On August 7, 2017, the Temple-Tsinghua Beijing Master of Laws (LL.M.) program opened with its 18th class. There was great enthusiasm during the opening ceremony as students embark upon the next step of globalizing their legal careers. The class has 45 students from a broad range of legal backgrounds.
John Smagula, Director and Associate Professor, China Rule-of-Law Program, at Temple Law School led the events. He reminded the students of the hard work ahead, while also encouraging them to make the most of the experience. “I am confident that you all have the capacity to excel in your studies,” he said, “and the faculty and staff join me in our commitment to your success.”
Smagula also delivered the greetings from Temple President Richard Englert, Executive Vice President and Provost JoAnne Epps, Law School Dean Gregory Mandel, and Law School Assistant Dean Louis Thompson. “Although we may be far from main campus,” Smagula said, “our university and law school administration cares deeply about this program and considers you to be an integral part of the Temple family.”
Students begin with a one-month intensive Legal English program, which is comprised of four courses. Professor Smagula teaches the U.S. Legal system; Peter Fox, Temple JD alumnus and legal editor at AIAL Shanghai Consulting teaches Case Briefing; John Rogers, commercial attorney and Northwestern Kellogg School of Management adjunct professor teaches Law School Skills; and Irene Wei, professor at China University of Politics and Law, teaches Listening and Speaking on Legal Topics. Through these courses, students acquire a thorough knowledge of the American legal system, legal education, and legal reasoning.
Upon completion of the Legal English classes, students continue with 30 credits of coursework in a range of U.S. and international law subjects, including contracts, torts, property, business associations, professional responsibility, intellectual property, and corporate compliance. Next May, the students will attend a summer session on Temple’s main campus in Philadelphia, where they will study trial advocacy, legal writing, and legal practice.
The LL.M. is a 15-month program approved by the Chinese Ministry of Education and acquiesced by the American Bar Association. All coursework is taught in English, and students graduate with an official Temple Law School diploma and Tsinghua Law School certificate of completion. Launched in 1999, the Beijing LLM program is the first and longest-running cooperative legal education program in China. To date, there are 634 alumni in the public and private sectors, with an active Chinese alumni association in national and regional chapters.