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Discover How to Spend an Entire Semester “Down Under” With Cooley Law School

Luke 1Co0ley’s Great Australia/New Zealand Foreign Study Program

Luke Pears-Dickson was a guest student at Cooley from Seattle University School of Law, attending Cooley’s 2013 Australia/New Zealand Foreign Study Program.  Here is his endorsement of Cooley’s program.

 Studying abroad with the Down Under program was an amazing experience. The guest professors in New Zealand and Australia were intelligent, dynamic, and inspirational. The professional and social events with the program gave us the opportunity to meet politicians, judges, and legal academics from all over the world and took us to some of the most breathtaking places Down Under.

I never had the chance to study abroad in undergrad, so this experience was truly eye-opening and life changing for me — I would highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in gaining a more diversified understanding of global legal systems and a deeper insight into themselves. Travel truly makes you a better person.

Luke 2

Luke 1

Luke 4

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Five Things Future Attorneys Can Learn From Kiwis

TeddyEisenhut
Teddy Eisenhut is a third-year Cooley student participating in our study-abroad program in New Zealand.  She has obviously learned some important lessons about life — lessons that will hold her in good stead as a lawyer.

The common perception of foreign study is total immersion into another culture to live and learn somewhere far from home. This is completely true. But the most beneficial aspect of the whole experience is not just the memories and life-changing experiences, but the lessons you take away from them.

Studying in New Zealand for the past six weeks has provided me with the opportunity and pleasure to get to know a few Kiwis (New Zealanders). In addition to their love of rugby and knack for creating adrenaline-releasing sports, I learned a few important lessons that I think are beneficial to someone who is looking ahead as a future attorney.

1. It’s not always better to be safe than sorry

While visiting a town in the Coromandel Peninsula, I had the opportunity to try my hand at some cliff diving (or in my case jumping). I found myself at the top of the 30-foot plunge, with only a rope to abseil myself down to the jumping point. My strategy revolved around two possible endings to the whole situation. Either I was going to successfully propel myself down the rock wall or I was not. If the latter, I planned to keep up the forward momentum and jump off, hoping to not land on the rocks below. Thankfully, the ordeal ended in the former. Looking back, the whole situation was a little absurd and mostly dangerous, but it was one of the best experiences I’ve had on this trip. Looking ahead, I realized it’s sometimes important to take a leap, even if the landing is uncertain. The view is great from the top of the cliff, but the story isn’t half as great as it is from the water below.

Teddy's Dive

2. Give without expectation of return

One of the most moving aspects of Kiwi culture is the deep-rooted presence of this rule, a mantra often repeated yet rarely practiced in the U.S. Throughout our New Zealand experience, friends would pick us up, invite us into their homes for dinner or a swim, and even offer us places to stay on our travels. The gift that left the biggest impression on my mind, however, came from a Kiwi we met socializing on the beach one night. Being in a somewhat remote area and at a loss of what really to do there, we asked him where the best places were to visit. He offered to show us a number of places the next day. Holding true to his promise, he spent his entire day off showing complete strangers not only some beautiful tourist spots, but also some hidden secrets. In an economy where advancement, both monetarily and career-wise, is in the forefront of everyone’s mind, it becomes easy to forget the reward of helping someone “just because.” However, serving others is the core of the legal profession, and we, as future attorneys, make a commitment to put others’ needs before our own. In our careers, it is important to move forward, but it is as equally important to consider at what cost.

3. Take time to just think about things

As Americans and especially as students, we have grown accustomed to the instant availability of information via the Internet. I never realized the degree of my attachment until I was deprived of late-night library hours and the cost of purchasing Internet by the gigabyte. One of the most important lessons I learned in New Zealand was the power of just thinking things through. As law students, we often jump right into research by firing up Westlaw and punching in keywords that somehow relate to a topic, hoping that one of them will come back with a winner. What we often skip over is the process of actually thinking a problem through, coming up with possible solutions, then looking for precedent to match the best ideas. This process not only saves a lot of time, but also helps to clarify and uncover weaknesses in an argument. We often forget that our most powerful asset is our mind and its ability to see outside the confines of drawn boundaries.

