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Legal Education for Developing Countries: A Personal Case Study from Indonesia

Item

Title

Legal Education for Developing Countries: A Personal Case Study from Indonesia

Date

2005

Abstract

My own work in legal education has been about 20 years in developing countries and more than 20 years in the USA. The first phase outside the US was in three countries in Africa from 1961 to 1973, and the second was eight years in Indonesia between 1993 and 2004. The current quest for principles of effective development is yielding results, but too late to guide me. My guiding principles, whether right or wrong, were consistent. The generalities are easy to state. Legal education must be responsive to the needs of the country, and the 'effective lawyer' will not only know about modern law in the global age, but also will be able to apply it in drafting statutes and preparing teaching materials to educate the students, the new generation of lawyers. You must attract to the law school the students and teachers who are as excellent as possible. You must avoid one of the greatest barriers to effective legal skills, namely an education that is too rote, without sufficient opportunities to learn application. There are many ways to provide students with experience in applying the law, but that makes it important to note a limitation often overlooked by those who help plan education in developing countries: money. Faculty members are poorly paid and often needed to take outside jobs that interfere with other ambitions. Overall, law schools in developing countries often do not have the money for adequate libraries, or small-group programs like legal clinics. I have seen impoverished schools that had alleged clinics that were the equivalent of lecturing on 'how to ride a bicycle' to 150 people who do not know how to ride a bike. They will learn something, but not how to ride a bike.

Bibliographic Citation

Thompson, Cliff F. The Role of Law in Development: Past, Present and Future. Legal Education for Developing Countries: A Personal Case Study from Indonesia. Nagoya, Japan: Nagoya University, CALE Books, 2005. pgs. 21-32.