Fordham Notes: Fordham's Stein Center Helps Break Geo-Barriers Through "Law Without Walls"

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Fordham's Stein Center Helps Break Geo-Barriers Through "Law Without Walls"

As an alternative to spending hours in the law library working on a paper, last semester two Fordham Law students earned credit through a collaborative internet-based course offered in a budding global law school community.

Law Without Walls (LWOW), is an experimental program launched in the spring by Miami Law School with five partner universities: Fordham Law School, Harvard Law School, New York Law School, the law school at University College London, and the Peking School of Transnational Law.

The collaboration groups students, faculty, practitioners, and entrepreneurs from around the world into teams to study new developments in the legal profession and to propose innovative professional practices. Last semester, the students' projects included proposing new billing structures for law firms, a plan to make Shari’ah-compliant finance more accessible in the U.S., developing emotional intelligence training for lawyers and developing virtual resources to help pro se clients to better present their cases at trial.

Each student group had the assistance of an academic mentor, a practitioner mentor, an entrepreneur advisory board and a subject expert board to ensure creativity and value in their projects.

Bruce Green (top), Louis Stein Professor of Law and director of the Stein Center for Law and Ethics, acted as academic mentor to students from China and New York Law School. Green’s Fordham students, Mari Byrne (center) (GSAS, LAW ‘ 11) and Marc Sittenreich (LAW ’11), worked on separate projects with students from Harvard and London, while being mentored by faculty from China and London.

The students presented their final projects at Miami Law and received credit at that time.
“The course's concept reflects the globalization of the legal profession,” said Green. “The course provides students with experience working in a way we think lawyers are increasingly going to have to work in a globalized profession – collaborating with professionals from different legal cultures and overcoming the obstacles of borders and time zones and internet conferences.”

Green said that LWOW would be in session again next spring, this time with even more students, more participating universities – and more time zones.

“Somebody is going to be on the phone at 1:30 in the morning,” he said.

—Janet Sassi

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