February 4, the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development announced that 25 universities received law school pre-confirmation and the University of Seoul(UOS) held a position amongst them. The universities that are left off or assigned few students strongly opposed this announcement and some of them even prepared to bring a law suit. To make matters worse, with the Council of Legal Education opening the selection criteria for the shortlisted universities and student assignment processes to the public, it has been requested to make public the information on judging the fairness of law school selection. In this situation, what does UOS have to do to?
The UOS is famous for the Dept. of Taxation which has upheld its place as first in producing more successful certified public tax accountants than any other school, for several years. Besides, the UOS has the solid research infrastructure related to the taxation field because the Institute of Local Tax and Graduate School of Science in Taxation are well equipped. Based on this infrastructure, the UOS has promoted its law school project specializing in taxation. Among the fourty-one universities that sent in written applications for a law school, the UOS is the only one selected with tax law as a specialized field.
Moreover the UOS offers low educational expenses, half those of private institutions`. At this time, law school expenses in private institutions are assumed to be roughly 20 million Won a year. The UOS, on the other hand, plans to charge about 8 million a year and awards scholarships to 42% of all law school students. Based on these advantages, the UOS intends to head the public law school offering a way to advance the field of law. Lawyers educated by the law school of the UOS will carry out `free legal services for the citizens of Seoul`, this will make the law school of the UOS a public educational institution both in name and reality.
"The UOS is fully equipped with advanced education facilities and superior teaching staff to educate lawyers of high quality, to say nothing of the excellence of the overall curriculum and taxation institute. Besides, with the full support of the Seoul Metropolitan Government, the UOS has accelerated the expansion of institutions and procurement of teaching staff.", said Kim Dae-won, a professor of the Dept. of Law.
As he said, the UOS is already fully prepared to attract a law school. With the Seoul Metropolitan Go-vernment`s support, the University Lecture Hall spent 12 billion Won and a building of 8,250m2 will be completed in June. In this place, the newest educational facilities such as lecture rooms, professor`s offices, seminar rooms, a law school library, a practice courtroom, a law institute and so on, will be housed. In addition, from 2004, the UOS has filled 17 professorships including men of the law. In the near future six more positions will be filled, this will bring to thirty one, the number of professors managing the school of law.
Professor Kim added, "In future, promoting the capability for research and education and reinforcing internationalization and character building, the UOS will produce law school students who have brilliant ability in both theory and actual affairs." This year, the UOS will select first law school students. To be the most competitive law school it must have the ability to educate talented people with leadership skills, the UOS will have to do their utmost to maintain their competitive power amongst the other universities.