LAW SCHOOL: CRITICAL ACTION TRANSFORMING SOCIETY

The Law School has the mission and vocation of providing high-level training for professionals who have to develop critical thinking and ethics as well as the competences required to build a brilliant career. On concluding the course, a graduate will be qualified to work in a number of different fields in the legal profession, the Judiciary, Executive, or Legislative powers, or in other activities where law is involved, including business.

Founded in August 1999, the Law course is anchored on a basic tripod of modern teaching methods; encouraging academic research; and university extension activities as a resource to develop professional practice. Teaching, research, and extension activities at the School are intertwined to produce its own specific and particular methodological approach. Thus the pedagogic design of the course translates the current standards and postulates of the Commission of Legal Education Specialists of the Ministry of Education and the Brazilian Bar Association.

The Law School was quick to show signs of energetically and successfully fulfilling its charter purpose. Close relations between teaching, research, and extension activity have ensured that the education and training of future professionals will match the advances this area of knowledge poses as an opportunity for a critical and transformative role in society.

Personalized teaching, a final-year thesis, monitoring of extension activities, and combining traditional disciplines with innovative ones keep students in touch with new fields, emphasizing an interdisciplinary approach and the indispensable link between theory and application. Innovation is also seen in the inclusion of Drama as a discipline to provide supplementary differentials for students such as text interpretation, self-confidence, posture, gesture, methods of arguing, persuading, and convincing.

On reaching the stage of supervised internship (in the Legal Practice Laboratory), students have contact with professional activity and are given guidance on work in the civil, commercial, penal, and labor areas of practice. Internships comprise practical classes; simulations in an experimental court; visits to registry offices, agencies, and courts; attending hearings; case-law research; and learning the techniques of arbitration, conciliation, and collective bargaining. Laboratory activities are concentrated at the Legal Practice Center near the campus, where floor space of around 1,000 square meters is available, with modern equipment and specialized professors. There are also special arrangements with government agencies, the Judiciary, business, community, and union organizations, and law firms, thus providing more opportunities for interns, as well as vigorous university extension activity and community services. This practice center enables students to experience the professional routine, take part in hearings, assimilate relations with other lawyers, and follow progress in cases.

Based on the same concept, an agreement for cooperation was signed by the School of Law and the Judiciary to constitute a Special Court for Civil Law cases in the Higienópolis neighborhood to be annexed to FAAP. Following the model of the former small claims courts, this initiative provides quicker access to the law and helps reduce the backlog of cases underway in the courts of São Paulo. Students benefit from learning activity supervised by lawyers, who accompany all stages of conciliation work performed there. There is a continuous evaluation system to gauge student performance - the aim is to educate a "thinking elite."

Academic events and publications of articles and studies provide an important complement to legal education, as well as helping to spread knowledge of this field of practice. Legal Week takes place in the first semester every year, with lectures and debates involving ministers, chief judges, judges, members of congress, and government authorities in general, as well as professors, specialists, and professionals from the field. The School of Law also publishes a legal review (Revista da Faculdade de Direito) featuring articles by Brazilian and international contributors as well as professors at the School, including essays, opinions, lectures, class notes, conventions, and seminars and award-winning studies. In fact the publication is more of a book than a mere review.

Also noteworthy are the frequent contacts, visits, and interchanges with leading law schools in Brazil and other countries.