SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — The University of San Diego’s School of Law just got $3 million from the U.S. Department of State to train Mexican law professors and students.

According to a news release from the school, the goal is to prepare the next generation of Mexican lawyers for a successful career in criminal justice.

In 2008, Mexico decided to pattern its criminal trials to the way cases are tried in the U.S.

Since then, students and professors from south of the border have been seeking training from institutions in the United States.

“There have been other similar grants to this one, and what we’re doing is continue that work,” said Karen Sigmond, Senior Director of Graduate, International and Certificate Programs at the USD School of Law. “With USD’s expertise, we can train professors and Mexican law students to be better prepared to do mediation and oral trials.”

The University of San Diego School of Law. (Salvador Rivera/Border Report)

Sigmond believes the grant will be money well spent.

“Better prepared attorneys lead to an improvement in the Mexican legal justice system and that will benefit both countries,” she said.

Karen Sigmond is the Senior Director of Graduate, International and Certificate Programs at the USD School of Law. (Salvador Rivera/Border Report)

Most of the training will be done during the next few months over the Zoom platform.

“There will be workshops on mediation and oral trial skills going from opening statements to closing arguments. We’re trying to teach them skills necessary to become better lawyers in the justice system Mexico has,” Sigmond said.

According to the school, there will also be opportunities for the professors and students from Mexico to visit USD’s School of Law for the national mock trial competition in the summer. 

And in addition, the winning teams from the mock trial competitions will receive employment, training sessions and mentorships from USD to help them “secure a position in the Mexican accusatorial criminal justice system upon graduation.” 

Over the next three years, USD’s School of Law will provide courses to students and law professors from 24 different universities in Mexico.