The panel was held in New York at Annual Meeting of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) on 3 January 2014.
Panel moderator was George Edwards, who is The C.M. Gray Professor of Law at Indiana University McKinney School of Law, and founding Faculty Director of that school’s Master of Laws (LL.M.) Track in International Human Rights Law. Professor Edwards noted that:
“Some law teachers at non-U.S. law schools may come to the U.S. to earn law degrees to help them further their teaching career at home, or help prepare them to teach at a U.S. law school. Some non-U.S. students seeking their initial law teaching job may join a U.S. LL.M. or S.J.D. program to prepare them to join the academy. Today’s panelists will offer suggestions and guidance on a full range of opportunities. We will also learn about funding opportunities for non-U.S. students, to help them cover expenses for these U.S. law school programs. U.S. law schools are expensive. And we want to provide as much information as possible about scholarships, fellowships and other funding.”
The Panel sponsor was the AALS Section on U.S. Graduate Programs for Non-U.S. Lawyers. The Section recognizes that thousands of law teachers from around the world come to the U.S. for advanced legal training, and that increasingly U.S.
Panelists & Remarks
Panelists included law school graduate program administrators, U.S. law school professors, a non-U.S. law school teacher who has had law training in the U.S., a university-wide official, and an administrator of the U.S. State Department Fulbright program that provides scholarships for law professors to come to the U.S. and for U.S. law professors to go overseas. The audience was full, and a rigorous question / answer discussion period was engaged in.
Tim Stanne, who is Director of Graduate Admissions at New York University (NYU), spoke about the multiple NYU programs and program components specifically geared towards preparing graduates to teach law. The NYU program is significantly larger than the Yale and most other U.S. law programs for non-U.S. lawyers or law teachers, and provides many opportunities to prepare students for law teaching. Director Stanne noted how NYU incorporates legal research and theory into its different LL.M. tracks / programs, to help accommodate the needs of students who wish to begin law teaching or to continue in their existing law teaching careers. Director Stanne is responsible for admissions to all NYU graduate law programs in NYC & Singapore.
Mohamed Okasha Abdelaal offered the perspective of a non-U.S. law teacher who is now in the U.S. for his advanced law degrees. He is Assistant Professor of Law at Alexandria University Law School in Egypt, and is currently enrolled in the J.S.D. program at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, where he recently received his LL.M. degree. He spoke about requirements in some countries for law teachers to have terminal law degrees such as the PhD or S.J.D., why law teachers leave their home countries for these degrees, and why they might choose the U.S. and not another country for their degrees. He also discussed his general experiences as a non-U.S. student enrolled in U.S. law school degree programs. He graduated first in his class of 7,200 students at Alexandria University Faculty of Law.
Linda Tobash spoke about why the U.S. government, non-U.S. governments, and private groups support international legal exchanges. She is Director of University Placement of the Institute of International Education (IIE), which administers the U.S. Department of State Fulbright Program and other programs. Ms. Tobash leads the IIE staff responsible for placing over 1,700 sponsored international graduate students, primarily Fulbright grantees, in U.S., and select worldwide, graduate university programs each year. Attention was drawn to a book chapter she co-authored titled "The State of International Education" that appeared in the AACRAO International Guide (of of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Officers). Her presentation drew on her decades of experience in admissions and international education, which has led her to be a frequent presenter on these topics domestically and internationally.
Ms. Tobash emphasized that public and citizen diplomacy involved in international legal exchanges, and mentioned the significance of such exchanges in the geopolitical arena. She highlighted the following three categories of Fulbright Programs and Awards, for non-U.S. students / legal professionals coming to the U.S., and for U.S. students / legal professionals going outside the U.S.:
(a) Fulbright Student Exchanges: Non-U.S. students, U.S. Students, and Fulbright-Clinton Public Policy Fellowships
(b) Fulbright Scholar Exchanges: Visiting Scholars; U.S. Scholars; Specialists; New Century Scholars; Scholars in Residence
(c) Other Fulbright Awards: Fulbright Nexus; Fulbright Classroom Teacher Exchange; Fulbright Ambassador; Distinguished Fulbright Awards in Teaching; Hubert Humphrey Fellowship Program
Ms. Tobash drew attention to EducationUSA, which is a U.S. State-Department sponsored initiative with 450 Advising Centers in 170 countries, focusing on providing information to non-U.S. students about study in the U.S. Anyone interested in coming to the U.S. to study, in any field or at any level, might visit a local EducationUSA Advising Center in their home country for further information. Find your closest Advising Center here.
Dean Shulman also emphasized that: "SJD and Visiting Scholars programs are valuable for small law schools as well as large law schools because they increase revenues, build LLM recruiting pipelines, enhance intellectual discussion and provide global perspectives to the community. They are also worth supporting because they improve the teaching in, the laws in, and the reality of rule of law in sending countries when these scholars return home with new ideas, values, and skills.”
The full title of the Panel was “Educating Non-U.S. Law Professors: Administrative, Professorial, Governmental, Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) and Student Perspectives”. The Panel was held at the New York Hilton Midtown, and was well-attended. The panel provided significant information for anyone interested in non-U.S. persons in U.S. law schools furthering their law teaching ambitions and career.
More information about graduate law education for non-U.S. lawyers and law teachers can be found on the websites of all the programs mentioned above.
Furthermore, links to other resources can be found at this link: Graduate Program Resources, which is on the webpage of LL.M. Roadmap: An International Student’s Guide to U.S. Law School Programs (www.LLMRoadMap.com). Professor Edwards is author of the LL.M. Roadmap book and website.