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California Western Professor Receives Prestigious Chilean Ministry of Justice Medal

Professor James M. Cooper and Chile’s Minister of Justice Patricia Pérez Goldberg

Professor James M. Cooper, director of Proyecto ACCESO at California Western School of Law, was recently awarded the Ministry of Justice medal by Patricia Pérez Goldberg, Chile’s Minister of Justice.

Cooper, who has spent more than 15 years working to implement judicial reform in Chile, played an integral role over the last decade in advising the country’s leadership in transitioning from an inquisitorial legal system to an adversarial system similar to that of the United States - a critical change to criminal procedure that has been in place for more than 100 years. Proyecto ACCESO’s accomplishments were recently featured in USA TODAY and on the Chilean Ministry of Justice’s website.

California Western has shared strong ties with the South American country for more than a decade, highlighted by Minister Pérez’s recent visit to San Diego to address the law school’s graduates at their April commencement ceremony. Additionally, California Western offers internships in Chile as part of a summer program that provides students with a first-hand look at how the country is adjusting to a new era of democratic governance, human rights, and environmental challenges. The program offers opportunities for real work experience in law offices and public institutions, as well as workshops throughout the region on comparative and international law.

Internationally focused programs are widely available at California Western, including a speaker series co-hosted by the law school’s International Legal Studies Program and UC San Diego. Now in its 10th year, the series invites prominent speakers from around the world to offer their expertise on current hot-button topics in international law.

About Proyecto ACCESO
Proyecto ACCESO, whose Spanish acronym translates to Creative Lawyers Collaborating to Find Optimal Solutions Project, works to develop an educated public, judiciary, and legal system that understand the value of a judicial system based on transparency and the rule of law. Programs include trial skills training for foreign lawyers and education and outreach programs combating intellectual property piracy.

Founded in 1998, the program housed at California Western School of Law receives additional support from a variety of governments, international institutions and private funders including the United States Departments of Justice and State, the United Nations Development Program, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the Organization of American States, the Inter-American Development Bank, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Avery-Tsui Foundation.