Five questions with Dr. Richard Lang, visiting scholar from the United Kingdom
Visiting scholar Dr. Richard Lang, from Wales, United Kingdom joins the University of Kansas School of Law for the summer 2023 semester.
Dr. Lang is a senior lecturer in law at Cardiff Metropolitan University in Wales. He currently serves as program director for BA (Hons) Business Law and Management and as a Module Leader for Administration Law & Human Rights, Applied Skills in Advocacy, Commercial Law & EU Law, among other courses. During his time in Lawrence, Lang plans to work on a monograph entitled “Are human rights too complex?” and continue his research and discussions on Brexit and other consequences.
Why did you choose to come to KU Law? How did you learn about our program and establish contact?
I had been following with great interest the research work of your professor of international trade, Raj Bhala, and particularly a piece he wrote in the Manchester Journal of International Economic Law about Brexit (the departure of the UK from the European Union), which is a special interest of mine. So, I contacted Raj and was delighted when he agreed to contribute to my series for Routledge, ‘Legal Perspectives on Brexit,’ which has now transmogrified into the ‘Routledge Handbook of Brexit and the Law.’ In the course of our conversations, he kindly invited me, through your Dean [Mazza], to spend three months at Green Hall over the summer. I hope my institution will also be able to welcome Raj to Cardiff at some point. Everyone else is also welcome to come, and, for that matter, to contribute to the Handbook.
What are your professional goals for your time at KU Law? What will be your next career steps after your time here?
I’m working on a monograph for Springer called (provisionally) ‘Are human rights too complex? Addressing Liberalism’s pluralism problem.’ The peace and quiet of the building (for the moment!) and your amazing libraries are both helping hugely in this process. While here I would like to speak to your Legal Aid office about the many highly commendable initiatives which your students are involved in.
Our law program in Cardiff is relatively new. So we’re only just considering branching out into this kind of experiential/clinical provision. Still, I think that we would be able to learn a lot from the giant strides which U.S. law schools have made in this area over the last decade – I think it’s fair to say you’ve really led the way on this.
Once I go home, I’ll be busy teaching and leading my program, the BA Business Law and Management, so I’m most appreciative of the chance to get some research done while in Kansas.
How does the academic and research environment at KU Law differ from your home institution?
There are a lot of differences. One of the main ones is that your law school is so much bigger than ours. This also means that you have more professors than us, which means you can cover more legal specialisms. You also have greater connections with your alumni, although that is something we’re working on.
Turning to the universities as a whole, I’d say one similarity was the focus on sport, which is rarer in the U.K. Our Cynoced campus hosts the National Indoor Athletics Centre and has produced a number of notable coaches from various sports.
What are your favorite things about Lawrence? What about your home do you miss the most?
I like that the people are so friendly! I like the downtown area which has a very cosmopolitan feel. I like that it’s quiet, peaceful, and small too, which means you can walk more-or-less anywhere you need to go. I guess I miss the slightly more predictable weather patterns.
What advice would you offer to other scholars who may want to do research abroad?
First and foremost, I would encourage them to do so. Having a change of scenery is a very good impetus to imagination and creativity, and travel brings with it lots of broadened horizons and new perspectives which influence how you look at your work. You can always learn something new, sometimes in the most unexpected places.