4. Make a point to learn someone’s story

Perhaps a socially shy person like myself would rather meticulously map out an area before visiting than have to stop and ask for directions. Given the lack of Internet I mentioned earlier and the remoteness of New Zealand in general, you simply can’t do that. If anything has changed about myself in the past six weeks, it has been my ability to just talk to people. Inextricably attached to this ability is the ability to listen. Just listening to the stories of the people I met, I learned so much more about New Zealand than I ever could have learned visiting the many landmarks and museums. As students of the law, we are often two steps ahead of ourselves with an answer – not actually taking time to listen to a problem or the arguments against it. Unfortunately, this characteristic, though important in moderation, often causes us to miss information or fail to see the whole picture. Most importantly, it often makes us appear overbearing or uncompassionate. Choosing a field that essentially makes us problem-solvers, clients will come to us at some of the hardest moments in their life. Our inability to listen and communicate might not only lose a case, but also a client.

Whitianga

5. Work hard and then watch the sunset off the end of your surf board

Many Kiwis commuted to the town of Hamilton, the place we called our home for six weeks. Most of them came from a small surf town called Raglan located about forty minutes away. One of the biggest adjustments we, as American students, had to make was the fact that most stores adhered to a strict policy of closing at 5:00 p.m. We learned that this was to accommodate the value Kiwis put on a relaxing end to their day – mainly catching the evening surf swell. I believe there is a bigger lesson to take away from this, though. Kiwis are committed to the most important part of life – just living. The five o’clock rule isn’t so much about ending the workday as soon as possible; it is about enjoying the last bit of a long day with friends and family. Going into a profession that requires a considerable amount of our time and resources, it’s important to remember the importance of sometimes leaving work behind and enjoying the sunset or the company of friends over a few drinks and a nice meal.

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How to Have a Great Cooley Foreign Externship Experience

Melanie GloverMelanie Glover is a 2010  Cooley alumna who practices immigration and naturalization law with the Dallas-based law firm of Davis & Associates.  In this post, Melanie recounts her wonderful externship experience in Spain and offers advice for current Cooley students.

 While at Cooley, I was able to work as an extern at a law firm in Madrid, Spain. Identifying the right placement may take a bit more time, but I strongly recommend that students interested in international or comparative law take advantage of this opportunity.

To prepare for my externship, I first checked with the Externship Office where I learned that it was possible to satisfy the externship requirement abroad. Since the School’s database did not yet contain a firm or contact in Madrid, the Externship Office directed me to use the mechanisms for having a new site approved. This may take a bit more time, but it is very well worth the effort.

Next, I identified several web sites that list firms and lawyers in different cities around the world. The search engines at these sites permitted the selection of parameters such as the type of law that a firm or lawyer practices, the city, country or region being searched, and even the size of the firm (www.hg.org or www.martindale.com). I identified about 20 firms and sent resumes and cover letters to attorneys at each location.

I suggest that an interested student should send an externship request to the listed hiring or managing partner if there is one or to a partner or associate at the firm who does the kind of work that is of interest. In addition, it is useful to clarify from the beginning that the position sought would be unpaid. Another helpful tip is to follow up methodically to schedule phone interviews. It is important to remember that lawyers and law firms receive numerous resumes and that success requires making yours stand out – professional follow-up is one of the best ways to do this. Finally, I narrowed my choices to three firms, and I found myself in the difficult but fortunate position of having to choose among three offers for an externship position. In the end, my choice was to extern for a law firm, Mariscal Abogados & Asociados, whose primary practice is corporate and commercial law.

Melanie and Her Mentor
My foreign-externship experience was invaluable because of the variety of hands-on legal work that I was permitted to do.  My tasks were varied and meaningful. I researched and wrote memorandums covering issues concerning commercial contracts and employment agreements. I attended informal meetings with governmental officials, and I also was allowed to handle corporate filings at the Madrid Commercial Registry.

Spanish Post Office

A significant amount of my work also included translating articles about international-law topics including intellectual property, debt collection, contract, and employment issues. While “translating” may seem a bit mundane, I learned that it was a much-needed skill that opened the door to many of my “legal” assignments. This is because translating, I found, can be used as a learning tool to help quickly and concisely bring the translator up-to-speed on a developing legal issue. I was even able to observe client interactions and pre-trial negotiations. I was also fortunate to have Dean Toy conduct the site visit, and the firm was very impressed the professionalism of Cooley’s externship-review process.

