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US – China Law Deans Summit

China Summit2 Penn Law’s Michael Fitts and State Councilor Liu Yandong

An Unprecedented Meeting

In June 2011, law school deans from 19 of the top schools in China and the United States convened the first Sino-U.S. Deans Summit to focus on the present state and future needs of legal education in both countries, the role of law schools in society and in building the rule of law, and modes of collaboration among law schools to support academic and institutional goals.


A Joint Commitment to the Rule of Law and Legal Education

The summit participants also issued a joint statement outlining shared principles, including recognition of and support for the rule of law, and the objective of establishing ongoing two-way collaboration between top U.S. and China law schools.

The joint statement issued by the American and Chinese law deans noted that they:

  • Recognize and support the rule of law
  • Agree on the importance of promoting the integrity of the legal profession in the U.S. and China
  • Agree to discuss mechanisms for future cooperation by establishing a joint committee to discuss and develop ways to move forward.

Cooperation for the Future

The deans agreed to form a working group with five deans from each side to develop new programs that will foster multilateral exchanges between law schools, and to explore new initiatives that focus on substantive areas of law such as public health, the environment, and leadership.