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Stanford Law School launches new graduate degree for international lawyers to focus on science/technology and corporate governance
This fall, Stanford Law School is launching a new, small, highly selective, one-year LLM (master of laws) program for experienced, foreign-trained lawyers. The program offers these professionals an opportunity to engage in graduate study in one of two specialized fields: corporate governance and practice, or law, science and technology.
The LLM program enrolls 18 students per year, and complements the established Stanford Program in International Legal Studies (SPILS), which enrolls 12 fellows per year. SPILS fellows include professors, scholars and government officials who come to Stanford to pursue advanced interdisciplinary research on issues of national or international concern. LLM students, lawyers who have distinguished themselves as outstanding legal practitioners, will take an individually tailored sequence of courses in one of the two specialty areas.
According to Kathleen M. Sullivan, dean and Richard E. Lang Professor and Stanley Morrison Professor at Stanford Law School, "[the School's] innovative curriculum for international lawyers emphasizes the most recent developments shaping legal institutions and reform in developing as well as developed nations, and global and regional as well as national systems."
"In launching our new LLM degree, we wanted to create a very focused master's program that has substantial rigor and integrity," said newly appointed Director of International Graduate Studies Jonathan D. Greenberg. "We chose two areas where our law school has exceptionally strong faculty and substantial course offerings, so we could organize the specialty programs around our existing curriculum."
The LLM students will be immersed in scholarship in each of these areas of specialization, said Greenberg. "When they return to practice in their native countries, they will carry with them what they have learned and share cutting-edge knowledge with colleagues and others around the world."
Corporate Governance and Practice track
The master of laws in corporate governance and practice offers rigorous professional training for experienced foreign-trained attorneys interested in accounting, bankruptcy, corporations, finance, mergers and acquisitions, securities, tax and venture capital.
This year's corporate governance class includes, among other students, a Swiss lawyer whose practice at Walder Wyss and Partners in Zurich focuses on capital markets, insurance, and competition law, an attorney from Brazil who is fluent is six languages and a Japanese litigation lawyer with Mori Sogo in Tokyo who is a nationally ranked ballroom dancer. It also includes the founder of King and Wood, one of the leading mainland Chinese law firms, a Russian lawyer who served as Deputy Manager of World Bank Programs at the International Finance Corporation in Moscow, and a French lawyer at the Paris office of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen and Hamilton who previously directed and wrote a successful French TV sitcom. The class also includes a Korean lawyer in private practice with Kim and Chang after serving as chief legal adviser for the Commander-in-Chief of the 6th Brigade of the Republic of Korea Navy, an attorney from Kazakhstan with LeBoeuf, Lamb Greene and MacRae's Kazahk office, and a Chinese lawyer serving as chief in-house counsel for Praxair (China) Investment Co., who formerly practiced with Deloitte and Touche Tohmatsu in Shanghai.
"LLM programs in the U.S. are becoming the way that top students worldwide get exposure to American-style legal training and thinking," said Bernard Black, law professor and director of the Corporate Governance and Practice LLM Program. "The American conception is that lawyers are business advisers, consultants and planners. Their job is not limited to giving legal advice."
Stanford's LLM program is unique in its small size, Black observed. With only nine students in each specialty area, each student can expect individual attention. "We were able to create a specialized international corporate governance seminar and corporate governance and practice colloquium, as part of the Corporate Governance and Practice program, because we've got a small group of students with common interests who can talk to each other," said Black. "It's also exciting to me to have the corporate governance students in regular classes. They are very good students, they know why they are here, they've been out in the real world already, and they are highly motivated. They do the work and ask questions. That's an important plus for the whole law school."
Law, Science & Tech focus
Through the Law, Science & Technology LLM Program, lawyers trained in other countries will have access to Stanford's rich resources and its connection to Silicon Valley. Students will undertake training in such areas as e-commerce, jurisdiction and dispute resolution in cyberspace, intellectual property regimes and contractual developments related to the global information economy, venture capital, and high technology start-up companies.
"Their practice will be uniquely enhanced by the knowledge of American legal culture they will gain here, and their ability to put it together with what they already know," said Margaret Jane Radin, director of the Stanford Program in Law, Science & Technology as well as the related LLM program. "They are being mainstreamed in our JD classes, which means that their knowledge and experience of other systems will also deeply enrich the legal education of our JD students. It's a win-win."
Radin, the Wm. Benjamin Scott and Luna M. Scott Professor of Law, was chosen to head the Law, Science & Technology program because she has an extensive background in cyberlaw, specializing in e-commerce. She was the first Stanford Law professor to launch her own web site, and the first to teach a class in a computer lab.
The inaugural class of students entering the law, science, and technology LLM track includes an in-house counsel in Intellectual Property Licensing for Hitachi in Japan who is also director of the University of Tokyo's Wind Orchestra, a Chinese attorney serving as Microsoft China's legal manager after working as a soybean trader, and an Argentine lawyer who served as in-house counsel at Cisco Systems Argentina and senior associate at the Buenos Aires law firm of Allende and Brea. The group also includes a Kazakh lawyer working for LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae and Baker & McKenzie in Almaty, Kazakhstan with experience drafting legislation for his country, an experienced Australian lawyer with Gilbert and Tobin who has published a number of articles on copyright in a digital context and a Japanese attorney with Nishimura & Partners in Tokyo who has also authored information technology-related articles. Furthermore, the class consists of an Indian attorney with Amarchand & Mangaldas & Suresh A. Shroff & Co. in Mumbai and the founder of the Legal Services Support Team, an organization that provides legal documentation assistance to NGO's, and an associate at Chile's largest law firm, Carey y Cia and another of this group's published authors in the cyberlaw and e-commerce fields.
"The practice of law is becoming more and more international," said Radin. "More and more transactions have an international aspect, and anyone who wishes to practice any kind of transactional law or litigation must take account of multinational aspects, one way or the other. The more lawyers can become familiar with multiple legal systems, the more the practice gains. And the more chance we have for ultimate harmonization of the welter of conflicting laws, too."