New LLM class strengthens Penn Law’s global connections
More than 100 internationally trained lawyers, judges, NGO leaders, government officials and other legal professionals arrived at the University of Pennsylvania Law School this month for a year of graduate study in its expanding Master of Laws (LLM) program.
The 115 students, selected from a record-high pool of nearly 1300 applicants, come from 37 countries and represent the largest LLM class in the Law School’s history.
The program, which was established in 1898, has grown in size in recent years – the Class of 2000 enrolled 64 students from 20 countries – as well as in its breadth and quality.
For example, this year’s class will have the option of earning a remodeled cross-disciplinary certificate in business and law, offered in conjunction with Wharton’s Aresty Institute of Executive Education.
“This cohort of students greatly enhances the educational environment of the Law School by bringing their perspectives as experienced, international attorneys to the classroom,” said Matthew Parker L’00, Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies. “They are also invaluable in assisting the Law School in forging links with legal practitioners and academics in other jurisdictions as Penn Law continues to bring on innovative new international programs.”
By arriving in August, the LLM students are able to participate in a special summer program introducing them to the U.S. legal system and legal research and writing before the fall semester begins.
The international students, almost all of whom have law degrees from their home countries, come to Penn Law to enhance their understanding of American law and its global connections. Many are attracted by the strength of the Law School’s cross-disciplinary curriculum.
“I chose Penn Law over other Ivy League schools because it is the best university in the United States to study law from an interdisciplinary approach, and that was what I was looking for,” said Mauricio Guim, an accomplished law professor from Ecuador. “Earning the credits to take the New York bar exam in one of the best law schools in the United States makes you special in any legal market in the world. But to be able to learn the arts of legal argument, legal decision-making and legal reasoning from a broader perspective than the legalese makes you unique.”
Mengshan Xu, who earned his law degree in Shanghai and was admitted to the Chinese bar last November, said he chose Penn Law for graduate study because “I believe it is one of the best places to study law, especially corporate law.”
Kristoffer Nerland, who interned at three law firms in his native Norway and was offered permanent positions at each of them, said he also was attracted to Penn Law for its “unparalleled corporate law team.” He added: “I think that the school’s interdisciplinary approach certainly will equip me to better face real-world problems, since reality is not strictly divided into different theoretical disciplines as they usually are in the academy.”
The international students, who take classes alongside upper level JD students, bring enormous diversity to the Law School’s classrooms. Other members of the 2013 LLM Class include:
- The legal advisor to federal congressman from Argentina
- A member of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture
- A judge of the Court of Appeals in Vienna
- A law professor from Ecuador
- The editor of a Greek law review
- A former intern to the leader of the opposition party in Upper House of the Indian parliament
- A female member of the Iranian Central Bar Association
- A former advocate in the Human Rights Division of the Israeli Ministry of Justice
- The first female assistant director of the Telecommunication Policy Division of Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications
- A Korean district court judge
Graduates of the program become international ambassadors for the Law School. “Each year, the LLMs form incredibly strong bonds with the Law School,” Parker said. “I have met so many LLM alumni who recall it as the best year of their lives.”