Bhutan to get a new law college

Global law firm White & Case LLP plans to create Bhutan’s first law school, the Royal Institute of Law, currently scheduled to break ground in early 2015.

Her Royal Highness Princess Sonam Dechan Wangchuck of Bhutan, president of the project, and Hugh Verrier, chairman of White & Case, announced this at the 2014 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting in New York this week.

“We are proud to be a part of this journey with the Kingdom of Bhutan,” said Hugh Verrier. “The Royal Institute of Law will train the first generation of lawyers and judges skilled in both international and Bhutanese law. It is very meaningful to know our efforts are helping create an institution that will play a central role in further strengthening democracy and the rule of law in Bhutan.”

“Working with White & Case in this regard allows us to lay a path in place that over time will transform the legal profession in Bhutan,” said Her Royal Highness. “It is with an immense amount of pride that we will be moving away from a system that is currently dominated by foreign-trained lawyers to one composed nearly entirely of our own law school graduates. This will have a great impact on meeting the needs and priorities within our society.”

The law firm as part of the process has recently appointed Law Secretariat, education specialists, architects, a high-level royal advisory board and others, to create the master project plan for the law school, develop a curriculum that reflects Bhutanese legal traditions and international best practices, attract world-class faculty and administrators, prepare student recruiting materials and admissions procedures, design the school’s centers for advanced legal study and research, draft the school’s bylaws and to appeal donors.

The first class of students is expected to begin legal studies in the autumn of 2017.

White & Case has been working closely with Bhutan since 2009, when the Firm began its first pro bono engagement with the Kingdom: completing a comprehensive needs assessment on legal education at the request of the Royal Education Council of Bhutan. In July of 2011 the Firm supported the establishment of Bhutan’s first law library, located in the capital city of Thimphu, which offers access to legal reference databases that were previously unavailable in the country, as well as law books and other printed materials.

White & Case LLP is a leading global law firm with lawyers in 39 offices across 26 countries.

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