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Legal Community Is Divided over Law School System

Posted July. 09, 2007 03:03,   


Controversy over the number of law school students to be admitted between law professors and the Bar Association has arisen, since total enrollment affects the interests and social standing of professors and lawyers, as well as the number of law schools to be established.

However, it is not easy to reach an agreement on the number of students admitted, as each party has different opinion on an enrollment, ranging from 1,200 to 4,000.

It was said in a "seminar regarding law school" hosted by the Korea Law Professor Association on Saturday that the government should be more flexible in scheduling law school establishment and determining the number of law schools.

Lee Ki-soo, a law professor of Korea University and the association director, said after the seminar, "The number of enrollments should be flexible rather than fixed. All universities should be granted government approval if they meet law school qualifications." He also said, "I reconfirmed the basic rule that all law school graduates should become bar members."

Yonsei University professor Park Sang-ki maintained, "The total enrollment should be more than 3,000, and each school should admit more than 150 applicants, since strict law school establishment qualifications could lead law school system to failure. The ratio of law school graduates admitted to the Bar should be high."

The Korean Federal Bar Association holds the position that law schools should accept around 1,200 students, since the Bar currently admits about 1,000 candidates.

The Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development (MEHRD), which will determine the number of enrollments by next March, is engulfed in a complicated situation where interested parties, including the Ministry of Justice, the Office of Court Administrations, Korean Federal Bar Association, the Law Professors’ Association, and civic groups have different opinions, respectively.

The MEHRD said, "The number of enrollment slots should be well above the current number of successful candidates admitted to the Bar, and over 50 percent of law school graduates should be successful in the Bar exam. The number of enrollment slots should be appropriate. But it will be desirable that the number of enrollment slots for each law school should be cut down and the number of law schools should be increased, if required." This could mitigate universities` complaints and make the increase in the number of enrollment slots easier.