By Professor Paul Carrier
Professor Paul Carrier has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship – his second – to teach International Law at the University of Belgrade in Serbia. This is the inaugural post in a series that will recount his experiences. Professor Carrier has for years made important contacts around the world on behalf of Cooley. Cooley students should in particular note the wonderful international externship opportunities available to them.
I just finished a three-week intensive Slovak language course offered by the Philosophy Faculty, Comenius University, Slovak Republic as a way to refresh my connection to Central European languages and culture. I have also met or corresponded with a variety of former colleagues and friends in Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Austria. Their professions range from former law clerks who worked with me, to Slovak judges who I have met and taught Legal English, to the named partner of a Viennese arbitration firm who has already accepted three externs from Cooley.
One of my goals was to try to put myself back into the right frame of mind, culturally and linguistically, as I am about to embark on a teaching assignment with the Faculty of Law at the University of Belgrade in Serbia.
Another goal was to continue professional relationships as a way to establish externship opportunities in international law for Cooley students who would like to gain legal experience abroad.
Externships that I have helped to establish include law firms in Bucharest, Romania; Beijing, China; Singapore; and, now, Belgrade, Serbia. Cooley has a truly unique and highly professional externship program. To date, every externship site that I have worked with has been pleased with their Cooley externs, and, though some are on-again, off-again due to student interest, all are willing to consider future externs from Cooley. The only hurdle that I have experienced with the establishment of foreign externships is to convince a first-time site to take a Cooley extern. Once the first extern is in place, the program’s value becomes clear and then sells itself. In fact, some sites such as a business law firm in Madrid, Spain regularly ask whether there are any good candidates for upcoming terms (not always easy to fill).
My primary assignment in Serbia is to help the law students at the University of Belgrade with skills-based courses and moot court opportunities such as the VIS International Arbitration Competition held in Vienna, Austria every year. While there, I hope to broaden my understanding of civil law systems based on the Austro-Hungarian codes model, on teaching and learning trends in Central Europe and in the Balkans for law students, and to delve more deeply into different legal philosophies.
I look forward to sharing insights on different legal philosophies and on different teaching methods and learning expectations with regard to the Serbian law students with whom I will have the pleasure to work over the next two semesters.