Loyola University Chicago

School of Law

A whole new world

Elizabeth Youakim and other School of Law students worked with underprivileged children in Thailand during their time abroad. 

Global learning is increasingly important for a well-rounded and forward-looking legal education, and Loyola’s School of Law has stayed ahead of the curve in offering meaningful international perspectives and experiences.

As the world changes—facing new economic challenges, transnational conflicts, and shifting political regimes—Loyola’s international program changes with it, adapting international offerings to meet evolving student needs. The School of Law continues to make international education and experiences available to students through its top-notch study abroad programs, field studies, international competitions, and globally focused faculty—all targeted to ready students for practice in tomorrow’s international legal arena.

Programs expand, evolve

A significant portion of Loyola law students, approximately 20 percent, have been exposed to international law through Loyola’s programs abroad. The 31 years of summer offerings have been Loyola’s anchor in international law, with students able to choose from four-, six-, or 10-week programs .

The School of Law works hard not only to ensure that study abroad participants have a top-quality classroom grounding in international and comparative law, but also to open as many doors as possible to high-profile legal leaders and judicial venues. As a result, students have firsthand experience and face time with legal heavyweights they’d never be able to meet in Chicago or traveling on their own.

The School of Law’s summer program at the John Felice Rome Center—the school’s first study abroad program—was created by Professors Thomas Haney and Anne-Marie Rhodes. The past two decades of the program have been directed and expanded by Assistant Dean of Students Jean Gaspardo. At the Rome Center and in other summer programs she has directed, Gaspardo has traveled abroad for more than 20 summers, helping to give 1,700 students a firsthand experience in international legal systems.

The longevity of the Rome program has resulted in significant relationships between Loyolans and representatives of Rome’s legal community. From the program’s earliest days, the late John Felice, first director of the center, brought his wide web of contacts to bear.

“He introduced us to influential Italian attorneys who would come in to lecture or take our students out for tours of legal institutions,” says Haney. “That opened a lot of doors and made the program much more meaningful than just classroom learning about these people and organizations would be.”

Today, the law school’s Roman connections are long-standing and unique. Every year, for instance, Loyola students get a deluxe tour of the office of the avvocato generale (attorney general) of Italy. In a 15th century fresco-decorated palazzo, six senior staff attorneys speak about their work and take questions, then bring the assembled Loyolans to a rooftop deck for a private reception overlooking the Pantheon and all of ancient Rome.

Besides opening access to key thinkers within the Italian legal system, the program’s location in Rome makes it attractive to high-profile guest speakers from the United States. Students in two recent summer Rome programs were fortunate to have U.S. Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia as guest lecturers and faculty.

About half of Rome program attendees go on for an optional weeklong field study on the courts of Europe. In Strasbourg, they visit the European Court of Human Rights and the European Parliament of the European Union (EU). Side trips to Luxembourg and The Hague allow students to also visit the Court of Justice of the EU, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), and the International Criminal Court (ICC).

“Our students get to meet with some of the most distinguished lawyers who form the judiciary of Europe,"  says Gaspardo. "No law student can have access to these institutions and people on his or her own; this is a real advantage achieved through our three decades of successful program development.”

Making inroads in Asia 

As Asia’s role in the global economy expands, the China program founded by Gaspardo in 2008 has become one of the most popular of the summer law offerings. Hosted at The Beijing Center, a Jesuit-operated enterprise on the campus of the Beijing University of International Business and Economics, the law program exposes students to international business trends by focusing largely on commercial and business law. 

Although slightly fewer students are currently participating in summer study abroad programs, shorter international experiences are growing in popularity. Spring break field studies and a London program tucked between Christmas and spring semester offer students immersive experiences in other legal cultures without breaking the bank or requiring weeks off work. In these briefer programs as well as their longer summer counterparts, students get unparalleled access to key legal figures and institutions not ordinarily available to law students.

Professor Diane Geraghty, whose contacts within the ICJ and ICC help open extra doors to Loyola students in The Hague, also teaches an annual global law seminar focusing on a different country each year. The course includes a spring break research and service component in that country.

Second-year student Elizabeth Youakim traveled to Thailand as part of this year’s seminar.

Like students in previous trips to Tanzania, India, South Africa, and Turkey, Youakim was able to visit a variety of educational, religious, service, and other organizations as part of her research on child sex trafficking in Thailand.

“It was a great experience to be able to talk to people in Thailand’s legal and non-profit communities and see for ourselves how they’re handling these worldwide issues,” says Youakim, whose course research paper, written with fellow students Annie Park and Chlece Neal, takes a trauma-focused, victim-centered approach to protecting survivors of child sex trafficking.

London and the law  

Associate Dean for Administration James Faught has been leading the two-week London Comparative Advocacy program over winter break for 24 years—long enough that he has his own key to the Middle Temple Inn of Court, ground zero for the development of our common law and a 700-year-old training ground for lawyers. He enjoys a solid friendship with Colin Davidson, the Middle Temple’s on-site director of development.

Faught met Dorian Lovell-Pank, now queen’s counsel, on a long-ago solo visit to the Old Bailey, the world’s most famous criminal court.

“I watched him defend a rather deranged arsonist and really wanted my students to see him, because he was so good,” Faught recalls.

Lovell-Pank and Judge Anthony Leonard, who was recently called to the bench after a distinguished career as a queen’s counsel, “have become the godfather and guardian angel of the program,” Faught says. “We’ve grown up together and I’ve seen their careers blossom. They’ve been enormously loyal, speaking to our students, inviting us to their homes, and taking us to court to watch them in action.”

Inside Chile’s courts 

A course taught every spring, Comparative Law Seminar: Chile, includes an immersion component at the Jesuit Universidad Alberto Hurtado in Santiago, Chile, over spring break. In addition to hearing guest lectures from a variety of Chilean legal experts, students visit the central criminal court and hear from Judge Jorge Saez; tour an appellate court with Judge Manuel Antonio Valderrama providing commentary; check out the supreme court; and visit the Carey Law Firm, Chile’s largest, where senior partner Guillermo Carey or another partner speaks to the group.

Through their research projects, students also meet Chileans in business, government, and social welfare.

“That’s real access—up close and personal with judges, lawyers, and other professionals who know our program and are delighted to speak with our students each year,” says Haney. “Our students get a wonderful introduction to another legal system in just a few days.”

 An international approach

Loyola’s American law students aren’t the only ones who gain from exposure to international legal professionals, institutions, and methods. Both the new LLM Program for International Lawyers and the LLM in Rule of Law for Development attract attorneys from all over the globe.

The LLM Program for International Lawyers brings international attorneys to Chicago for highly personalized and flexible study. Directed by Insa Blanke, the program offers two options.

Immersion in U.S. Law for Foreign Lawyers is designed for foreign lawyers who plan to sit for the New York bar exam or stay in the U.S. to practice. International Law with a Focus Option gives students the ability to design their own curricula. In addition to required classes on U.S. and international law, students may elect to focus on arbitration, mediation, and negotiation, or on areas of law including business and tax, child and family, competition, health, intellectual property, or international trade.