The Goals and Objectives of Law Schools Beyond
Educating Students: Research, Capacity Building, Community Service

Common Room
Main Floor


  • Roberto P. Aponte-Toro, Dean, University of Puerto Rico School of Law, Puerto Rico
  • Mary Anne Bobinski, Dean, University of British Columbia Law School, Canada
  • Karsten Schmidt, Dean, Bucerius Law School, Germany
  • Fernando Villarreal Gonda, Dean, Facultad Libre de Derecho de Monterrey, Mexico

Although often seen as the primary role, many law schools play a far greater role than simply that of educating future lawyers (discussed in Plenary I). For example, law schools may be a primary source of the research that advances legal knowledge. They may play a significant ‘outreach’ role in providing services to the community, through clinical programs, service of faculty members on government or community bodies, advice to government and non-government organizations, expert media commentary that educates the general public, and so on. Is this part of the core, defining business of law schools?

Some possible questions

  • What is the relative importance of these multiple roles? How do law schools balance them? Are they replicated throughout the world, or are they confined to certain cultures? Are there other roles beyond the roles identified above?
  • Why are these topics important? Are they important to everyone? How do these goals and objectives relate to the first panel topic of the goals of legal education? Why is research part of the mission of a law school? How important are law reform activities?
  • Is there a unifying theme that law schools have certain moral imperatives? If so, can law schools remain passive actors or mere educators? What are the pitfalls of activism by law schools or by faculty? Should a law school distance itself from or embrace the activities of its members?

IALS Luncheon
The Hall
Main Floor

Small Group Discussion of Plenaries I & II

See the handout in your materials folder for your small group assignment and its meeting room location.

Refreshment Break
Fall Foyer
Main Floor

Plenary III – How Do We Actually Achieve Our Goals? Strategies and Techniques to Realise our Ambitions
Common Room

Main Floor


  • Ahmed Belal, Dean, University of Cairo Law School, Egypt
  • Gigliola di Renzo Villata, Professor, University of Milan, Italy
  • Adrian Evans, Associate Professor, Monash University Law School, Australia
  • Mike McConville, Dean, Chinese University of Hong Kong, China
  • Mohammad Olwan, Professor, College of Law, Yarmouk University, Amman

If law schools really espouse the broad goals identified in Plenaries I and II, how do we achieve them? As far as the educational goals are concerned, is this primarily a curriculum issue? If so, how do we translate these goals into the curriculum, given the broad range of constituencies involved?

Some possible questions

  • Leadership. There is much learning in relation to curriculum and pedagogy so far as it relates to the transmission of legal knowledge and the acquisition of legal skills, but if we also take seriously the broader goals identified above, how do we address those goals? For example, if we assert that our law schools are training future leaders, are we consciously imparting leadership skills, or is this simply an accidental by-product of the students’ education?
  • Ethics. How can we ensure that we produce ethical lawyers and lawyers with a sense of public service? Can law schools be expected to shape character, or merely to inform and sensitise students to their ethical responsibilities? Are the fundamentals of legal ethics universal, or do they vary from culture to culture?
  • Comparative law. How important is the study of comparative law and comparative practice?
  • When goals compete. How should the various goals of legal education be prioritised? In particular, how should this question be approached in the context of limited resources or even civil strife?
  • Government policy. What is the role of government and government policy in supporting or affecting the capacity of law schools to achieve their goals?
  • Thinking like a lawyer. Is rigorous analytical training to ‘think like a lawyer’ compatible with or antithetical to the promotion of broader goals such sensitivity to law reform and social justice?
  • Impact of legal education. Think about some of your country’s (or the world’s) greatest lawyers. Are they great because of or in spite of their legal education?

IALS Dinner Hosted by ANU College of Law
The Ottoman Restaurant
Blackall Street, Barton, ACT

Justice Michael Kirby, High Court of Australia (Retired 2009) and
Distinguished Visiting Fellow, ANU College of Law

Buses will depart from the Main Entrance of the University House at 18:30. Buses will return to the University House at 22:00.


Plenary IV: What Is The Role of the Dean Internally? Leadership Issues Within our Law Schools
Common Room

Main Floor


  • Chioma Kanu Agomo, Professor, University of Lagos, Nigeria
  • H. Reese Hansen,Professor, Brigham Young University, USA
  • Arie Reich, Dean, Bar Ilan University, Israel

Some possible questions

  • Role. What role does the Dean play in achieving the goals of the law school?
  • Status. Is a Deanship an honorable, sought-after and respected position, or a drudge to be avoided at all costs in favour of the real business of research and teaching?
  • Governance. What can we learn from a comparison of our diverse governance structures? Can ‘best practice’ be identified, or do different governance structures suit different cultures? What are the relative merits of a strong executive as against a more democratic governance structure? Who controls the curriculum?
  • Leader/Manager. What are the normative factors influencing the Dean’s role? How does the Dean respond to external pressures in discharging his or her internal role? Are there factors that make the Dean’s role peculiar to his or her country, region, or type of institution?
  • A possible practical outcome in relation to professional development?
  • Are there practical measures that might be taken to share decanal experience globally?
  • Is there scope for mentoring and professional development programs, or does this make too many assumptions about the universality of leadership qualities, the availability of resources, and the scope of what is within the practical power of the Dean?

Refreshment Break
Hall Foyer
Main Floor

Plenary V: What Is The Role of the Dean Externally?
Leadership Issues in Connecting with our External Communities

Common Room
Main Floor


  • Elizabeth R Parker, Dean, University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law, USA
  • Shashikala Gurpur, Dean, Symbiosis Law School, India

Some possible questions

  • How do external factors affect the Dean’s role as leader, including governance issues?
  • What is the Dean’s relationship with alumni?
  • What is the Dean’s role in fundraising, law reform, and other external activities?
  • Generally, as manager, setter of policy, and leader: what factors influence the role of the dean?
  • How does the Dean ‘represent’ and promote the law school externally?
  • Are the Dean’s internal and external roles compatible?

IALS Luncheon
The Hall
Main Floor

Small Group Discussion of Plenaries IV & V

See the handout in your materials folder for your small group assignment and its meeting room location.

Plenary VI: What Have We Learned From Each Other?
What Can We Learn From Each Other?
The Elusive Quest for Universals in a World of Difference
Common Room

Main Floor

Some possible questions

  • What can we learn from each other in considering the comparative role of law schools around the world and the comparative role of the law school Dean?
  • Are there any universals, or is it rather a matter of simply illuminating our understanding of our own system with the assistance of insights about other systems?
  • What explains difference in the comparative role of law schools around the world? Tradition, culture, resources, government policy, historical accident?
  • Is it possible for the conference to reach agreement on a ‘communiqué’ or ‘manifesto’, even if only aspirational, about the ideal role or roles that a law school might play in the advancement of civil society, or are the universals too elusive, too contentious, or too general to be useful?


  • Michael Coper, Dean, ANU College of Law, Australia

Closing Dinner Hosted by ANU College of Law
Australian National University
The Boathouse

Grevillea Park, Menindee Drive
, Barton, ACT

The Honorable Robert French, Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia

Buses will depart from the Main Entrance of the University House at 18:30. Buses will return to the University House at 21:30.<