Jens DrolshammerA College of International Lawyers in a Networked Society?

2.15 Jens Drolshammer, A College of International Lawyers in a Networked Society? The Need for Conceptualisation of the New International Lawyer from a Global Perspective, in Jens Drolshammer, A timely Turn to the Lawyer? – Globalisierung und die Anglo-Amerikanisierung von Recht und Rechtsberufen – Essays, Zürich / Baden-Baden, 2009 p. 601-632; first published in Reflections on the International Practice of Law, Liber Amicorum for 35th Anniversary of Bär & Karrer, 2004

a) Background

The text at hand is a scholarly article. It appeared in a Liber Amicorum f, (a Festschrift of friends) for two senior partners of the law firm Bär & Karrer under the title Reflections on the International Practice of Law (2004). The text was written by Jens Drolshammer based upon a working paper drafted in 1999 during his first year at Harvard Law School as a visiting research professor. The text is a first layout for a personalistic conception, describing and explaining globalization in law by explaining what the key legal actors do, in the present context the international lawyers in law firms. In coping with the challenges in a network society an active stance on the part of the community of lawyers working in the international practice of law is of great importance. Their professional situation confers to those professionals the most credible legitimation to more-over transform this self-reflection into a conceptualized view of what the new international lawyers should be. This leads to a dynamic and open process of inquiry and formulation of an understanding adapted to the complexities of the ongoing changes in a globalized world of law.

b) Summary

The text proposes to embark on an inductive and modular generalisation in the multilevel and multidimensional task leading to knowledge and opinions of the legal process on a meta-level corresponding to the state of internationalization and globalization in law. It suggests doing so based upon a new approach focusing on the individual lawyer, the law firms and the multifaceted networks, among those lawyers acting internationally, contrary to traditional approaches that are focused on legal systems. This elevates, as an option of analysis, the individuals to pivotal actors shaping this new reality and brings to the foreground these actors complimentary contributions to an approach focused on systems.

Under the heading: What are the key drivers of the changes in the international practice of law?, the text identifies a series of factors such as globalization; legalization; the spread of information; the growing interdisciplinary approach; professionalisation; market orientation and commercialization; specialization; diversification of content; techniques and style in legal services; institutionalization and organization; international emancipation of education and professional roles and – this is of paramount importance here –  a “Tendency for Americanization”.

Under the heading: What key abilities should an international lawyer working in the international practice of law be educated and trained in? Globalization requires an extension of the education and the faculties and skills of the international lawyer to cover abilities of “knowledge” and “skills” in the area of cognitive, emotional and cultural intelligence reconstructed from a global perspective as well. As a result of globalization, there is an added need for a business and law-related ability to internationalize that above all includes inter-functional and interdisciplinary interaction between law as an advisory function and management as a decision-making function. The following areas of competence, which sometimes overlap, are dealt with in the article: legal knowledge and comprehension – from knowledge to comprehension; practical and communication skills – from ability to action as well as judgment, finality and attitudes.

Under the heading: “What key knowledge and capabilities should an international lawyer entering in the international practice of law have?”, the text highlights the key areas of knowledge and capabilities such as: training and practice in national substantive law, training and practice in other legal systems, the ability to conduct legal research on foreign law, an understanding of international legal professions, a knowledge of the relevant foreign languages, an interdisciplinary background knowledge and general education and on site and on the job experience in international transactions.

Under the key heading of the text: “Is there a need for conceptualizing the situationality of a “new international lawyer from a global perspective”? Jens Drolshammer argues for commensurate conceptualization. There have been many reasons, why this has not been done so far. The text argues a key shift a paradigmatic change in the legal professions, the emergence of the phenomena of networks, and the emergence of the phenomena of integration. In doing so, it develops a first blue print of a methodology to conceptionalize the new international lawyer. Ultimately, the text identifies the major elements of an agenda to develop such a blue print of a methodology and postulates that this intellectual endeavor should encompass a proper vision under the flag of forming a “College of International Lawyers”.

c) Text

You can find a scan (PDF) of the original text here:
G_2.15_DROLSHAMMER_College of International Lawyers

© Prof. Jens Drolshammer,,

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