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Agora; legal education


The Association of Transnational Law Schools [ATLAS] is a consortium of law schools from around the world that launched an annual academic summer program, called the Agora, for doctoral students in July of 2008. The authors outline the history of the creation of the program, describe it, and consider its significance as it relates to the changing landscape of legal practice and pedagogy. The Agora both reflects and furthers a trend in legal scholarship, and as a consequence legal education, toward a focus on a set of interrelated concerns, which include globalization, international governance, transnational law, comparative legal studies, legal transplantation and the apparent conceptual challenges that these pose. In important respects these new conceptual challenges have a long pedigree in questions about the scope of legal pedagogy and theory. The pedagogical controversy is rooted in questions about the purpose of legal education, namely, whether it is trade training and should focus on practical legal skills, or whether it should be conceived of as broader than this. Intimately connected to this pedagogical controversy is a legal-theoretical controversy about the scope of legal theory (and thus the nature of law and its investigation). Does the word “law” designate the organizational instruments of state power, or should we think of “law” as referring to a more diverse set of socialorganizational systems that may have greater or less affinity and connection with state law?