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    On a Mission to Establish Academic Collaboration with Top US and Canadian Law Schools

    In the age of cyberspace, those who fail to adapt will be left far behind. We believe that the same can be said of legal education. Despite being recognized as the oldest and most prestigious law school in Thailand, we have never stopped developing our curricula to meet new challenges, and we have set our sights on the emergence of ASEAN Economic Community (the AEC) in 2015. Our main ambition is to bolster the recognition we have enjoyed for many years as one of the leading law schools in Asia and to elevate that to the global level. With the same though in mind, we launched our first English-taught master of laws degree (LL.M.) program in business law four years ago and the program has ever since attracted a lot of public attention.

    act03The commencement of the AEC in a few years time projects a potential influx of foreign lawyers and investors into member states and, inevitably, a prevalent use of English language in the Community. As we are committed to ensure that our graduates are well-equipped to compete with their peers, we has initiated another English-taught program for undergraduate students (English-taught LL.B.). This program focuses on the area of business law and it is scheduled to start in mid-August 2014.

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    While Thai law remains at the core of the new LL.B., we realise that students will need to expand their horizons beyond local law if they are to compete in the internationally-oriented business and legal landscape. We have drawn up plans to invite several law professors and scholars from world-class universities to give lectures to our LL.B. students. Student exchange programs have also been in consideration – where seen through, we will strongly encourage our future LL.B. students to participate. All these initiatives had led Professor Narong Jaiharn, Dean of the Faculty of Law, and his staff to visit North America in early October 2013 to seek academic cooperation with world-renowned North-American universities.

    Upon the 2013 trip, Dean Narong visited New York University School of Law to discuss with Professor Jennifer H. Arlen, an expert in corporate and economic law, as to the possibility of special lectures given by her fellow professors from the law school. Dean Narong also met Professor Deborah N. Archer, an associate dean, and Professor Frank Munger to seek academic cooperation. Professor Arlen showed her interest in giving special lectures for our LL.B. Program. She was also delighted to pass on the news about our new program to her fellow professors who may be interested to teach at Thammasat as well. The NYU law school is situated in a nice neighborhood in Greenwich Village and just across Washington Square Park. After years of expansions, the buildings of the New York University and the law school appear to dominate the collective sight of Greenwich Village and the Park.

    act04After visiting New York City, Dean Narong travelled to New Haven to meet Professor Robert C. Post, Dean of Yale Law School, and Professor W. Michael Reisman, a world class legal scholar. They exchanged views on legal education and cooperation both in Thailand and the United States. As a number of academic members of our law school are current students and alumni of Yale Law School themselves, Dean Narong expressed his appreciation for Yale Law School for its contribution to development of our young colleagues who were admitted to its LL.M. and SJD programs and hoped that more people from Law Thammasat would be accepted.

    On the trip to Yale, Dean Narong and his colleagues also had an opportunity to meet Professor Michael W. Reisman, a world-renowned professor of international law. He has supervised a number of Thai students for several years, some of whom currently teach at Thammasat.  Dean Narong extended his invitation to Professor Reisman to visit Thammasat and, if possible, to give special lectures. The trip to Yale certainly gave moral support to Dean Narong to carry out his mission to put our curriculum on par with those of world-class law schools.

    act05From the United States, Dean Narong traveled up North to visit one of the top law schools in Canada – Osgoode Hall Law School, York University. There, he had a chance to discuss the possibility of academic cooperation with Professor Lorne Sossin, Dean of Osgoode Hall Law School.  Both sides expressed their eagerness to seek out academic staff and student exchanges as well as joint research programs in common areas of interest.

    Having taken a firm step forward, Dean Narong, who has just taken up his position some months ago, is well down the path to making our law school remain ahead of the crowd.

    Amnat Wongbandit