New Law Programs Set to Take International View

The Law School announced two new LL.M., or Master of Laws, programs last week to prepare students to practice law in a transnational setting as well as help them explore diverse legal systems all around the world.

Programs in International and Comparative Sports law as well as Transnational Legal Practice will become available to prospective law students beginning with the Fall 2012 semester, the University announced in a media release, spearheaded by Dean Jeffrey K. Walker.

Walker, who holds a J.D. cum laude from Georgetown University and an LL.M from Harvard University, joined the Law School in July 2011 as Assistant Dean for Transitional Programs and as an adjunct professor.

Walker has worked in several different areas of the Law, many of which have dealt with International and Global Legal issues, his profile on the St. John’s Web site says. He also has served on the Executive Council and Executive Board of the American Society of International Law and on the editorial board of International Legal Materials, his profile says.

“As a New York City academic institution, St. John’s School of Law sits at the commercial, cultural and legal crossroads of the world,” said Dean Michael A. Simons in the release. “With his experience as a practitioner and as an educator, Dean Walker is uniquely qualified to build on the Law School’s already strong foundation in international and comparative law. Our J.D. and graduate students now have unparalleled opportunities to prepare themselves for the practice of law in an increasingly interconnected global legal market.”

In conjunction with the Madrid-based Instituto Superior de Derecho y Economia (ISDE) law facility, the International and Comparative Sports Law program is designed to bring together the New York and Madrid sporting communities and the lawyers who practice within them.

According to the University’s Web site, the International and Comparative Sports Law program is comprised of a “rigorous two-semester, 25-credit program that is not for everyone.”

Students will take classes in International & Comparative Sports Law, U.S. Sports Law, Advanced Topics in Sports Law and Negotiation, Mediation & Dispute Resolution for Sports during the fall semester, and partake in “full-time, on-site practice placement with a sports law firm, sports agency, professional or major university team, league or regulatory agency,” either in the United States or abroad, during the spring semester.

The LL.M. in Transnational Legal Practice is meant to train U.S. and foreign attorneys in cross-border law practice and offers three tracks—in public international legal practice, cross-border transactions, and transnational dispute resolution—which combines required core and elective classes from the Law School’s J.D. course curriculum.

“Our transnational LL.M. programs reflect the Law School’s commitment to giving students an excellent education,” said law professor and Associate Dean for International Studies Christopher J. Borgen. “Not only is our faculty composed of experts in subjects as diverse as public international law, international business transactions, complex litigation, bankruptcy, corporate law, and intellectual property, to name only a few subjects, but we also take legal education beyond the classroom through an array of experiential learning opportunities.”

The new programs are meant to complement the Law School’s LL.M. in Legal Studies, which was designed specifically to prepare foreign-trained lawyers with the knowledge and skills necessary to pass the New York State Bar Examination.

“I am very excited about the programs and courses that are now under the Office of Transnational Programs umbrella and look forward to seeing them grow and thrive,” Walker said. “With these initiatives, St. John’s School of Law is charting new pathways to the practice of international law in its many forms at a time when the legal profession is becoming more and more globalized. It is an exceptional time in the history of St. John’s Law and I am very proud to be a part of it.”

Prior to his hiring at the Law School, Walker served as a founding and managing partner of the international law and development firm, BlueLaw International LLP, where his practice spanned civil society, human rights, rule of law, security sector reform and anticorruption projects. He also served as Chief of Party in Baghdad for the largest rule of law project ever to be funded by the United States government.