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Visit Strengthens Michigan Law's
Ties With China

by Katie Vloet

August 4, 2011
Dean Evan Caminker says a recent U.S.-China law deans' summit in Beijing and a lecture at one of China's strongest law schools helped to reinforce ties between Michigan Law and the world's most populous country.

"This is a vital time for Michigan Law—and all U.S. law schools—to focus on global issues. China is particularly important right now because of its influence on the world stage, and because of its rapidly changing legal landscape," Caminker says. "Michigan Law has had strong ties with China for more than a century, and I am pleased that we are continuing to build on that relationship."

Participants in the Sino-U.S. Deans' Summit, in addition to Dean Caminker, included the deans of Berkeley, Chicago, Penn, Stanford, Virginia, and Yale, and the major Chinese law schools, including Peking University, China People's University, China University of Politics and Law, and Tsinghua Law School, all in Beijing, and national powerhouses like East China University of Politics and Law in Shanghai, Southwest University of Politics and Law in Chongquing, and Xiamen University in the Fujian Province. At the end of the summit, the Chinese and U.S. law deans issued a joint statement in which they outlined shared principles. Those included recognition of and support for the rule of law, and the objective of establishing ongoing two-way collaboration between top U.S. and Chinese law schools. Dean Caminker was joined at the summit by Professor of Law Nicholas Howson, a specialist in Chinese law, and Virginia Gordan, assistant dean for international affairs at Michigan Law, who has been involved with China-U.S. legal exchange for more than two decades.

At the conclusion of the summit, Caminker visited China People's University (Renda) and its law school to give a lecture to a large group of Chinese scholars and students. Entitled "Behind the Burgundy Curtain: How the Supreme Court Really Works," the lecture detailed the dean's behind-the-scenes insights on how the U.S. Supreme Court operates.

During the visit, Caminker, Howson, and Gordan met with the dean and leadership of the China People's University Law School—ranked as the number one law school in the P.R.C. —to continue discussions on increased cooperation and exchange between the two schools. After returning to Ann Arbor, Howson commented, "The Deans' Summit was very useful—an unprecedented opportunity to get many of the most prominent U.S. and Chinese law deans in one room, talking about shared problems in the most concrete and honest way possible. The follow-up visit to Renda, formerly led by Dean Wang Liming (a research scholar at Michigan Law in 1989–90), made even stronger the ties between Michigan Law School and China's most impressive law teaching institution."


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