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Law Schools to Be Introduced in 2008

Posted October. 05, 2004 21:51,   


A law school system will be introduced in Korea in 2008, and the present bar exam will remain effective for five years until 2012 before being abolished in 2013.

The Judicial Reform Committee announced the decision yesterday after holding its 21st meeting on Monday regarding the judicial education and selection system.

Among the 16 members present, 13 judges agreed on the system while two voted against, insisting on keeping the present bar examination, and one abstained. The committee is comprised of 21 members of the judicial circle, including law scholars, members of the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs, and civic group members.

The first entrance examination to the law schools is expected to be held in 2007.

While seven members were opposed to maintaining the current number of students, nine supported the provision of adjusting the number of law students, considering the supply and demand of the judicial circle, by setting the standard at the number of those who pass the bar examination in the first year of the new system, which is currently set at 1,000. Therefore, the number of students will be about 1,200, assuming that 80 percent of law school students will make it to become lawyers.

The issue will be further discussed and decided upon by the minister of Education and Human Resources, the chief justice of the Administrative Court, the president of the Korean Bar Association, and the president of the Korea Law Professors Association Inc.

Anyone with a B.A. or higher will be eligible to apply, and undergraduate GPA, language competency, aptitude test scores, and extra-curricular and volunteer activities will also be taken into consideration. There will be a limit to the number of applications.

Colleges with law schools will be ordered to abolish their current undergraduate law departments and will also be required to keep the number of their own students--who graduated from the same school--down to a certain limit when selecting law school students.

The current bar exam will remain effective for five years until 2012 and will be entirely abolished in 2003. The number of lawyers selected by the current system will be reduced from 2011, the first year of law school graduation. The Law School Committee will soon be established in order to decide on several issues such as which universities will establish law schools.

The Judicial Reform Committee will soon submit a formal motion for the plan to Supreme Court Chief Justice Choi Jong-young, who will then submit it to President Roh Moo-hyun.

Soo-Hyung Lee sooh@donga.com jin0619@donga.com