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Recounting her experience, she says she found a class in international banking regulations extremely valuable. Taught by a British attorney who works for both American and British law firms, the class provided insight and cross-cultural perspective, as did her favorite course, in which primarily German lawyers talked about the problems, both legal and verbal, that arise when they work with their American counterparts.

Among the things she learned: “Americans have a tendency to be more direct and forceful at the beginning of negotiations, whereas European lawyers take it a little more slowly and aren’t as aggressive,” says Prevost, who is applying her overseas’ education at Bingham McCutchen, a Boston-based firm with financial clients and an office in London.

International Students Teem to Penn Law

But as Prevost’s classmates had discovered, you don’t have to go abroad to learn about other cultures: Penn Law students get to see how the other half lives and works right here on campus. Two-thirds of Professor deLisle’s seminar on China’s law and economy last school year were from China and Taiwan, sitting beside Americans, comparing notes and sharing knowledge.

As deLisle observes, “The number of LL.M’s studying in the United States has gone through the ceiling.” Approximately 80 were enrolled at Penn Law during the 2002-03 academic year, with a similar class size anticipated this year. “When I arrived here more than a decade ago,” says Ewald,”the LL.M. class was much smaller, about thirty-five students, and there was effectively no administrative structure. Denise McGarry (director of graduate programs) worked hard to build up the program, including starting up the summer program, where we bring in the students for a month of instruction before the regular year gets going. It paid off – the applicant pool has more than doubled, to 800.”

Students teem to Penn Law from countries such as Taiwan, China, Korea, Japan, France and Germany to learn the law of a legal system that no one can ignore, both because the U.S. government and private programs heavily promote the “rule of law” abroad in forms that reflect an American model and because of the sheer size of the U.S. capital market. Scheppele adds that international students come here because American legal ideas exert great influence in the world through the International Monetary Bank and the World Bank, both of which direct legal and economic reform in poor countries that are struggling to transition to democratic government and market economies.

 
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