SKILL SHARPENER 1. 800. 973.1177
William & Mary School of Law’s Study Abroad Program
[by Erica Winter]
The faculty and the number of course offerings are what distinguish William & Mary School of Law’s study abroad program in Madrid, Spain, from other
international legal education programs, says Assistant Program Director Anne Beckley.
William & Mary’s Marshall-Wythe School of consult past rulings but they are not bound
Law is the oldest law school in the country There are eight Spanish faculty members all by precedents set in those rulings, says
and was the first to establish a study abroad together, and one professor from William Koch.
program for law students. The school’s & Mary School of Law travels to Spain each
program in Exeter, England, started in 1967 summer to teach. Classes are taught in The goal of the Madrid program, says Koch,
and ran until 1998, says Beckley. Its Madrid English every morning for five days a week is to “broaden [students’] perspectives of
program started in 1988. over one month. The program offers a choice the law,” by showing them how Europeans
of nine classes, and each student takes three would deal with given legal issues. Also, even
Now, many law schools have overseas pro- classes while on the program. This is a wider domestic legal practice in the United States
grams; few, however, have faculty members variety of course offerings than most law is developing “a trans-Atlantic legal culture,”
who advise their nation’s parliaments or who school programs abroad, says Beckley. especially in business law and environmental
are helping to shape the new Constitution for law.
the European Union. On average, 100 students go on the program
each summer, says Beckley. Of these, 27 While some William & Mary law students,
The Academic Co-Director of William & are from William & Mary, and the others such as Stephanie Spirer, see their legal
Mary’s Madrid program, Professor José M. come from 43 different law schools across educations and careers molded by their ex-
de Areilza, advised the Spanish government the country. Last summer, five participants periences on the Madrid program, others see
during its negotiations of the new European did externships, says Beckley. The students summer study abroad programs as a way to
Constitution and has advised Spain’s Prime worked for one week in a Spanish law firm manage their academic schedule while also
Minister on North American and European before classes started in Madrid, giving them getting the chance to return overseas.
affairs. Professor de Areilza is Professor of a chance for international legal immersion.
European Union Law, Instituto de Empresa. Those who do this must be completely fluent Third-year William & Mary law student Philip
in Spanish. Chapman took the opportunity to study in
Fellow Co-Director Professor Javier Guillén Madrid so he could travel abroad again and
Caramés has been a consultant to the Span- Students in the program not only benefit also earn course credits so that his third year
ish Parliament on Constitutional and Public from living in another culture, but also from would not be so hectic, he says. Chapman
Administration issues, and he is the Ramon learning about another legal culture, says is fluent in Spanish and was one of three
y Cajal Professor of Administrative Law, Koch. Spanish law is “a whole different kind student assistants who helped coordinate
Universidad Rey Juan Carlos. of system, [with] a whole different legal activities while on the program.
The program’s use of Spanish faculty was A 1988 graduate of the University of Michi-
noted by the American Bar Association in its The United States has laws based on the gan, Chapman was in the Navy for 23 years
accreditation of the program, says Profes- English, common law system, whereas con- before attending law school. He studied
sor Charles Koch, the Woodbridge Professor tinental European law is based on a civil law Spanish at the Defense Language Institute,
of Law at William & Mary and Director of system, Koch explains. In the U.S. system, Monterey, CA, worked in South America for
the Madrid program. While in Virginia, Koch judges are required to base their rulings on six years, and had been to Spain while with
teaches administrative law. In Spain, he precedents set by previous cases. the Navy.
teaches comparative constitutional law and
European Union law. This is not so in Europe, where judges may “I like travel,” says Chapman, and the pro-
PAGE 1 continued on back
SKILL SHARPENER 1.800. 973. 1177
gram “gave me a chance to do that.” While
in Madrid, Chapman took classes on human
rights in Europe, civil and comparative con-
stitutional law, and the laws of the European
Union. After graduation Chapman will clerk
for a U.S. District Court Judge in the District
of Delaware and hopes to return to Virginia
to do litigation work.
To read more about Stephanie Spirer’s expe-
rience on William & Mary’s Madrid program,
see our article profiling her experiences in
the Law Student section of the site.