Temple Times Online Edition
    NOVEMBER 4, 2004
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Law School receives additional $5M endowment for China program

The program is designed to educate the Chinese to help them create a fair, credible legal system

The Beasley School of Law has received a $5 million endowment grant from the Starr Foundation of New York in support of the Law School’s innovative masters of laws program in Beijing.

China has long been of special interest to the foundation, which was created by K.C. Starr, who founded the AIG Corp. in Shanghai. This latest gift — the Starr Foundation’s fifth since 1998 — brings the foundation’s total contributions to $9.5 million.

Temple’s master of laws program, established at the invitation of the Chinese government in 1999, is the first and only foreign law degree-granting program in China’s history. Students include some of China’s top legal professionals: judges, government officials, private attorneys, law professors and minority students. They are educated in U.S. and international law, and graduates are awarded a Temple LL.M. in international law.

More than 100 students have graduated from the program to date. Many former students have been promoted to increasing areas of responsibility. Also, practices considered standard in the American legal system are emerging — for instance, judges have begun issuing written judicial opinions, establishing a precedent in China.

The endowment grants for Temple’s rule of law program will allow for the continuation and expansion of the program by providing more student scholarships for the 15-month program, which includes study in Beijing and at Main Campus. The rule of law program in China also includes short-term training for judges and prosecutors, as well as support for working-groups comprising American and other Western scholars, attorneys, judges and businesspeople, to provide input to help in the development of China’s legal infrastructure. This year, the working groups have focused on China’s tort law reform, e-commerce and other Internet related legal issues and AIDS/healthcare regulation in China.

Temple’s groundbreaking program has also received contributions from a number of foundations and corporations, including the U.S. State Department, the Agency for International Development (USAID), the Trace and Luce Foundations, General Motors, DuPont, Caterpillar, Microsoft, ExxonMobil and CIGNA. Temple is the lead institution in the collaborative effort, which includes Tsinghua University, the New York University School of Law and Brigham Young University.

“Our corporate, foundation, university and government supporters understand that China’s success in the global market economy is dependent upon its establishing a fair and credible legal system,” said Robert J. Reinstein, dean of the Beasley School of Law. “Our program is designed to educate Chinese legal professionals as they construct and implement that system.”

- By Laura Feragen