Prospects of Legal Scholarship: a symposium

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IMG_0787Source: Verfassungsblog

Tue 18 Feb 2014 Hannah Birkenkötter, Alexandra Kemmerer

Structural changes in the law present challenges to current legal research and the study of law in Germany – amongst them Europeanization, internationalization and transnationalization of the legal system. Thus, Germany ought to rethink the way in which it teaches law, how and under which conditions legal scholarship takes place in Germany, and how the system ought to be adapted to tackle the challenges ahead: this is, in a nutshell, the essence of the German Council of Science and Humanities’ report on Prospects of Legal Scholarship in Germany. Current Situation, Analyses, Recommendations. But if internationalization of the law presents a challenge, then shouldn’t we start a discussion on the state of legal scholarship beyond national borders?

This is the idea of Verfassungsblog’s upcoming symposium: Based on the report’s translation provided by the Council and under the auspices of the program Rechtskulturen and published in October 2013, Verfassungsblog wants to provide a platform to talk about the challenges identified in the report and to gather opinions not only from German legal scholars, but from those interested in the state of legal scholarship from around the world. Some questions that we are interested in are: how is the report perceived abroad? Are some of the problems and challenges that the report points to common to all legal systems? And what suggestions do scholars from other countries and regions have in order to tackle some of the specifically German issues, such as the existence of a first legal state examination?

That the state of legal education and scholarship is not only on Germany’s academic agenda, but also provides food for thought elsewhere, is evidenced by the recent report on the Future of Legal Education provided by the American Bar Association. Ralf Michaels kicks off the symposium by comparing the two legal systems and the issues identified by the report. Christopher McCrudden will then provide some input on how foreign faculty might be integrated into law schools, comparing the US system to his domestic UK system. And lastly, this week’s focus on internationalization of legal education is rounded off by Virgílio Afonso Da Silva, who will present his thoughts on some of the obstacles that prevail in German law faculties, preventing more international scholars to become members of those faculties. More contributions are planned for the coming week.

In the spirit of the report’s call for increased cross-border communication, we hope to inspire a true dialogue on the state and future of legal education and legal scholarship. Thus, we hope for lively discussion. Should you be interested in joining the conversation by contributing to the symposium, please let us know at We look forward to the debate!



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