April 18, 2012
Each summer, the Law School hosts month-long
Summer Study Abroad programs based at St. John’s Rome and Paris
campuses. Students with an interest in international and
comparative law – or simply wanting to expand their legal education
experience overseas – enjoy a curriculum taught by law faculty
members with expertise in the area. Field trips complementing the
course of study allow students to experience the law in its
expanding global context.
Law School Communications Director Lori Herz talked to
Jeffrey K. Walker ― who heads the Summer Study Abroad program
as Assistant Dean for Transnational Programs and Adjunct Professor
of Law ― about this engaging student opportunity.
LH: The Law School is offering two Summer Study Abroad
programs for 2012, one in Rome and one in Paris. Who are these
programs designed for?
JKW: These programs are specifically designed for St John’s
students or students from other law schools who want to study
international and comparative law in a small class setting and in
some of the great cities of Europe. We use Rome and Paris as our
blackboards, so these are exceptional programs. And students really
have an opportunity to work closely with faculty in a relaxed and
very enjoyable environment.
LH: Who teaches the programs?
JKW: This year, St John’s faculty members will be teaching all
three courses in Paris and two of the three courses in Rome. We are
very fortunate that the third class in Rome will be taught by
Elizabeth Defeis, former dean at Seton Hall Law School and a St
John’s alumna, as well as one of the most highly regarded
international lawyers in the profession. She will add a lot to the
LH: Are the programs mainly classroom based or are there
experiential learning components and opportunities as
JKW: We do a lot of site visits to local courts and government
agencies in both Rome and Paris. Some of the faculty members also
incorporate site visits into their teaching. In my European Legal
History course, for example, we do five “walking lectures” to the
Roman Forum, the Biblioteca Casanatense (an incredible manuscripts
library), St Peter’s and a few other places. It’s perfect for Rome
and where our campus is located.
LH: How do you think the Summer Study Abroad program
curriculum enhances the curriculum law students pursue during the
main academic year?
JKW: This is a chance to do small classes and intensive study on
international and comparative law. Students can get six credits in
these areas in a uniquely personal teaching environment.
LH: What are some common student questions or
misconceptions about Summer Study Abroad?
JKW: The one question I always get is, “But if I got to Rome or
Paris, I can’t do an internship, right?” The answer is a
resounding, “Wrong!” The program runs from late May through late
June. Most, if not all, Summer Study Abroad students come back and
do a summer internship in July and August. So really, it’s a great
combination. You get some intensive study in international and
comparative law – and let’s be honest, some wonderful adventures in
some great places – and you get a summer internship in, too. What
more could you ask?
LH: Do you have plans to expand the program to different
locations in the future?
JKW: Not specifically, although we are always investigating
collaborative program possibilities with other schools. My focus
right now is on Rome and Paris, where we have great programs and
St. John’s owns some incredible campuses.
LH: What is the Summer Study Abroad program application
deadline and where should students direct their questions about the
JKW: April 30th is the standard deadline. To learn more, students
can see me or Maggie St Denis in Room 118-D, across from the Law
School library entrance. You can also visit our
FaceBook page at or on