; William & Mary Law Student Finds Philosophical Quest and Practical Skills in Spain
Learning Center
Plans & pricing Sign in
Sign Out
Your Federal Quarterly Tax Payments are due April 15th Get Help Now >>

William & Mary Law Student Finds Philosophical Quest and Practical Skills in Spain


William and Mary law student finds philosophical quest and practical skills in Spain. Studying in Spain could benefit someone working on a practical level.

More Info
  • pg 1
									SKILL SHARPENER                                                                                                               1. 800. 973.1177

William & Mary Law Student Finds Philosophical Quest and Practical
Skills in Spain
[by Erica Winter]
What can U.S. lawyers learn from European lawyers? And how can U.S. law benefit from European law? Stephanie Spirer is a good example of an answer to
the former question, and she is currently working on the answer to the latter.

Spirer is a second-year law student at Wil-          both sides to come to a “cross-cultural” un-      have examined international opinions on the
liam & Mary’s Marshall-Wythe School of               derstanding. This also applies in court cases,    practice, for example. And, there currently is
Law, Williamsburg, VA. She spent part of the         says Spirer, when lawyers need to under-          a proposed resolution before the U.S. House
summer of 2004 in Madrid, Spain, on William          stand the other side’s perspective.               of Representatives seeking to prevent U.S.
& Mary’s study abroad program there. The                                                               courts from considering foreign court deci-
Madrid program “really enriched my legal             On a philosophical level, Spirer saw the          sions when making their own rulings.
education,” says Spirer.                             difference in how Spaniards see Americans
                                                     and how Americans see ourselves, including        The side supporting the resolution says
A Spanish and political science double               opinions on the then-upcoming U.S. elec-          that the U.S. should not be bound by foreign
major, Spirer did not have the chance to             tions. Arriving in Spain soon after the March     laws and rulings, explains Spirer. The side
study abroad while an undergraduate at Ohio          11 train bombings, Spirer and fellow pro-         opposing it says that U.S. courts would not
Northern University (class of 2003). Spirer          gram participants saw the need for nations to     be bound by foreign judicial rulings and
jumped at the chance to study in Spain while         support each other in the face of tragedy, she    laws by considering them but rather that the
in law school, even though her legal career          says. Having political discussions with Span-     comparison of ideas that may be succeeding
focus is towards domestic politics and gov-          ish people showed her how connected the           elsewhere could aide in decisions here.
ernment relations, not international law.            world is and how important it is to facilitate
                                                     dialogue among people internationally.            With many law schools’ international
This coming summer, Spirer will work at the                                                            programs accepting students from other
Indianapolis firm of Baker & Daniels, which          Contemplating these ideas in the context of       schools, Spirer originally chose the William
has a strong government relations group.             her legal studies lead Spirer to her journal      & Mary Madrid program specifically because
Spirer will do general work at the firm. And         note topic. Spirer, a member of William &         of the ease of transferring credits and
in the fall 2005 semester, Spirer will do an         Mary’s Bill of Rights Journal, is examin-         because of the faculty. Overall, “I was really
externship with the Virginia State Legisla-          ing whether or not the U.S. Supreme Court         impressed with the professors,” she says.
ture.                                                should look at foreign court decisions in its
                                                     own decision-making process.                      Students in the program provided an “inter-
Studying in Spain could benefit someone                                                                esting perspective,” Spirer says, because
working in a legal career or in the U.S.             As part of the note, Spirer is looking at Fed-    they were not only studying in Spain, but also
government on a practical level, Spirer said.        eralism through a comparison of the 22nd          being taught by Spanish professors (in Eng-
It is as simple as communicating between             Amendment to the Constitution (repealing          lish). As yet another cross-cultural benefit of
different cultures. Spirer’s Spanish friends         Prohibition) and a 1978 case that went before     the program, one of the eight Spanish faculty
told her that their opinions of Americans            the European Court of Justice. She is looking     members in the program, Professor José M.
changed by meeting her, as did her perspec-          at whether this comparison can help us bet-       de Areilza, will come to William & Mary next
tive change by meeting them.                         ter understand our own federalism.                spring to teach European Union Constitu-
                                                                                                       tional Foundations.
The skill of communicating with those who            Considering foreign court decisions is a hotly
think differently can be carried into both           debated question now, says Spirer, and not        Having advised the Spanish government
political and legal career life. Two sides of        only in the realm of international relations.     during the development of the European
a contested political issue can only come to         Questions involving the death penalty for ju-     Constitution, Professor de Areilza, Academic
an understanding when an effort is made by           veniles, which is still allowed in some states,   Co-Director of the William & Mary Madrid

PAGE 1                                                                                                                               continued on back
SKILL SHARPENER                                  1.800. 973. 1177

program and Professor of European Union
Law and Vice-Dean of Legal Studies at the
Instituto de Empresa in Madrid, is an expert
on the European Union’s new Constitution.
In addition, he was an advisor to the Span-
ish Prime Minister on European and North
American Affairs and teaches law in Poland.

As for how students relate to him, Spirer
sums it up, “He was such a great professor.”
Not surprisingly, she plans to take his course
next spring.


To top