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All about Law School

 

On February 4, the Ministry of Education and Human Resources announced a proposed law school list to negotiate disputes ahead of the final decision. It will give final approval to them around September after examining whether the candidates have implemented their initial proposals, such as the number of faculties, curriculum, facilities and scholarship programs. The new graduate law school will open in March 2009.

 

DongGuk University (DGU) was not included in the 25 universities. And the Ministry of Education ranked in top 25. The reasons about the exclusion fuelled a controversy. The universities which were not permitted to establish a law school, have opposed in various ways; from law suit, to demonstrations against the government, even retiring presidents of universities. The others, with a law school license, also got angry in opposition to ranking in the top 25.

Major universities have prepared for law schools, by offering specialized fields - the law of I•T media, law for woman, law on immovable property, and so on.

 

DGU has prepared rigorously for a law school license.

DGU was sixteenth - 7.6 per a year - on the charts, which is a successful candidate's number in the judicial 5-year examination. Besides, the Dept. of Law has employed a number of professors. DGU expanded educational facilities and reconstructed the structure of College of Law for a law school license. Moreover, DGU has prepared from creating scholarships - at least 50% of an entrance quota - to supporting student welfare.

DGU remodeled ManHae Hall, a major part of which for the law school. ManHae Hall has a moot court, a specialized library in connection with jurisprudence, legal information center, an information retrieval center and a multimedia center. The cost of reconstructing was estimated at 15 billion won.

 

Present conditions of DGU

DGU has failed in a law suit against the unfair standard of law school. On February 5, DGU filled out a legal application form, and on February 7, DGU demanded reexamination. "We will continue to confront legally for a law school license, which was announced in Sept," the ad hoc committee member of law school said. On February 11, DGU community, including professors, students and Buddhists also demanded the ministry to reconsider its decision in front of Central Government Complex on Sejongno Street. “While law school's bill lays itself open to protest, Education Ministry is hastily proceeding it,” Back In-hyeok, the chairperson of the college of law at DGU, said. He expects the bill to be dealt with fairly and conscientiously. "We plan to demonstrate to law school's result in association with different universities failed to get a law school license," he added.

DGU will continue legal actions for law school license. “Because a law school is important for DGU's power, we will struggle to build law school by working with Buddhism groups,” a staff of the College of Law at DGU said.

The College of Law feel they owe DGU and students an apology for failing in getting the license. “Some professors have been employed for law school lecture on major and cultural studies from this term," We hired new law professors specialized in certain areas this semester in order to increase the chance of being authorized to establish a law school," the staff of the college of law said. DGU invested much of their budget in the short run for law school license, remodeling Manhae Hall. DGU should improve the environment of education anyhow. “From now on, ManHae Hall will continue to be remodeled," he said.

 

Situation of Universities that got the License

-Ewha Women's University

Ewha Women´s University(EU) has gotten the license. The number of entering students is 100. It is going to make the education of women of a law's character. EU also will make the most of life medical treatment of a law ´s character.

“We will analyze the power of persuasive power," Kim Moon-hyeon, the dean of the College of law at EU, said.

 

Problems of Rating Between Metropolitan Areas and Other Provinces

Assigned student quota was decided at 57% for metropolitan areas including Gangwon-do, 43% for other provinces. Therefore, the universities which are located in other provinces resisted because they had insisted that they must be assigned at least 48% of 2000 students. Education Ministry said that universities which are situated in metropolitan areas are better prepared than local universities. So the universities at metropolitan area form more student quota than other provinces.

Because of rating problems metropolitan area's universities and local universities set up opposition. The former claimed that logic of balancing with local development must not over-ride the efficiency of education. The aim of the law school system is to produce lawyers who are competent at home and abroad.

The latter, however, insisted that balanced regional development is important. They also added, "if the government does not care about the growth of local universities and does not give some benefits to them, they will keep losing their local students who prefer metropolitan area universities."

 

Schools which Fail to Get the license

Chosun University put 55.7 billion Won into it, which is over 12 times more than Seoul University spent. It also built the infrastructure which can give good quality education by establishing an individual law school building, its own dormitory, library, a computer room and so on.

After Chosun University failed to get a law school license, they took legal steps.

Dankook University secured 27 full-time professors. The student rate was adjusted to 8.8 persons per professor. It will build a new library which can accommodate 50 thousands law books and run scholarship programs which will benefit 80% of the students. After the announcement that the university would not have a law school license, its people demonstrated against Education Ministry's decision.

 

Selection Standards & Opinions about Law School and the Education Ministry

Education Ministry announced a final decision about the list of universities selected for law schools on February 4th. 25 universities out of 41 universities which applied for the license were selected - 15 in the metropolitan area and 10 in local provinces.

On the 4th of February, Kim Sin-il who is the deputy Prime Minister and Education ministry formally said, "We have done our best for to be fair."

He said that the Council of Legal Education established a total of 132 standards after a five or six hour conference at least once a week. And after having received license applications the Council of Legal Education conducted thorough screening which took about two months including written inspections, on-site inspections and so on. They also let committee members conduct inspections for each university.

He said the Education Ministry examination was divided into 5 districts and keep ground rules of producing the best lawyers and of balancing between regions. He also inspected each university's law school student quota. "After we considered various factor, we ultimately determined the assigned rate of student quota at 57(metropolitan area- 1140 students) and 43(in other provinces: 860 students)."

In the case of the Metropolitan areas, we graded each schools according to the valuation records. To give as many chances as possible we assigned the student quota if it is small.

In case of the 4 provinces, where universities gained highest score classified by each region, they assigned the student quota more than average. To the universities below the average points, Education Ministry decided to allot student quota by considering collective valuation scores, level of producing lawyers and so on.

