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The Next Generation of Lawyers: The Growth of Mexican Legal Education. Luis Fernando Pérez Hurtado JSD Candidate, Stanford Law School Global Legal Skills Conference III February 2008. Growth of Legal Education. The number of law schools in Mexico has risen dramatically:

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The next generation of lawyers the growth of mexican legal education l.jpg

The Next Generation of Lawyers: The Growth of Mexican Legal Education

Luis Fernando Pérez Hurtado

JSD Candidate, Stanford Law School

Global Legal Skills Conference III

February 2008


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Growth of Legal Education

The number of law schools in Mexico has risen dramatically:

  • From 118 in the Academic Year 1991-92,

    to 930 in 2006-2007.

  • This means a new law school has opened every week, during the last 15 years.


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Question

  • Why the number of law schools has increased so fast during the last years?

  • What are the characteristics of these new law schools?


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Background

  • Law degree is an undergraduate degree

  • Requirements to become a lawyer:

    • Program must be part of the National System of Education

    • Take and pass all courses

    • Mandatory pro bono work

    • Internal requirements

    • Administrative process to obtain the license


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Relevance

  • 11% of higher-education students are law students:

    • Most pursued HE degree in Mexico

  • Lack of opportunities for professional practice:

    • There is a “surplus” of 87,469 lawyers; 47.5% of law school graduates

      Source: ANUIES.


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Possible answers:

The number of law schools has rapidly increased because:

  • Growth of higher education in general

  • Relatively easy to offer a law degree

  • Multiple ways to come into contact with law

  • Multiple and combinable reasons to study law


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Data

  • Personal database of 930 law schools in the Academic Year 2006-2007.

  • Questionnaires applied to 22,000 law students and 700 professors.

  • Around 100 interviews with public officials, law school deans and academic directors.

  • On-site observations at 45 law schools around the country.

    Additional data:

  • Secretary of Public Education: Database of higher education enrollment.

  • Relevant literature.


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Expanding Access to Higher Ed.

  • Main focus in HE public policy since the 80’s.

  • Group of 20-24-year-olds in HE in Mexico has increased from 10% in 1980 to 23% in 2006 (est.); but still below the average in Latin America (28.5%), and the OECD countries (54%).

  • Enrollment increased from 731,147 students in 1980 to 2,150,146 in 2006 (194%).

  • Concentration in just three degrees: law, administration and public accountant (32%).


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Relatively easy to offer a law degree

  • Different ways to becoming part of the National System of Education.

  • Low investment on infrastructure, faculty and library:

    • One classroom per class

    • Around 90% of professors in law schools are practitioners

      Academic earnings: Most professors responded that these earnings are low or insignificant compared to their general professional income

    • Basic library


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Characteristics of new Law Schools

Comparing them in 1997-98 and 2006-2007:

  • Mostly private institutions: Their enrollment increased 97% vs. 8% in public universities

  • Mostly small institutions: 56% of private law schools have 100 or fewer students.

    Number of law schools increased 156% vs. enrollment 41%

  • Mostly part of a system: 57% are part of a group of institutions.

  • Higher growth in regions with lower access rates.

  • Higher growth in non-metropolitan areas.

  • If they are located in metropolitan areas: institutions are located in strategic places and programs take less time, are specialized in specific legal areas and offer flexible schedules.


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Multiple forms to come into contact with law

1. Situation of injustice

2. Influence of relatives or friends

3. Professional contact with practice

4. Academic contact with law courses

5. Others


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Interest on Law Degree

Multiple and combinable reasons to study law

1. Content of curriculum

2. Social impact

3. Legal practice (including diverse places and areas)

4. Personal benefits

5. Others


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Conclusions

The number of institutions and the enrollment in legal education have increased mainly because of the expansion of higher education. The law degree has been an easy and inexpensive option to be offered by new institutions. It also has been an attractive option for prospective students because of previous contact with law and the multiple benefits they can obtain form a law degree.


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Future research

  • What kind of global legal skills should the “new” students learn in law school, considering their background and expectations, and their real possibilities to find a law-related job?

  • What kind of global legal skills are new law schools reallistically able to offer to their students?


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More Information:

[email protected]

www.educacionjuridica.org


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