Promoting Intercultural Legal Competence

McGeorge is leading an initiative to promote what we call intercultural legal competence — the ability of attorneys to deal with parties from different nations and cultures and to handle disputes and transactions involving different legal systems.

This initiative started in August 2011 with a conference at Lake Tahoe, where 39 professors from all over the world discussed how to promote intercultural legal competence in law school students. This "Tahoe II" conference builds upon the successful model established by our 2005 conference at the same location ("Tahoe I") at which leading professors from law schools around the United States explored means to introduce all students to international and comparative law.

A comprehensive report on the “Tahoe II” conference discussions, accompanied by written remarks from speakers there, will soon be available online, after it is published in the McGeorge Global Business & Development Law Journal. The Tahoe II Report provides an extended exploration of the learning objectives sought in promoting intercultural legal competence and a menu of curricular vehicles for achieving these objectives.

Among the ways in which McGeorge seeks to promote intercultural legal competence is our Inter-American Program, our Post-Internship Intercultural Legal Competence Workshop, and our pioneering Global Lawyering Skills (GLS) Program.

The McGeorge Inter-American Program — an innovative law school educational initiative designed to graduate bilingual and intercultural lawyers who are competent to work with Latino clients in the U.S. or on Latin American matters. Professor Raquel Aldana is the founder and director of the Inter-American Program.

McGeorge holds innovative Post-Internship Intercultural Legal Competence Workshops as a follow-up to overseas internships by McGeorge students. In the workshop, students engage in comparative reflections upon the legal and broader cultural differences they encountered during their internships.

The pioneering GLS program integrates international and comparative law into a comprehensive research and writing program, requiring students to use international as well as domestic sources to solve client problems. This approach to globalizing law school curriculum led to a recent article in the Journal of the Legal Writing Institute citing GLS as the most significant integration of international and comparative law in a legal writing program to date. Students gain intercultural legal competence through completion of the two-year GLS program, which is required of all McGeorge graduates