Jens DrolshammerThe Role and the Tendencies of Americanization for Legal Systems

2.35 Jens Drolshammer, excerpt: The Role and the Tendencies of Americanization for Legal Systems, Legal Professions and Legal Educations in the Area of the International Practice of Law, in The Effects of Globalization on Legal Education, Zürich, 2003, p. 1 – 63; excerpt

a) Background

The text is the first chapter of a translated earlier book on the effects of globalization on legal education (2001 and 2003). The book was a special report to the Schweizerischer Juristentag (Swiss Lawyers Conference) in 2002 on the effects of globalization on Swiss economic law. The text is written from a European perspective, in an Anglo-Saxon, bottom-up, issue-driven and largely phenomenological manner. The introduction and the chapter of the book is a look into the kaleidoscope of globalization, a collage of interrelated “objets trouvés”.

Jens Drolshammer is a Professor Emeritus of Law at the University of St. Gallen and a former founding and senior partner of an international commercial law firm in Zurich. He practiced internationally for many years dealing with issues of American law and legal culture. He worked in that context from 1999 to 2008 as a visiting research professor at the center of European law research at the Law School of Harvard University, developing a new personalistic approach in analyzing the “travels” and the “impacts” of globalization, which lead to the publication of twenty essays in A Timely Turn to the Lawyer? – Globalization and the Americanization of Law and Legal Professions – Essays (2009).

b) Summary

The book The Effects of Globalization on Legal Education is a blueprint for a professional and network based reorganization and reconfiguration of legal education from an international perspective. The text at hand is the introduction of the part on education.

The text primarily deals with new challenges for the science and the practice of law in connection with a growing interdependence of the world economy. The text analyses and describes the internationalization of law and its effects on the activities of lawyers primarily in the international practice of law. The text describes the vital and dynamic Anglo-Saxon and special American influence on law and legal culture, in particular on the “International Practice of Law”. The sedes materie of the spread and “travel” of American legal culture lies in the increasing hegemony of the United States in an ever more globalized world. Actually, this trend cannot be held solely responsible for the occurrence of globalization and its effects; authoritative observers take the view that it would take place even without the influential position of the United States. In practice however, the trend of Americanization dominates; its far-reaching effects and its intensity are further accentuated by the development of the information society. The increasing US dominance observed in international relations, both in foreign and security policy, in the economy and in information society is also influencing law, legal education and the legal professions. In that context, the text focuses on ‘new international lawyers’ as pivotal actors of the process of globalization in law.

The text describes the changes in growth of the International Practice of Law and identifies the key elements that drive those changes in the international practice such as globalization, legalization, informatization, growing interdisciplinary research, professionalization, market orientation, commercialization, specialization, proceduralization, and a marked tendency for Americanization. As a further prerequisite for the developing of a blueprint of a legal education of the new international lawyering in globalization, the text lays the groundwork for a more active and assertive attitude and mind-set in Switzerland vis-à-vis this growing and complex influence of dependency on Americanization.  The text contains on a meta level an agenda for the formation of a strategy in Switzerland to deal with the phenomenon. The text contains elements of such a strategy in the area of teaching and research, legal policy, professions and professional organisations and information policy and communication. Without a basic change in mind-set to face the encounters with American law and legal culture, it is obvious that any efforts to reconstruct the education of a new international lawyer are likely to be cumbersome and difficult.

c) Text

You can find a scan (PDF) of the original text here:
A_2.35_DROLSHAMMER_Role and the Tendencies

© Prof. Jens Drolshammer,,

Comments (0)