Competing Legal Cultures and Legal Reform: The Battle of Chile

This Article explores the competition that exists between U.S. and German legal cultures and examines Chilean legal reform efforts since the late 1990s as a case study of this competition. A country’s legal culture is comprised of the self-governing rules and operations of national and regional bar associations, the format of legal education, the structure of the legal and judicial profession, the role of the judiciary, jurisprudential style, and the reputation of the legal sector according to the general public. The influence of predominant legal cultures on developing nations has been explored in a number of contexts, while the importance of fostering an effective legal culture has been noted in clinical legal education and in legal practice. While some legal cultures reflect national borders, others are religiously based and separate from the sovereign State and national bar associations. Legal culture has played as significant a part in the national development of the United States as it has in the histories of Chile and Germany. This Article compares the manner in which U.S. and German legal cultures have been exported or transplanted to Chile.