Tuesday, January 20, 2015

          New AALS Section on East Asian Law and Society Points to Region’s Growing Prominence

          Professor Miyazawa was elected as the first Chair.
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          Professor Setsuo Miyazawa was recently chosen to be the first Chair of the new East Asian Law and Society section of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS).

          Chosen in an email election, Miyazawa said “I am very honored and excited to get elected as the inaugural Chair of the Section on East Asian Law and Society.”

          Professor Miyazawa is a legal sociologist and the leading scholar on Japanese judicial reform and has founded international associations on East Asian Law and society. He currently holds a joint appointment with Aoyama Gakuin University Law School in Tokyo. Since 2012, Professor Miyazawa has organized an annual UC Hastings Symposium on law and society in Japan.

          The new section of AALS will be tasked with uniting the disparate East Asian law school scholars across the United States to further opportunities for the field, facilitate discussion for research and provide scholars with networking opportunities. The Association of American Law Schools’ annual conference is the largest gathering of legal scholars in the country, and while it already has sections dealing with comparative law, international law and South Asian law, the study of Japanese, Chinese, Korean and other East Asian nations’ legal systems has grown dramatically in the past few years.

          “The need for lawyers who are knowledgeable about East Asia will continue to rise. The section should be a primary forum to discuss improvement in educating American law students in East Asian legal systems,” Miyazawa said.

          Furthermore, he emphasized that the largest group of foreign students at many American law schools is made up of East Asian students. “The section should provide a forum to discuss how American law schools should accommodate their needs while maintaining the integrity of American legal education, which I believe is best in the world in many respects,” he said. 

          UC Hastings recently launched its concentration in East Asian Legal studies in the spring of 2015, and is one of a handful of programs in the country to focus on the increasingly vital legal marketplaces in China, Japan, and Korea. Professor Miyazawa has been instrumental in establishing the new program with Professor Keith Hand.

          Matthew Wilson, the Dean of the University of Akron School of Law and the prior interim chair of the section, helped coordinate the online election and has known Professor Miyazawa for over a decade. 

          “Setsuo is an individual of incredible experience, depth, energy and vision, and he has shown that not only in Japan, but he has shown how he can extend that into the US and across the world,” he said.

          “The fact that he was elected to be the founding chair is a testament to his reputation among quality US scholars and I’m sure that the section will be very successful.”


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