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Emily Sharp
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KU Law partners with India’s top law schools

Thu, 04/10/2014

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas School of Law recently added four prominent Indian law schools to its growing list of international partners. The National Academy of Legal Studies and Research in Hyderabad, the Government Law College in Mumbai, the Jindal Global Law School near New Delhi and the Indian Law Institute in New Delhi signed memoranda of understanding with KU Law, pledging to collaborate on research projects, scholarship opportunities and faculty and student exchanges.

Raj Bhala, associate dean for international and comparative law and Rice Distinguished Professor, signed the agreements on behalf of KU Law Dean Stephen Mazza during Bhala’s February-March lecture tour of India. Professors Balakista Reddy, Kishu Daswani, Sridhar Patnaik and Manoj Kumar Sinha at the four Indian law schools, respectively, were instrumental in establishing the partnerships.

“Simply put, KU Law is the first American law school with such an ambitious opening to India,” Bhala said, noting the institutions’ locations in India’s technology hub (Hyderabad), financial and Bollywood center (Bombay), and political capital (Delhi). “It would be like a non-American law school having arrangements with Stanford, NYU or Columbia, and Georgetown.”

The non-binding MOUs do not include financial obligations or administrative requirements, but they encourage interaction, program development and cross-marketing of degree programs, Bhala said. They also open up international career opportunities for graduates.

The Indian schools join KU Law’s existing partner universities in Australia, China, Ireland, Italy, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, New Zealand and Turkey.

“KU is proud to have affiliations with law schools around the world,” Dean Stephen Mazza said. “I’m pleased that we now have affiliations with some of the finest law schools in India.”

The agreements bring new academic and clinical opportunities for KU Law faculty and students. For students, KU is developing an internship program with the Director General of Foreign Trade in Mumbai and the Mumbai Export Promotion Councils. The partnerships also build KU’s web of international legal contacts, a valuable networking tool for students and alumni.

“We look forward to welcoming law students from these institutions,” Mazza said. “They will bring a welcome perspective to the classroom. We hope these agreements will open up opportunities for KU students to practice in India.”

Already, faculty and students are engaging with India. Professor Jean Phillips is the first non-Indian appointed to the all-India Advisory Council of the Institute of Clinical Legal Education and Research. She will work with top-ranking Indian judges, lawyers and academics to shape clinical legal education in India. Professor Elizabeth Kronk Warner is collaborating with prospective Muslim female lawyers and activists to provide contributions for an upcoming journal symposium. Mazza serves on the advisory board of the first tax law LL.M. program in Asia, established by partner Jindal Global Law School. Two second-year law students, Madeline Heeren and Aqmar Rahman, will intern this summer in New Delhi at one of India’s largest law firms.

In addition to brokering the agreements, Bhala gave 18 lectures during his tour. Topics ranged from international trade law to women’s issues in Islamic Law. Bhala also met with WTO negotiators from Bhutan, toured the High Courts of Mumbai and Delhi, visited a factory manufacturing pulleys and engaged in international trade and saw the museums and memorials of Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi.

Bhala’s visit comes just before Indian elections, during which all 543 seats in the Indian Parliament and the office of Prime Minister are up for grabs. An unprecedented 814 million people are expected to vote.

“India is the world’s largest free-market democracy and soon to be the world’s most populous nation,” Bhala said, noting its strategic importance to KU’s International and Comparative Law Program. “The Indian market is opening up. The barriers to entry for Jayhawk lawyers are coming down. Our partnerships ensure that KU Law is a player in global legal markets.”

 



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Wanna Skype? Chancellor gets creative to surprise Truman winner From KU News Service: http://bit.ly/1awodaa Ashlie Koehn, a University of Kansas junior from Burns studying in Kyrgyzstan, interrupted helping her host family prepare dinner to make a Skype call on Monday evening. To her surprise, Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little was on the other end of the call letting Koehn know she had been named a 2015 Harry S. Truman Scholar. Koehn is the 18th KU student to be named a Truman Scholar and the only 2015 recipient from the state of Kansas. Earlier this month, she was also named a 2015 Udall Scholar. And in spite of a distance of more than 10,800 kilometers and 11 time zones, Koehn’s thrill from hearing the news from the chancellor came through loud and clear. “Ashlie’s experience at KU epitomizes a quality undergraduate experience. She challenged herself in her coursework, exposed herself to different research opportunities, studied abroad in Germany, Switzerland and Kyrgyzstan, and participated in both student government and community service projects,” Gray-Little said. “This is quite a year for Ashlie. Her hard work is a wonderful reflection on her and also a great reflection on the university, and we all congratulate her.” Each new Truman Scholar receives up to $30,000 for graduate study. Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and special internship opportunities within the federal government. Koehn, a member of KU’s nationally recognized University Honors Program, is majoring in environmental studies, economics and international studies. Her goal after earning her KU degree is to pursue a master’s degree in economics at either the London School of Economics or the University of Reading, with a focus on the economics of climate change. In 2014, she received KU’s Newman Civic Engagement Award for her work establishing the Coalition against Slavery and Trafficking. Her involvement with the issue was sparked by Hannah Britton, associate professor of political science and women, gender, and sexuality studies, who hosted national conference on contemporary slavery at KU three years ago. “Ashlie and I met several times to think about what KU students could contribute to the issue of slavery and human trafficking, and the result was her founding of KU CAST,” Britton said. “After a year as president, Ashlie successfully handed the organization over to the next student leader. She demonstrated her strong leadership qualities by setting a unique goal and then pursuing it with her sense of passion, engagement and dedication. No matter the country or context, her leadership strength is evident in her coursework, her public service and her work experiences.” The University Honors Program works with a campus committee to select KU’s nominees for the Truman Scholarship and supports them during the application process. Anne Wallen, assistant director of national fellowships and scholarships, noted it was an amazing ruse to pull off the surprise. Originally, the call was set up to be between Wallen and Koehn. “I was totally not prepared to be greeted by Chancellor Gray-Little, but it was an amazing surprise for sure,” Koehn said. “As a first-generation student, it took time to learn the collegiate system, but my parents taught me to be resourceful and independent from a young age and KU and the Kansas Air National Guard have provided me with the opportunities to drive me into the future, both at graduate school and in my career. I plan to use the Truman Scholarship to pursue a career as an environmental economist helping to shape future trade agreements and leverage action on important international environmental issues, particularly concerning climate change.” Koehn also had a surprise of her own for the chancellor — the meal she was helping to prepare was not exactly typical Kansas dinner fare. On the menu with her host family in Kyrgyzstan on Monday was a traditional Kyrgyz meal called Beshbarmak, or “five fingers,” because you eat it with your hands. The dish is made of horse and sheep and was being prepared as a birthday celebration for Koehn’s host mom. Chancellor Gray-Little, as she signed off from Skype, made sure to encourage Koehn to enjoy her Beshbarmak. Koehn is the daughter of Rodney and Carolyn Koehn of Burns. She graduated from Fredric Remington High School in Moundridge. She is an active member of the Kansas Air National Guard and currently on leave while studying abroad in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. She is a member of the KU Global Scholars Program and a past member of the Student Senate. In addition to being named a 2015 Truman and Udall scholar, she was named a 2014 Boren Scholar and Gilman Scholar and in 2013 was named the Kansas Air National Guard Airman of the Year.


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