Would-be foreign externs should be aware that foreign law firms have the greatest need for locally licensed attorneys, which means that a post-externship position may not always be possible at first. Nevertheless, forward-thinking externs can secure great recommendations, life-long friendships, new skills, and an eye-opening experience that changes you for the better. To this day, I maintain contact with the lawyers I worked with at Mariscal Abogados & Asociados and even help with short legal articles that the firm uses as part of its promotional materials. I also try to encourage others to extern for the same firm. For example, I have heard that a Grand Rapids student may be externing at the law firm this summer. Whatever foreign externship experience you decide to pursue, a little investment in time and effort can shape the rest of your legal career in ways you did not anticipate.

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Greetings From Belgrade

Prof. Paul Carrier

Prof. Paul Carrier

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.  He is writing a series of posts about his  experiences.

Greetings from Belgrade! On assignment at the University of Belgrade Faculty of Law, I had the good fortune to meet with the President of the Serbian Bar Association recently. There are some very exciting legal happenings afoot.  Along with teaching and skills course work, I will try to lend a hand and to learn as much as I can about a national bar in the state of transition. I may also pick up a few tips and pointers regarding an international extradition case.

The Serbian Bar Association is an independent organization promulgating and enforcing the rules of admission and membership since 1868. There are eight regional bar associations for the eight administrative regions in the country, with a Council comprised of members of each regional bar association. Authority to self-govern was granted by the Ministry of Justice, and the main governing body is the Council. (The bar associations of Kosovo and of Metohija are currently not involved in Serbian Bar Association activities due to their steps to become self-governing and fully autonomous regions).

Current issues facing the national bar are a new, voluntary continuing legal education training system responding to EU requirements for accession into the union and a ruling by the national constitutional court that arguably establishes government control over licensing in contravention of the nearly 150 years of autonomy. With regard to the former, a new voluntary system of continuing legal education is set to take effect for the legal bar, with the possible implementation of a mandatory system in due course. The early focus is on criminal law and criminal procedure as the country undergoes transformation from a civil-law advocacy system to a more adversarial one. Of utmost priority is training of attorneys in criminal procedure, especially for witness examination, cross-examination, the use of leading questions, and related matters. Following these efforts, the Advokatska Komora Srbije (AKS) will turn to training regimes for other major practice areas (called “katedra” here, or major practice areas) such as civil law and international law.

A recent decision by the constitutional court has now put into question the autonomy of the AKS. Serbian law only allows review of administrative issues, and not substantive ones. The issue then is one of the separation of powers, i.e., whether it is the Ministry of Justice or some other governmental agency or court to act as the final arbiter of AKS rules and practice, or whether it will remain with the bar association as it has for the last 150 years.

The AKS is also attempting to license, govern and discipline all lawyers in Serbia. Currently, the AKS only has authority over attorneys at law, and not judges or prosecutors, who have their own rule-making and standards-enforcing systems. The AKS also does not have authority over in-house counsel, who are governed and sanctioned in their dealings at commercial courts by their own corporate employers.

The AKS President is involved in an extradition request on an Interpol warrant for a dual citizen of the United States and of Israel involving an international extradition treaty.

Finally, I am also supervising an extern working at a Belgrade business law firm in addition to my duties at the Faculty of Law. In addition to the truly unique legal issues that I am learning here, I will be trying to open more doors to rewarding externship opportunities.

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Gone Abroad, But Hardly a Stranger in a Strange Land

Prof. Paul Carrier

Prof. Paul Carrier

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.

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The Wonderful People Down Under

Michelle Zurcher is a student in Cooley’s Australia Study Abroad Program.  This is her second posting from Down Under.

Michelle Zurcher (l) with Cooley colleagues Dan McCann, Mandi Bucceroni, and Tiffany Fifer

Michelle Zurcher (l) with fellow Cooley students Dan McCann, Mandi Bucceroni, and Tiffany Fifer

I thought when I went to the Outback restaurant this past fall in Michigan that it would really help me know Australians.  I also thought the highest earning Australian movie – “Crocodile Dundee” – was going to be right on point with each Aussie I met.  Just so you know, I have never seen a crocodile wrestler, nor have I seen Paul Hogan in person.  When I arrived in sunny Sydney, however, I realized that I was wrong about what I knew before coming to AU.  Here is why I was wrong….

