Law School Offers J-Term Course in Paris; More Programs Abroad To Be Offered

October 10, 2008

The Law School's first-ever January Term study abroad program offers students a new opportunity to study in France.

David A. Martin

The program offers up to 20 Virginia law students the opportunity to spend 11 days in Paris attending a one-credit intensive course, French Public and Private Law. The class, which is open to all law students, will be taught in English by Professor Marie Gorá of the Law faculty of the University of Paris II. Gorá has previously taught the course at the Law School.

Students will also benefit from site visits to important French legal institutions such as the Conseil d'État or the Palais de Justice, where they will hear from French practitioners and judges.

Participants will be responsible for their own travel and living expenses, but the course is covered by regular UVA tuition. Once in France they will have the option to live in a high-quality, reasonably priced hostel and participate in an affordable meal plan, all pre-arranged by Virginia.

Professor David Martin, who coordinates the international study program, said the course is a pilot program that, if successful, could lead to a variety of other January Term study abroad opportunities in future years, ideal for students who cannot go abroad for a semester or academic year.

"France has a different legal system, built on different premises, and the students will wrestle with the differences and have the opportunity to talk to others who were trained there," Martin said. "A program like this helps you come to a much better understanding of another country's system, as well as your own. It's quite useful for lawyers to have a transnational perspective."

The program is the Law School's second in Paris. Students who are fluent in French also have the opportunity to spend their third year studying law in France, in a program run by the University of Paris I and the Institut d/Études Politiques (Sciences-Po). Upon completion they obtain a degree that allows them to sit for the French bar, as well as a J.D. from Virginia.

The Law School is also working toward implementing its first Asian exchange program, with Japan's prestigious Waseda University. The plan is to make the semester-long program available to current second-year law students in the fall semester of 2009. Students would not need to speak Japanese to participate in the program; the Waseda University Graduate School of Law offers eight classes in English.

The new program in France and proposed program in Japan augment the school's existing semester-long programs at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, the University of Melbourne in Australia, the University of Nottingham in England, Tel Aviv University Law School in Israel and Bucerius Law School in Hamburg, Germany.

Martin said the International Relations Committee plans to continue expanding study abroad options by reaching into new geographic regions, possibly including China and Africa.

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