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By GW Law School Magazine Staff

GW Law School is building legal bridges with two Asian giants. Neighboring nations India and China, home to more than a third of the world’s population, are experiencing an economic boom fueled by emerging technology, research, and development sectors. With the extraordinary growth come distinct legal challenges. In two unique and separate projects, GW Law School is using its resources and legal know-how to strengthen capacity both at home and abroad.


Judge Randall R. Rader, JD ’78, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit receives an award from the NRI Institute in Mumbai.

For the past five years, GW faculty members and alumni, as well as lawyers, judges, and legal scholars, have been traveling to India and China on a regular basis. They are holding training programs, sponsoring mock trials, and spearheading talks and conferences on issues from intellectual property law, to government procurement law, to criminal justice matters.

The goal, organizers say, is to use international and comparative legal principles to better understand and help improve legal systems. Working in India and China has also enabled the U.S. participants to learn more about the U.S. legal system.

“GW Law is fortunate to have relationships with key institutions and individuals in both India and China,” says Susan Karamanian, associate dean for international and comparative legal studies. “Our ties have given us important, first hand insight into the issues and have allowed us to work with those at the forefront of legal reform.”



Those involved in the Indian and Chinese projects are gaining a unique perspective on the world and the University’s place in it.

From the India Project to the India Studies Center

In 2003, Raj Davè, LLM ’03, a native of India, had a simple vision. He sought to share his U.S. legal expertise with his home country, which was lacking a strong intellectual property base. Davè, a graduate of the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology-Kharagpur, is now head of the Darby & Darby office in Washington, D.C.

Davè approached GW Professor Martin Adelman, co-director of the Law School’s IP Law Program, about using the $5,000 Finnegan Prize, which he won for his outstanding patent paper, to organize a project that would help India understand IP protection, particularly the requirements under the country’s recent accession to the World Trade Organization. From the outset, Federal Judge Randall R. Rader, JD ’78, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit played an essential role in reaching out to the judiciary in both India and the United States.


Federal Judge Ron Whyte of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California presides over a mock trial in Mumbai. Minaksi Bhatt, JD ’90, puts on direct testimony through Raj Davé, who served as an expert witness.

“I didn’t just want to change the system. I also wanted to raise more awareness in general about IP law,” Davè says.

He and Adelman, as well as Karamanian, arranged delegations to go to India, which attracted GW Law alumni and legal experts from the United States and around the world. They spearheaded training programs on patent law for judges, lawyers, and academics. And they have collaborated with members of industry, such as the Confederation of Indian Industry, the U.S.-India Business Council, and officials from private corporations, to sponsor conferences around the country, including New Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore. Each year the project, and the people it reaches, grows, Davè says. “We’ve been very influential in promoting educational change,” he adds.

Last year, as part of the India Project, GW Law School signed a technical collaboration agreement with the Indian Institute of Technology-Kharagpur to provide educational assistance to the new Rajiv Gandhi School of Intellectual Property Law. Under the agreement, GW Law faculty members are helping the Rajiv Gandhi faculty with teaching methods and substantive legal principles.

GW Law and the Washington Foreign Law Society recently hosted a roundtable at the Embassy of India on the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Agreement. Charles Camp, LLM ’83, GW Law professorial lecturer and president of the Washington Foreign Law Society, presided over a panel discussion with (from left) India’s deputy chief of mission, Ambassador Raminder Singh Jassal; GW Elliott School of International Affairs Professor Karl Inderfurth, the former U.S. assistant secretary of state for South Asian Affairs; and GW Law Associate Dean Susan Karamanian.


With the success of the India Project, GW Law School and the network of relationships it has forged are paving the way for the next step—an India Studies Center on GW’s campus. The center will explore a range of issues relevant to U.S.-India legal relations beyond IP, including labor law, government procurement, environmental law, corporate law, and constitutional law. GW Law recently hired Gauri Rasgotra, a lawyer from India, as the administrator/director of Indian activities. Rasgotra brings to GW Law a unique insight into India and a total dedication to helping build the center.

Also on the home front, an important part of the project is working with Indian scholars and diplomats, as well as recruiting international students to GW to study full time. For example, GW Law and the Washington Foreign Law Society recently hosted a roundtable at the Embassy of India on the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Agreement.


In China, Dean Lawrence traveled to Wuhan to visit one of China’s first and leading legal aid centers, the Center for the Protection of Rights of Disadvantaged Citizens, led by Professor Lin Lihong of the Wuhan University Law School (left).

Adelman says the sharing of knowledge creates a unique perspective that everyone involved can learn from.

“For me, it greatly aids my understanding of American law,” Adelman says. “I see how other countries deal with these problems, both politically and judicially. You begin to focus not so much on what’s written down but the culture that enforces these laws.”

