From 11 July through 14 July 2023, Regional Dialogue and TSUL hosted a first-ever Summer School aimed at preparing TSUL students and graduates who were planning to enter LLM programs at universities in the USA. This program marked the first of its kind in Uzbekistan and was a significant milestone for legal education in the country.
The summer school was meticulously designed by E. Joan Blum, an Associate Professor of Practice at Boston College Law School. She was joined by two esteemed American experts in international legal education: Lurene Contento, Professor of Legal Writing at Chicago-Kent College of Law and renowned global legal skills consultant, and Daniel Hassenfeld, a lawyer and visiting professor at TSUL.
Over the course of four days, TSUL graduates and senior students were introduced to the intricacies of legal education in the United States. The curriculum covered various aspects, including an overview of the US legal system, fundamental concepts in US law, and essential analytical skills that would prove indispensable for their future law studies at American universities. Students actively engaged in diverse discussions on crucial public policy topics, such as the role of lawyers in US society, reasonable limitations on tort liability, and the enforcement of contracts.
To ensure a comprehensive learning experience, the program utilized a combination of large-group interactive lectures and small-group working sessions. The lectures not only set clear expectations for US law students but also covered key areas commonly studied during the first year of JD programs, including Civil Procedure, Torts, Contracts, and Constitutional Law. In an effort to simulate a real classroom setting, a Torts class was role-played, presenting students with typical questions that professors might ask.
In the small-group sessions, supervised by the three experts, students honed their analytical skills, a critical aspect of legal education, as cases are often the basis of law in the US. ”We are focusing on how to read a case and figure out what the court is saying about the law. This is a central skill for American law students,” Joan Blum emphasized. Students were also introduced to the significance of statutory interpretation, essential for comprehending and applying statutes effectively. Collaborative activities in these smaller groups included close readings of cases and statutes, presenting case analyses, and engaging in legal problem-solving. Furthermore, students were given the opportunity to showcase their newfound knowledge and skills through individual presentations, where they proposed solutions to legal issues and delivered oral arguments.
The program’s comprehensive approach also extended beyond purely academic subjects. A session dedicated to providing a broader perspective on being a law student in the US addressed various aspects of US culture on campus and beyond. This session explored topics such as personal safety, diversity, equity, and inclusion, providing a well-rounded experience for the participants.
Regional Dialogue extends its heartfelt wishes for success to all the students embarking on their LLM programs in the USA. Regional Dialogue hopes that the knowledge and experiences gained during the Summer School will serve as a solid foundation for their future endeavors. With this pioneering initiative, TSUL, Regional Dialogue, and the program faculty have played a crucial role in advancing legal education in Uzbekistan and promoting academic excellence on an international level.
The event was made possible with funding provided by the U.S. Department of State DRL Bureau.