Australians are perhaps the friendliest people I have ever met internationally.  Melbourne is a big city that has a small hometown atmosphere.  Maybe that’s why people love living here so much.  They tend to be relaxed in every moment – even during a morning rush hour when the tram has come to a sudden halt due to a mechanical problem.  As a whole they seem very fit, jolly, good looking, and have nice accents.  And don’t you worry – I have heard many Aussies speak, and, yes, their accents vary depending on what location they are from.  (For example, south Australia accents sound more like the British whereas western accents sound like a stronger Australian accent.)

So why are Australians so happy?  Maybe it’s the strong sun light beaming down on the hot street pavement.  Perhaps because Aussies seem fit and eat healthy fresh fruits and vegetables from the busy Queen Victoria Market.  I mean, Australians don’t even have movie theatre butter to squirt on their popcorn!  

 More Australian terms to know:

1. “Bloke.”  That’s a male.

2. “Sheila.”  That’s a female.

3. “Mate.”  That’s generally a male, but could also be a friend.

4. “Cheers.”  When a mate is pushing a stroller at 2:00 in the afternoon and you hold the door open for them, they are not telling you “cheers” to lift your glass.   This term means “thank you.”

5. “No Worries.”  This is a common reply to “cheers,” and it means “you’re welcome.” 

6. “Lemonade” is not what the eight-year-old is attempting to sell in your residential neighborhood.  Lemonade is “Sprite” pop.  

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Bring Your Own…

Michelle Zurcher is a student in Cooley’s Australia Study Abroad Program.  This is her first posting from Down Under.

Michelle Zurcher Arrives in Australia

I’m sitting in the classroom where Cooley Professor John Marks just taught the Equities and Remedies class in our 5th week here.  Don’t worry though — Professor Marks has Tim Tams for all the students to try for the “breakfast of champions” this morning.  This short chocolate bar melts in your mouth with a crunch of chocolate wafers in between.

Australia is quite a unique place that has a touch of the European and American feel, yet it’s definitely its own distinct country.  If you’ve never been Down Under, here are a few things to know:

B. Y. O…

1. Band aids. They’re expensive and fall off if you buy them in AU.

2. Contact solution. It’s 3x the price here ($13.99 vs. $42.00).

3. Zip Lock bags. For food or fun (so your shampoo in your luggage doesn’t leak).

4. Facial soap, make up, and so on. It’s either too expensive or they don’t have what we are familiar with here.

5. Razors because of how expensive they are. My theory is that half of the people have such close European ties that they don’t shave, so Aussies have to make up that lost cash with those who do shave.

6. Shampoo. Try $50 for a big bottle of Matrix. If you bring your own, then you have all that extra room for souvenirs on your way home when you leave your empty bottle of shampoo in AU.

7. Clothes. Don’t plan to buy any new clothes because all the clothing here is very high priced and lower quality.

8. Q-Tips. I appreciate America so much more for this one item.

9. Pillow because it’s a long flight.

10. Winter clothes even in their summer.  Melbourne has a 4-season climate that can occur all in the same day.

11. Bank of America Credit Card. There is a sister bank called West Pac in AU that doesn’t charge you fees for withdrawing cash from their bank.

Don’t bring…

1. Body wash soap. You can buy it dirt cheap here.

2. All of your best friends. Make new ones, grow from new experiences, and blossom from meeting new people.  P.S.: I have met more people from other countries than people from AU.

Know these terms:

1. Tomato Sauce. Apparently Aussies don’t know what Ketchup is.

2. Gherkin. If you’re making deviled eggs and need pickle relish, you’ll be getting an eyebrow raised by the grocery store employee if you ask for relish.

3. Mate. That’s a friend, not someone married to someone else.

4. Target, Big W, and K-Mart. They’re not the same stores your mother shops in America.

5. Homework. Yes you have homework in AU, even though it can feel like you’re on a vacation.

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