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Summer Study Abroad - Rome

Students participating in our Summer Study Abroad program spend four weeks studying international and comparative law at St. John’s Rome campus.

In summer 2015, students in the Rome program visited the Constitutional Court of Italy and toured museums, historic sites, and renowned eateries to complement their coursework.

The 2016 Rome Summer Program will run from May 29 - June 28.

Apply for the 2016 program »

Important Dates

  • Application Deadline:  Friday, April 1, 2016
  • Deadline to Submit Final Payments: Monday, May 16, 2016
  • Program Welcome Dinner and Mandatory Orientation: Sunday, May 29, 2016
  • Final Exam(s): June 27 & 28, 2016

Program Information

Who can apply to the Rome Summer Program?
The program is open to:

  • U.S. law students in good academic standing who have completed at least one year of studies;
  • Foreign law students who are pursuing a law degree in their home country;
  • Law school graduates (either foreign or U.S.) who are interested in acquiring knowledge and experience in international and comparative law. (The program does not, however, award CLE credit.)

What is the class schedule?
The Rome Summer Program runs from May 29– June 28, 2016. All classes meet Monday throught Friday. Final exams are tentatively scheduled for Monday, June 27, and Tuesday, June 28.

How are the Rome campus facilities?
All courses will be taught at St. John's Rome campus. Our newly renovated facilities offer students the wonderful opportunity to experience Rome with many of the comforts of home. Facilities include high-speed wireless internet, a fully wired computer lab with printers for your use, beautiful courtyard and common spaces, a student library and a student lounge available during regular hours to all students, full time bilingual staff, and 24-hr security along with key card entry to the building. Classroom facilities include small seminar rooms for up to 12 students, standard classrooms for up to 30 students, and a larger formal lecture room. Classrooms have available all standard teaching equipment, including white boards, digital projectors, and screens.

How much does the program cost and when are the program fees due?
We estimate the cost of the 2016 program to be $5,100, which includes an administrative fee and double-occupancy housing in a local hotel. There is a non-refundable $600 deposit due with the application.
Here is an estimate of program expenses:

  • Program, Administrative Fee and Housing: $5,100
  • Travel: $1,000
  • Meals: $2,000
  • Total: $8,100

Payments are due on or before May 16, 2016.

How many credits can I earn through the Rome Summer Program?
Program participants will earn a minimum of two and a maximum of six credits. For students from law schools other than St. John’s Law, please note that transfer of credits earned during the Rome Summer Program is solely at the discretion of your home institution. Before applying, please consult with your home institution about credit transfer procedure and requirements.

Does St. John’s provide housing to program participants?
Rome Summer Program participants will be housed in double-occupancy rooms in a local hotel. Single occupancy rooms may be available for an additional fee.

Are the Rome campus facilities accessible to students with disabilities?
Both the Paris and Rome St. John’s campuses are fully accessible to students with disabilities. Please be aware that many places in Italy and in the city of Rome may not have similar accommodations.

The following information is available on the U.S. Department of State's website:

ACCESSIBILITY: While in Italy, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from in the United States. Many find Italy’s narrow cobbled streets and storied monuments charming; they can, however, be a challenge for physically impaired travelers. Many Italian sidewalks lack ramps, and some Italian streets lack sidewalks altogether or, as in Venice, feature stairs and narrow pedestrian bridges. While some major sights and hotels have put time and planning into ensuring accessibility, there are others that lack ramps, elevators, or handicap-accessible bathrooms. Advance planning can go a long way in making a difference in accommodation for disabled travelers. Inform airlines and hotels of your disability when making reservations as some time may be needed to prepare accommodation. Call ahead to restaurants, museums, and other facilities to find out if they are wheelchair accessible. Most, but not all, train stations in Italy have accommodations for those traveling in wheelchairs. With advance notice, personal assistance can be provided to a disabled person traveling through a particular station. More information is available at Trenitalia's website addressing disabled travelers. For those who wish to rent cars, hand-controlled vehicles are available in Italy from major car rental companies. You should contact the car rental company well in advance of your trip in order to reserve the vehicle. Remember that Italy functions on 220-volt current. To recharge an electric wheelchair motor, you may need a transformer to change the 220 current to 110 volts as well as an adapter to adjust the plug to fit Italian electrical sockets.

