Education and Training
USD-UABC Legal Education Program
Thanks to a grant from Higher Education for Development (HED) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Trans-Border Institute and the University of San Diego School of Law, the Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad Autónoma de Baja California conducted a bi-national program that promoted legal education and cross-border exchange in the San Diego-Baja California region. Through this program, the participating institutions offered training to prepare lawyers and law students for ambitious new reforms intended to improve the administration of justice in Mexico. Other participants in this initiative included the Universidad Iberoamericana in Tijuana, U.S. and Mexican judges and lawyers, and law faculty from other institutions from both countries.
In recent years, the state of Baja California adopted major policies in anticipation of national level reforms approved by the Mexican Congress and the former presidential administration of President Felipe Calderón (2006-2012). These changes are expected to dramatically transform the functioning of that judicial sector over the next decade. These reforms will implement a transition from Mexico's long-standing inquisitorial system of criminal justice to a more rights-based accusatorial system, similar to that developed in the United States.
The educational exchange program combined training for lawyers and law students with a series of events designed with the express purpose of sharing insights and gauging the process of reform efforts. TBI and USD law school professors assembled teams of lawyers to travel to Baja California to train Mexican attorneys and law students advocacy court processes, including an introduction to U.S. criminal law and alternative dispute resolution. In turn, Mexican attorneys and judges attended roundtables and activities at the University of San Diego.
The principle investigators for this project were TBI Director David Shirk and USD School of Law Professor Allen Snyder. Their counterparts in Mexico were UABC Law Faculty Dean Ricardo Dagnino, Professor María Candelaría Pelayo, and Professor Daniel Solorio, as well as UIA Professor David Fernández.
May 21 Legal Education Inagural Event Summary [PDF (48 KB)]