Legal Reform in China

GW also has made path-breaking strides in China. As the recipient of a major U.S. State Department grant for the past five years, GW and China Law and Development (CLD) Consultants in Beijing have been tackling issues such as discrimination, public interest litigation, and access to justice in rural areas. The project started with then-GW Law Professor Randle Edwards, one of the U.S. pioneers in Chinese law. His relationship with CLD Consultants’ Phyllis Chang, a U.S.-trained lawyer with extensive experience in China and rule of law initiatives, enabled GW Law to put together a series of innovative proposals to enhance legal reform in China.

Professor Don Clarke


GW Law Professor Donald Clarke took over as principal investigator of the State Department project when he joined GW Law in 2005.

Clarke works closely with Chang to develop various projects in China. The scope of the projects is wide; it ranges from supporting homeowners’ associations to training judges (see sidebar). Clarke spends much of his time in China helping to advance these projects by meeting with people who are involved in the work, attending meetings and conferences relating to the Chinese legal system, and serving as a consultant. He is particularly involved in one project titled, “Private Enforcement of Public Interests: Using the ‘Private Attorney General’ Approach to Enforce Citizens’ Rights.” For this work, he meets frequently with the China group leader and project participants.

In the spring of this year, Clarke also joined Dean Frederick M. Lawrence on a 10-day tour of China to meet with alumni and prospective students and to learn more about the changes taking place in the Chinese legal system. Lawrence met with several prominent people in the Chinese legal system in Beijing, Shanghai, and Wuhan, located in China’s more rural central area. Lawrence also visited a rural area outside of Wuhan where GW Law helps to fund a legal aid project through the State Department grant. The project combines clinical experience for students at Wuhan University Faculty of Law with legal aid for rural residents who would not otherwise have access to legal services.


Professor Don Clarke (seated, left) and Dean Lawrence (seated, right) wrapped up their China trip by having dinner with seven Shanghai-based GW Law alumni. Weiheng Jia, LLM ’03, organized the dinner.

Clarke and Chang constantly seek out new opportunities in China. “We will continue to think of new projects that take advantage of developments in the Chinese legal system and political changes that allow certain projects to be done that perhaps could not be done previously,” Clarke says. “We will also continue existing projects, where experience shows that they can be successful. We apply annually for grants from the State Department’s Department of Human Rights and Labor and have a strong record with them.”


Projects in China

During the past five years, GW Law has started several legal initiatives in China through grants from the State Department. Some of the projects are:

• Study of Disputes Related to Village Committee Elections and China’s Rural Self-Governance System

• Reform and Development of China’s Rural Basic-Level System of Legal Resources and Law Services

• Research Project on China’s System of Judicial Interpretation and Study of Foreign Case Law Systems

• U.S.-China Criminal Defense Lawyers Advocacy and Skills Training Program (Professor Jennifer Lyman played a major role in this project)

• Towards Constitutionalism in China: A Project to Promote Thinking Among People’s Congress Officials About Constitutional Government

• Rural Legal Aid Corps (Student Volunteers) Pilot Project

• Enforcing Farmers’ Rights Through Non-Litigious Measures: (a) Establishing a Social Support Network to Protect Farmers’ Rights; (b) Protecting the Rights of Elderly Rural Women

• Anti-Discrimination Projects: (a) Introduction of Anti-Discrimination Laws in China; (b) Research on Discrimination and Public Education on Discrimination; (c) Study on Legal System of Anti-Discrimination in Employment in China; (d) Training of Private Lawyers on Anti-Discrimination Law and Practice

• Promoting Property Rights and Self-Governance in Chinese Cities: Support for Homeowners’ Associations and an Experiment in Urban Community Self-Governance: (a) Building the Capacity of Homeowners’ Associations in China; (b) The Internal Governance of Homeowners’ Associations in China and Their Regulation

• Strengthening Consumers’ Rights and Expanding the Role of NGOs in Consumer Protection: (a) Promoting the Development of Consumer Rights NGOs and Consumer Activism; (b) Official Consumers’ Associations and Product Quality

• Private Enforcement of Public Interests: Using the “Private Attorney General” Approach to Enforce Citizens’ Rights

• Judicial Reform: Increasing Transparency in Adjudication through Training for Judges in the Writing of Court Decisions (Opinions)

• Increasing the Capacity of Chinese Environmental NGOs to Use Law and Legal Procedures To Protect the Environment and to Expand Citizen Participation in Environmental Policy- and Decision-Making

• Developing the Use of Law in Rural Land Rights and Urban Land Use: Protection of Farmers’ Land Rights and Building Capacity in Urban Land Use and Planning