Guide dog owners must present the documentation required by European Union Member States in order to enter Italy with a dog.

Is there a cancellation and refund policy?
If, prior to the commencement of the program (prior to May 29, 2016), a U.S. State Department Travel Warning or Alert is issued for Italy, registered students will be notified promptly via email and will be given an opportunity to withdraw from the program. St. John’s reserves the right to modify, amend, or cancel the Rome Summer Program for this reason. Students withdrawing due to the travel advisory will be provided a refund of all program fees.

If changes in the course offerings or other significant aspects of the program occur prior to the commencement of the program, those changes will be communicated promptly by email and registrants who have paid a deposit or registered for the program will be given an opportunity to withdraw, with a refund provided for any program costs paid less the deposit.

If, during the course of the program, a student withdraw because of changes in the course offerings or other significant aspects of the program, or because a U.S. State Department Travel Warning or Alert was issued for Italy, or should the program be terminated for any reason, the fees paid by the student will be refunded except for room and board payments utilized prior to the date of termination or withdrawal.

Students who wish to cancel their participation in the Rome Summer Program for any other reasons after registering must notify the program director before April 29, 2016. In such cases, the student will receive a full refund, less the non-refundable $600 deposit.

Students who submit notice of cancellation for other reasons after April 29, 2016, may receive a partial refund.  The program director will make a decision on any partial refunds depending on the timing of, and reason for, the cancellation on a case by case basis.

In addition, St. John’s School of Law reserves the right to modify, amend, or cancel the Rome Summer Program due to insufficient enrollment. St. John’s will make every effort to make any amendment/cancellation decisions by Friday, April 29, 2016. In the unlikely event the program has to be cancelled, prior to its commencement or during the course of the program, students will receive communication immediately by email and notice of cancellation will be posted on this website. If the program has to be cancelled for any reason, we will make every effort to assist students in finding a similar alternative program if the student sends the director a written request within seven business days of the notice of cancellation.

In 2012, the Rome Summer Program was cancelled and students were given the option of a full refund or participation in the Law School's Paris Summer Program.

Can I accelerate my graduation with credits earned at the Rome Summer Program?
St. John’s students may not accelerate their graduation with credits earned at the Summer Program. Applicants from law schools other than St. John’s should be aware that St. John’s is not responsible for awarding credit at the applicant’s home institution. Determinations as to credit granted must be made by the applicant’s home institution. Likewise, the Rome Summer Program may not accelerate graduation at the applicant’s home institution. Applicants should consult with their home institution regarding requirements for credits or accelerated graduation.

What is the residency requirement policy?
For the purposes of St. John’s residency requirements, credits earned in the Rome Summer Program are not considered optional summer credits and may not be used to reduce the tuition charge for any semester below 12 credits for full-time students or below eight credits for part-time students. Full-tuition scholarships do not cover the cost of tuition for the Rome Summer Program.

How do I apply to the program?
To apply to the program, please complete and the application form. We accept applications and admit students to the program on a rolling basis. The application deadline is Friday, April 1, 2016.

Are there additional application requirements for students who do not attend St. John’s School of Law?
In addition to the main application, students from other law schools must submit:

  • An original transcript in a sealed envelope sent directly to the St. John’s Law  Registrar’s office;
  • A written statement from the Dean’s Office of the applicant’s law school certifying that the applicant:
    • Will have completed at least one year of law study by May 29, 2016;
    • Is a student in good standing;
    • Has permission to take the course(s) for credit (if the student is seeking credit).

