On January 21, Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law welcomed Robert Ahdieh, Vice Dean and K.H. Gyr Professor of Private International Law at Emory University School of Law, to deliver the first installment of the 2016
Chapman Dialogue Lecture Series
. His presentation, entitled “The Golden Age of Legal Education,” was followed by a discussion with Fowler School of Law Dean Tom Campbell.

Dean Ahdieh’s talk presented an optimistic assessment of the trajectory of legal education and innovations within it. He identified possibilities and opportunities for law schools that often are marginalized by an overly negative critique of the current state of law schools. The world is becoming more complex. But, Ahdieh claimed, that complexity and the “wicked problems” surrounding it – such as climate change, global terrorism, financial panic, pandemics, an aging population, and the like – cannot possibly be solved without legal strategies and solutions, hence also requiring lawyers and their unique areas of expertise and critical thinking. Dean Ahdieh contends that law schools will adapt across the three axes of innovation, specialization and diversification (of students, programs, formats, etc.), to meet the needs of a changing world. That world must and will recognize the necessity of law for analyzing and addressing the most important emerging problems and formulating sound policy. It will require reliance on lawyers and others with an education in law for engaging with that complexity.

Dean Ahdieh listening to students

Chapman Dialogue guest speaker Robert Ahdieh discusses his presentation with Fowler School of Law students

“Dean Ahdieh’s optimism was refreshing, and his ideas for keeping law schools current deserve serious consideration by all who wish to effect meaningful innovation in legal education. One cannot help but look at many of the most recent curricular reforms offered here at Fowler School of Law as fitting the blueprint Dean Ahdieh projected as necessary – including our Practice-Ready Legal Education Program, the addition of new skills class and practical writing requirements, a new transactional skills graduation requirement, lab components added to multiple courses including first year civil procedure, diverse clinical offerings, and other recent measures to strengthen and broaden the curriculum.” – Donald J. Kochan, Associate Dean for Research & Faculty Development

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See the full 2015-2016 Chapman Dialogue schedule

Robert Ahdieh is the Vice Dean and K.H. Gyr Professor of Private International Law at Emory University School of Law in Atlanta, Georgia. A graduate of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and Yale Law School, Dean Ahdieh served as law clerk to Judge James R. Browning of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit before his selection for the Honor’s Program in the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Ahdieh’s scholarly interests revolve around questions of regulatory design. His particular emphasis has been various non-traditional modes of regulation, including those grounded in dynamics of coordination. Paradigms of coordination, though relatively less attended to in the legal literature, hold significant promise both in helping us to theorize existing regulatory patterns and in fostering new regulatory constructs.

Ahdieh has explored these issues in a variety of transactional areas, including corporate and securities law, international trade and finance, and contracts. Within these, Ahdieh’s work has emphasized two particular patterns of coordination. The first—intersystemic governance—draws on domestic regimes of federalism and transnational regimes of global governance and subsidiarity, to highlight patterns of jurisdictional overlap that, in their very complexity, may offer significant benefits. The second—patterns Ahdieh places under a rubric of “The New Regulation”—draws more directly on coordination game dynamics, to highlight various non-traditional regulatory forms, as well as distinct occasions for potential regulatory intervention.

About the Chapman Dialogue Lecture Series

The Chapman Dialogue Lecture Series is a special lineup of distinguished lectures by innovative and thought-provoking legal scholars as well as some of the nation’s most prominent legal practitioners. Invited speakers present their research and ideas to a wide audience of faculty, students, alumni and special guests. Each Dialogue concludes with a lively Question and Answer session, typically led by one or two discussants from among the Fowler School of Law faculty.