He also said about future plan. "We will have universities acquire a law school license in a way of checking in detail on all matters. If authorized universities do not live up to our expectation, we will cancel schools' license."

Law school will solve associated problems such as unemployment of the students who were studying for civil examination. He expects to relieve metropolitan area's concentration of lawyers by establishing law school at the provinces. It will produce lawyers who have different social and local backgrounds. This will solve the problem of regional unbalance and enhance the accessability of legal services for local residents.

He also said, "I am deeply sorry to the universities which prepared to get a law school license with great fervor but failed. And I wish many more universities will participate in law school system by expanding total student quota."

For conclusion, he asked that success or failure of law school system depends not only on universities' ability but also on cooperation with all society member including people who are in the field of law.

 

The Post searched for two universities (Konkuk University and Cheju National University) which received pre authorization from the Ministry of Education.

<Konkuk University>

Konkuk University specializes in immovables. Firstly, Konkuk University invited 39 professors from all different law fields. Among the 39 professors was Hong Il-pyo, who was in the office of the chief of the Judical Research and Training Institute and the president of a court. He will be joining the Konkuk Law School. Also professor Choi Yoon-hee will be one of the professors in Konkuk University who was the professor at the Judical Research and Training Institute and has worked as a lawyer, judge and prosecutor. Jeong Hae-bang who was the former vice-minister of the Ministry of Planning and Budget will become a Konkuk University law school professor. Jo Sang-hee, who was DJ in the MBC radio program related to law will also takes part in Konkuk University Law School. Taw-law specialist professor Kim Young-woo will be another Konkuk University Law School professor. Park Chun-ho who was the judge in International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea will join the Konkuk Law School.

Also Konkuk University will relate to law firms in order to provide practical law-friendly environment for the students. Kim&Chang, Lee&Ko, Yoon Yang Kim Shin&Yu, and Barunlaw are the law firms that will be working with Konkuk University.

Secondly, Konkuk University is ready with scholarship for all students. 50% of the students will receive half scholarship and the other 50% of the students will get full scholarship. Also Konkuk University plans to attract external scholarship.

<Cheju National University>

Firstly, Cheju National University plans to specialize in 5 fields as follows: (The information is from the Cheju National University Law School homepage.)

1. International investment and trade that is likely to see a rise in demand for its legal services considering the geopolitical position of the Jeju Free International City project.

2. Special laws related to building a Jeju Free International City (JFIC) and Special Self-Governing Province (SSGP).

3. China-related law, considering the greater influence on trade, foreign investment and tourists occurs with China.

4. Tourism, information technology (IT), medical care and primary industries on which the provincial governments puts emphasis.

5. Foreign law (U.S, EU, Japan and so on) for the expansion of Free Trade Agreements (FTA) and the increasing the flow of capital and goods.

6. Peace and human rights law, considerin Jeju province has been designated as a "peace island". This information was from Cheju National University's law school homepage.

Secondly, Cheju National University plans to have 5.2 students per one professor and 150 students in total by 2011.

Moreover, renovation 4988.66㎡ with four-floor building will be ready by 2011. Laboratories, libraries only for law school students, professors' offices, and a moot court will be prepared as well. For Scholarship, Cheju National University is thinking of offering about ten billion won.

On the other hand, even though pre-authorized universities are investing school facilities and planning for students scholarship, universities have trouble operating law school with such small numbers of students at the assigned schools. Universities are protesting that the number of students each universities allocated is way below their expectation and that managing a law-school will be difficult. Thus universities are planning to raise school income. School expense might raise up to around 1.5million won. For an instance, Konkuk University extended a call for 39 professors, while it only could accept 40 students. With only 40 students', Konkuk University said it cannot manage the law school. Seoul National University received a quota of 150 students. Seoul National University also has a problem with operating their law school with such a small number of students.

On the other hand, Korea University is in dilemma of whether to turn down the chance to open the law school or not. After the announcement of considering the rejection, Korea university stepped back saying it would ask students and alumni. Although the conflict between Korea University and the Ministry of Education has settled down for a while, it seems to take quite a long time to solve all of the problems related to law school.

 

Next, let us find out about the Leet ('Legal Education Eligibility Test)

1. What is LEET?

LEET is a test for students who want to be accepted into law school. LEET will not include questions related to law but will assess understanding, reasoning and writing. LEET is composed of three parts; language understanding, reasoning and writing. Language understanding takes 90 minutes with 40 multiple-choice questions. Reasoning part takes 120 minutes with 40 questions. Writing is composed of two to four questions to answer and will take 150 minutes. Students can see their score for each section but the total score will not be posted.

In January 26, 2008 mock LEETs were given at Hanyang Technical high School. Students who were interested in law school had a chance to test themselves with a real LEET. Students were chosen by lots (randomly) by computer. As a result, 673 out of 1000 students had the chance to take a mock LEET.

2. How to prepare for LEET

For the language understanding part, students should read classic books everyday and have basic understanding including arts, literature, philosophy and culture. In addition, it would be better for students to study at least six months.

For the reasoning part, students should study logic. Since reasoning part is divided into two parts (reasoning and verifying) students are required to study both parts respectively. Like the language understanding this part requires steady studying. Most importantly students have to think in logical ways in their everyday life.

For the writing section LEET writing test is approximately the same as the college writing test. Students should view social issues in a law-perspective. To succeed, they should try to demonstrate a critical view about the topic they are writing. Creative thinking would be another point to get a higher score.

 

You Sun-hee

Lee Soo-jin

Kwak Gyu-ryeon

You Sun-hee  sunheeyou@dongguk.edu

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