As the nation gears up to transform its current system of judicial examinations into a graduate law school system in March next year, Ewha is moving faster to make sure its law school is one of the limited number to be authorized.
Ewha has been preparing to establish a law school for 13 years. Now it has formed a law school arrangement committee to implement plans, as there are only seven months left until the government announces its preliminary list of authorized law schools. The committee is comprised of the Ewha president; the deans of the College of Law, the Office of University Planning and Coordination, the Office of Admissions, and the Office of Financial Affairs; and most of the professors in the College of Law.
Professor Kim Moon-hyun, the dean of the College of Law, said, “Establishing a law school has become an important mission for enhancing the school’s reputation and we are pooling in as much help as we can. We have now divided the big team into six small groups to prepare detailed evaluation standards.”
The preliminary list of authorized law schools is scheduled to be announced in March 2008 based on proposals submitted by universities. Only schools that have thoroughly actualized their plans will finally be chosen for accreditation in October 2008. While more than 40 universities in the nation have expressed intentions to institute law schools, it is likely that only 15 to 20 will be selected by the government. This has created a fierce battle among universities.
The government has made its accreditation process mandatory to prevent confusion in the future legal market. As the opportunity for people to study law increases due to the new law school system, the number of people wanting to be lawyers is likely to be higher. Therefore, the government plans to limit the number of law schools to avoid a future oversupply of lawyers or lowering of quality in the legal market. In order for a university to institute a law school, it must meet standards for facilities, faculty,m and program development announced by the Ministry of Education in an August 1 draft.
The draft requires schools to provide a specialized law library and a mock court. Additionally, universities must have more than 20 full-time professors in law school—20 percent of whom must be lawyers with more than five years of actual experience in the field.
In order to meet these standards, Ewha built a new law building in February 2006 that has large lecture rooms provided with high-tech equipment, a mock court room that closely resembles an actual court, and a specialized library. Ewha has also recruited 28 professionals in basic and specialized law. The number of professors who have more than five years of actual experience is six, which satisfies the authorization standard. But to gain more competitiveness, Ewha plans to employ ten more professors during the second semester.
Furthermore, a pre-law program is going to be launched soon. The law school bill requires schools to recruit one third of its students from departments other than law and another third from other universities. So, Ewha plans to adopt a system to provide opportunities for students from other majors to readily prepare for the Legal Education Eligibility Test (LEET), which undergraduates who wish to enter law school must take.
Ewha has also agreed to create exchange programs with foreign law schools at the
Kim said, “What makes Ewha distinct from other universities is its absolute superiority in law practices concerning life ethics, families, and women’s rights. The school’s research institute for law concerning life ethics was designated as an eminent research center for life ethics by the Ministry of Health and Welfare in 2006. Also, in the same year, Ewha signed a partnership agreement to promote legal education for women with the Ministry of Justice. Ewha plans to open a center for female legal training inside the law research institute. Specializing in these areas, I believe that Ewha has infinite potential and is likely to be selected as the leading women’s law school in
Many students studying law are as excited as the Ewha administration and wish for the successful launch of a law school. Oh Seung-hyun (Law, 3) said, “I heard that the curriculum of the law schools would be largely comprised of practical training based on case studies and student discussions. I think this system is really desirable since lawyers who have just graduated from the Judicial Research and Training Institute after passing the judicial examination are often said to lack practical capabilities.”
Ahn Jin-hee (Law, 3) said, “I have recently stopped studying for the judicial examination out of desire to study abroad in a foreign law school. However, if the law school system in
Under the new law school system, which will start in 2009, students who hope to become lawyers will have to complete three years of law school after graduating from university. In order to prevent confusion arising from the sudden change, the judicial examination is projected to remain until 2013.