What began as a sightseeing tour for Fellows of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers (IATL) has grown into one of China’s most ambitious cooperative development efforts with representatives of the Western world.

Launched in 1994 by then IATL President Raymond J. Tam, the China program was organized to form relationships with the Chinese people and assist in the development of that nation’s legal, economic, and financial infrastructure.  The concept: bring Chinese Government lawyers to the U.S. to be immersed in the lives of practicing American trial lawyers.

Since that time, the IATL has hosted 7 to 12 Chinese legal delegates to the U.S. annually.  All have been government lawyers active in the drafting, teaching, and administration of the laws of China. More than 150 Chinese lawyers have participated and returned home to serve in prominent government positions.

Central to this achievement is the cultural immersion afforded Chinese lawyers by observing and actively participating in the U.S. legal system and American family life.  By living with an IATL Fellow and his or her family, delegates form close-knit relationships with their hosts that endure long after their return to China.

The IATL China Program promotes legal exchange, mutual understanding, and genuine friendship between the U.S. and China.  As global citizens, we strengthen our own legal system by exposing ourselves to the Chinese legal culture, and in turn, the Chinese lawyers strengthen their system by learning our legal culture.

Click here to view a letter from Mr. Wu Hao, Director General of Foreign Affairs, expressing his appreciation for the program and detailing the program’s accomplishments.

The Circle of Honor is made up of Fellows of the Academy who have hosted a delegate over the history of the China Program.