Friday, September 12, 2008

Teaching Law in China (September Insights)

My classes have gone well (as far as I can tell). I am teaching a short 7 week class at Tsinghua University, which is supposedly a 10 minute cab ride. It took me 45 minutes when I went last Wednesday, in part because the cab driver took me to the wrong gate. I had learned, from my slender experience, to have the program administrator email me in both English and Chinese which gate we needed to go to. But apparently the East Gate of Tsinghua, which everyone knows is the East gate, actually opens south, a fact that my cab driver had not picked up, so he took me to the other East Gate. (Rick and I have decided that for any trip you should allocate at least twice as much time as you think you will need.) Because a professor in this Temple-Tsinghua LLM program had to leave due to a family illness, I'm switching over to teach Legal Reasoning, which meets twice a week (47 students).

Friday I teach Torts from 8 am - 11:10 at Renmin. This is apparently a typical graduate-level class. These students (about 25) have more stamina than I do! It has been fun to meet them and begin to hear their stories. The Chinese bar exam is taking place in later September so some students are working long hours to prepare. Returning students started classes last week, but new graduate students did not arrive until this week, so an additional 8 students joined the class. That makes it somewhat difficult to plan.

For you torts mavens out there, here's an interesting fact. In China, if a rich and poor man are standing side-by-side at the side of the road and are both killed by a drunk driver (my hypo) their damages are identical. In China damages are determined by the average wage in the city or area where the tort occurred. Quite a difference from the US system.

No comments: