@WashULaw Is an International Success as Program Gears Up for Fifth Cohort of Online LLM Students
Nearly a year after it was launched, Washington University School of Law’s @WashULaw online LLM program has now enrolled more than 50 students, and is now preparing to enroll its fifth cohort. Current students hail from Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, China, Colombia, Ecuador, England, France, Ghana, India, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Korea, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
@WashULaw students are established lawyers in their home countries. They include a member of the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of India’s Parliament, a legal analyst for Royal Dutch Shell PLC in London, a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, and a former advisor of legal affairs and coordinator of privileges and immunities for the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Most students also have advanced degrees—including LLMs, PhDs, and other degrees and academic distinctions—from top universities across the globe.
The program’s cutting-edge, web-based format allows foreign attorneys to earn a Master of Laws (LLM) in U.S. Law without relocating to the United States. Students engage and collaborate through live, face-to-face online class sessions taught by the school’s distinguished law faculty, who also teach in the on-campus program.
Reuben Guttman—director at Grant & Eisenhofer’s Washington, D.C., office and “one of the world’s most prominent whistleblower attorneys” according to the International Business Times—had high praise for @WashULaw when he saw it in action at the 2013 International Bar Association Conference in Boston.
“Where U.S. law schools’ overseas endeavors can be high cost and risky, the Washington University strategy is premised on [online] technology which brings students to St. Louis—or Boston—without boarding an airplane,” Guttman wrote in a commentary published on the blog The Global Legal Post. “Whether other law schools will follow the Washington University lead remains a question.But here in Boston where Harvard has reigned as king of legal training, Washington University is leaving its mark.”
@WashULaw students appreciate the convenience and breadth that the program’s platform provides. “Because of my job and family commitments, I cannot leave my hometown to pursue an LLM course,” says Tzuting Liao, legal manager at Comestibles Master in Taiwan. “The communication technique makes the online programs very convenient and interactive; I will not learn less just because I am not on-site, and I have made connections and good friends. I am more confident to join the worldwide legal field now.”
@WashULaw student Pablo Espinosa, managing partner at Forum Abogados in Quito, Ecuador, says that the admissions process made him feel like he was more than “just another name” among applicants.
“I felt like a person in whom they were genuinely interested,” he says. “Now that I am part of this great institution, I still have the same feeling. Because of the course content and the diversity among my classmates, I am convinced that this program will broaden my horizons, insights, and perspectives at both the local and the international levels.”
Once in the program, @WashULaw students say they enjoy the comprehensive nature of the courses offered, which are designed and taught by Washington University law school faculty, who are renowned legal educators and scholars.
Currently, faculty teaching in the @WashULaw program include:
- Scott Baker, Professor of Law and Professor of Economics (Contracts)
- Peter Cramer, Assistant Dean, Graduate Programs (Legal English)
- John Drobak, the George Alexander Madill Professor of Real Property & Equity Jurisprudence and Professor of Economics (Civil Procedure)
- Leigh Greenhaw, Senior Lecturer in Law (Introduction to U.S. Law and Methods)
- Daniel Keating, the Tyrrell Williams Professor of Law (Contracts)
- Michael Koby, Associate Dean for Graduate Programs; Professor of Practice; and Director, Trial and Advocacy Program, (Introduction to U.S. Law and Methods)
- Jo Ellen Lewis, Director of Legal Practice and Professor of Practice (Legal Writing )
- Adam Rosenzweig, Professor of Law (Business Associations)
One of the most recent additions to the curriculum, Lewis’ course focuses on teaching the predictable structure of typical legal documents used by attorneys in the United States and strategies used in drafting and evaluating those documents.
“During the course, the attorneys/students drafted several typical legal documents and made online presentations critiquing selected legal documents,” Lewis says.
@WashULaw students are enthusiastic about the course selection. “The courses are smartly chosen by the university so that I will be able, at the end, to have a wide comprehension and knowledge of the American legal system to help me in my legal practice,” says Valerie Boisgard of Melun, France, who holds a post-graduate degree in private law. “The courses are of excellent quality, the professors are particularly involved and enthusiastic in the program, and the technical support is very responsive.”
In June of 2014, faculty members, administrators, and many of the students are looking forward to gathering in the United States for an optional Summer Immersion session. In St. Louis, students will enhance their in-class education by learning more about the U.S. court and criminal justice systems. Those in New York City will focus on financial markets and corporate law, while students in Washington, D.C. will learn about federal law, policy, and the legislative process.