This week MULS is hosting a delegation of students and faculty from Alberto Hurtado University School of Law, Chile’s only Jesuit law school located in the capital of Santiago (Five students will participate in a week-long program, conducted in Spanish, to gain a first-hand look at the U.S. legal system as their country implements significant legal reforms.
Today Dean Kearney hosted a welcome reception for our guests in Eisenberg Hall in which he recognized the significance of this academic exchange. In particular, he noted an unique opportunity to contribute to Chile’s ongoing criminal justice reforms designed to replace an inquisitorial criminal justice system inherited from Spanish civil law with an adversarial one more like that found in the United States. Such an undertaking is, in the words of Hurtado’s Dean for International Relations Rafael Blanco and his colleagues, “a complete paradigm shift and can be understood as almost revolutionary.” (Rafael Blano, Richard Hutt, Hugo Rojas, The Reform to the Criminal Justice in Chile: Evaluation and Challenges, The Loyola University Chicago International Law Review )(2005)
In fact, the faculty of HULS are credited for taking a leading role in spearheading this judicial reform following the end of the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet in 1990 as part of Chile’s “transition to democracy”, but which took up special momentum after 2000. At that time, the government promulgated a new code of criminal justice that began as a pilot program in selected cities, and is being gradually implemented throughout the country. Since then, these legal reforms have become a model for all of Latin America.
Dean Kearney also recognized that HULS and MULS share the same educational mission and identity grounded in a long Jesuit tradition that recognizes lawyering as a ‘helping profession.’ At the same time, as legal professionals, we understand that social justice is grounded in a solid respect for the rule of law. Certainly, Hurtado University Law School’s founder Saint Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga embodied this spirit through his work as a Chilean Jesuit priest, lawyer, and social worker. His important work led to his being was canonized on October 23, 2005 by Pope Benedict XVI, becoming his country’s second saint.
Today kicked off the week-long program with an orientation led by our MULS students Juan Amado and Sara Grill, who helped translate presentations by: Professor Tom Hammer on MULS’ Internship program; Editor and Chief Marvin Bynum on Marquette Law Review and Associate Justice of Administration, Rachel Helmers on Moot Court; and finally, Assistant Dean for Public Service Daniel Idzikowski and Lori Zahorodny on the pro bono legal clinics and the public service office. In the afternoon, they received a tour of our law library by librarian Julia Jaet followed by a talk on legal research by Reference Librarian, Elana Olson, all interpreted with the help of Yolanda Toral-Zeider. They also listened to lectures by Professor Ed Fallone on Constitutional and Immigration Law and Professor Scott Idleman on Federal Indian Law.
The rest of the week will be equally packed with informative lectures by faculty and alumni, as well as a meeting with Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson and a trip to the Milwaukee County Courthouse to observe a trial. The students will learn about Marquette Law School’s Restorative Justice Initiative, led by Distinguished Professor of Law Janine Geske, and its “Safe Streets” project to reduce gang and drug crime in Milwaukee neighborhoods. They will also hear from Professor Andrea Schneider, leader of Marquette Law School’s nationally ranked Alternative Dispute Resolution program, which trains legal practitioners in the art of resolving disputes outside of legal adjudication. In addition, the students will meet with lawyers from non-profit organizations working with the Milwaukee’s Hispanic community, including Centro Legal, Catholic Charities and Voces de la Frontera.
Due to the generosity of our faculty, students, alumni as well as members of the MU and Milwaukee community, we will be able to offer the Hurtado delegation an exceptional week of activities.