On September 18, 2017, ROLC staff and faculty participated a luncheon with Dr. Martin Böhmer, National Director in the Ministry of Justice of Argentina, in charge of the relations between the Ministry, the academic community and civil society. He also serves as Professor of Legal Theory at Universidad de Buenos Aires Law School and Global Professor of Law, New York University School of Law at Buenos Aires, and Universidad Nacional de Rio Negro Law School. Dr. Böhmer is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the 2016 Konex Prize of the Humanities in Legal Theory and Philosophy and has served as a Fulbright fellow, Visiting Scholar at the Yale Law School, and as an Advisor for the Council for the Consolidation of Democracy. Dr. Böhmer is currently engaged in efforts to reform the Argentine legal education system.
During the luncheon, Dr. Böhmer discussed Argentina’s transition to democracy and the fundamental shifts that have occurred in the rule of law in the last 30 years. While Dr. Böhmer noted increased attention to human rights, the ratification of treaties and the proliferation of NGOs, the same shift in culture has not influenced the Argentine legal education system nor the legal profession at-large. Dr. Böhmer highlighted some of the challenges facing the legal education system including the lack of full-time law school professors, lack of appreciation for soft law skills, and a lack of focus on legal practice. He noted that some of these challenges stem largely from the self-regulation of lawyers and judges and the inability for civil society culture to translate into the legal profession.
In terms of reforming the legal education system, Dr. Böhmer suggested that law schools in Argentina must make efforts to engage full-time law professors as a top priority. Although efforts to reform the system have been slow, Dr. Böhmer noted how a new generation of younger legal professionals are beginning to introduce and help sustain improvements to legal education. ROLC hopes to continue its discussion with Dr. Dr. Böhmer on ways in which we could assist his efforts in reforming the legal system in Argentina.