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William & Mary School of Law's Study Abroad Program

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					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.
                                                  culture.”
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-




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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.




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Description: William and Marys Marshall-Wythe School of Law is the oldest law school in the country and was the first to establish a study abroad program for law students.
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