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As Chinese students gathered around a large conference table at Pepper Hamilton in Philadelphia, they fired away with a myriad of questions on the American legal system to Pepper presenters James Murray, Murray Levin and Janet Perry during a seminar on legal ethics. Although the students lacked an American frame of reference, they listened intently as they learned first-hand about the inner workings of a large law firm. During the question and answer session, they grilled the three Pepper attorneys, creating challenging hypothetical scenarios of legal and ethical dilemmas and asking how to properly resolve them according to the rules of professional conduct. Their increased grasp of American law became evident as their scenarios intensified in complexity. By the end of the session, they began to demonstrate not only their hold on legal ethics but also their increased understanding of American ambition as they inquired what the current starting salary of first-year associates was and how long it takes to become a partner. Clearly, they were ready to embrace advancement, both domestically and internationally. The Pepper forum was part of the ongoing American experience for a class of 35 Chinese students currently enrolled in Temple University’s Beasley School of Law’s Beijing program. On June 1, Temple welcomed them to Philadelphia to continue their studies. This group of lawyers, judges and law professors will spend two months in the United States taking courses in legal ethics, international trade relations and constitutional law. With myriad events crammed into a fleeting two-month time frame, Temple’s Chinese students are taking a crash course in East Coast geography as well as American law. With trips to New York and Washington, D.C., scheduled into the itinerary, students will have quite a few hands-on learning experiences as they visit the American Bar Association, the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, Independence Hall and Pepper Hamilton. Inside the classroom, Temple law professor Eleanor Myers said she has found it pleasantly challenging to teach a course in professional responsibility. With expertise in this area of law, Myers has been working closely with the Chinese students to familiarize them with the ethical aspects of the American legal system. “Teaching professional responsibility is always a challenge, even to American law students. Many of them do not have an accurate impression of what it is like to practice law, so notions of professionalism and duties to clients are highly abstract,” Myers said. “Those difficulties are magnified in teaching the Chinese students because they do not bring a frame of reference regarding the U.S. government, history or societal norms. It is hard to know where to start when trying to acquaint them with the American legal profession.” Because the students lack an American frame of reference, Myers has found that her opinions carry more weight than she is used to, and finds herself in a position of greater overall authority. “The students accord me a degree of respect and deference to which I am not accustomed,” Myers said. “A lovely, perhaps commonplace, example is that [they] rush to erase the blackboard for me as a sign of respect at the beginning of class and at break.” One particular activity organized by Myers was a viewing of “The Road to Brown,” a film on Brown v. Board of Education. This was the first of two movie nights, both sharing the theme of professional responsibility. Chinese student Deng-shan Cui expressed his admiration for Charles H. Houston after seeing the film. “Being a lawyer and working in a law school stimulated him and helped him a lot in such a struggle,” Cui said. “When he became respectable and influential, he turned into an image of a public citizen as well as an established legal professional. That in turn helped him to fulfill his social ambitions to bring about a change in the world at that time.” Cui invented a cross-cultural analogy to illustrate Houston’s actions, comparing and contrasting the differences in civil and common law. “The way in which Charles H. Houston planned to challenge the bad law may not be applicable in countries with civil legal systems where there is no concept of consideration, precedent rule and equitable remedy. That Houston intended to set up precedents to bring about the change is only workable in common law because cases under civil law are not acknowledged with binding legal effect. “This does not mean that bad laws under a civil legal system cannot be challenged. Nor does it mean that common law is better than civil law. Under different societies with different situations, different users may evaluate the legal system in different views. Between chopsticks and forks, can the users conclude easily which is better?” On Monday, the students took a field trip to Pepper Hamilton, where they learned more about legal ethics as well as both national and international law practice. The forum was organized by Pepper attorney Neil Tanner, a former participant in the Temple law program in Japan. Tanner is also an adjunct professor of law at Temple, where he co-teaches international business planning. Murray, Pepper’s executive partner, began with a presentation on the organization of Pepper Hamilton to familiarize the students on the how large law firms are structured in the United States. “This was a good opportunity for us to continue to build a relationship with China,” Murray said. “As the world’s economy becomes the world economy, these professional and personal ties become increasingly more important.” Partner Levin then highlighted the growing importance of international business and Pepper’s nearly 10-year presence in China as a business consultant. Levin is a member of various international bar associations. “As foreign companies and entities come to the United States while American businesses simultaneously expand overseas, the significance of international dispute resolution is greatly increasing,” Levin said. Perry, the firm’s director of professionalism, spoke third and explained her three areas of expertise at Pepper Hamilton: professional responsibility, professional development and pro bono publico service. Her presentation attempted to explain the American law code of ethics using the Pennsylvania rules of professional conduct. Perry also emphasized the importance and necessity of pro bono work, which she termed an obligation of all lawyers. Perry then applied these aspects of the legal profession to Pepper Hamilton, explaining how various departments incorporate these rules and requirements into practice. With more events to come throughout the remainder of June and the entire month of July, the students will be exposed to a plethora of activities and opportunities that will give them a stronger hold of the American legal profession. In recognition of their need for an increase in development and refinement of current commercial laws, the Chinese Ministry of Justice invited Temple to create a master of law degree program to teach Chinese lawyers how to address such issues. With this knowledge, the Chinese will be able to better attract foreign investors and create new trade opportunities. Temple currently has the only foreign degree-granting program in China; here, participants earn an LL.M. degree in American and international law. “In light of the recent vote in the House to grant normal trade rights to China, our program has never been more relevant,” said Temple law professor Jan Ting, chair of the faculty’s China Committee. “First-hand knowledge of how the legal process works in the United States will give them insight into the concerns of American businesses and may give them ideas about how they want to develop their own legal system.” “I took this LL.M. program to develop more legal tools which will be helpful in my legal practice,” Cui said. He expressed gratitude to Temple for providing him with this opportunity. “Maybe years later when people look back upon this page of history, it will prove that Temple has always been in the lead.”

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