Can I use financial aid to pay for my studies at the Rome Summer Program? 
Federal student loans as well as private loans are available, provided that certain requirements are met. In this regard, St. John’s students and students from other law schools intending to apply for financial aid are encouraged to contact their financial aid office to inquire about financing opportunities for summer study.

Courses Offered

The program is divided into four weeks. Each student will take three courses: one that runs for the entire program, one that meets for the first two weeks only, and a third that meets for the last two weeks only. Each set of courses emphasizes a different theme of the program.

Pick one course from each column:

Full Length of the Program
May 30 - June 24
9– 10:10 a.m.

Comparative Law
Prof. Rezende
Drafting: Transnational Civil Litigation
Prof. Montana
First Two Weeks
May 30 - June 10
10:30 a.m.– 1 p.m.
Theme: Cultural Perspective

International Art and Cultural Heritage Law
Prof. Amineddoleh
Law Through Film
Prof. Pepper
Second Two Weeks
June 13 – 24
10:30 a.m.– 1 p.m.
Theme: In Depth on Current Topics

Comparative Asylum Protection and International Human Rights
Prof. Russell
International Civil Litigation
Prof. Ruescher

Each course is 2 credits. Courses are generally limited to 15 students per class. After being accepted into the study abroad program, students will be asked to prioritize their course choices. We will make every effort to accommodate requests; however, due to class size limits, we cannot guarantee that all students will receive their top choices. There are no prerequisites for enrollment. With the exception of Drafting: Transnational Civil Litigation, student performance is evaluated based on class participation and a final. Grading guidelines and attendance policies are the same as those that apply at the Law School’s New York campus.

St. John's reserves the right to cancel courses and to modify the class schedule according to the number of students attending the Rome Summer Program. The program will include at least the following three courses: Drafting: Transnational Civil Litigation, Law Through Film, and International Civil Litigation.

Course Descriptions

Comparative Asylum Protection & International Human Rights
Professor Mario Russell
Second Half of Program: June 13-24
2 credits
This course will examine and compare how different nations have addressed asylum protection in a modern context, starting with the United States and problem areas it recently has faced, such as post-911 concerns with national security, persecution, civil war, opposition to coercive family planning programs, and the many issues raised by gender-based claims for protection. The course also will examine the ways in which human rights and humanitarian law have influenced asylum law and continue to help achieve the goals of the Geneva Convention. The course grade is based on a final exam.

Comparative Law
Professor Lucas Rezende
Full Length of Program: May 30-June 24
2 credits
In the globalized market for legal services, American lawyers must be able to communicate intelligibly with colleagues trained in foreign law—in arbitration, litigation, transactional work, even matters of professional responsibility. Comparative law, the study of how different legal systems address analogous problems, is thus crucial. In this introductory course, we will study the method and uses of comparative law generally and then move to selected topics in civil procedure, contracts, and professional responsibility. We will focus principally on two legal traditions, Anglo-American common law and the European civil tradition, which obtains in much of Latin America and Asia as well. We will also spend time on customary and religious legal systems, such as canon law and Islamic fiqh. Grades will be based on a final exam.

Drafting: Transnational Civil Litigation
Professor Patricia Montana
Full Length of Program: May 30-June 24
2 Credits
This course teaches students the lawyering skills they need to effectively practice law in today's globalized market. The course covers a number of practical lawyering skills, including predictive and persuasive writing, interviewing, counseling, and negotiation in the context of transnational civil litigation in U.S. courts. Thus, all of the in-class exercises and graded assignments will focus on transnational civil litigation and will require the students to consider cross-cultural issues and other multi-faceted concerns. The problems will involve discrete issues in civil litigation, particularly in the areas of procedure and evidence. Grades will be based on a number of research and writing assignments, class simulations, and class participation. This course satisfies the Advanced Practice Writing Requirement.

International Art & Cultural Heritage Law
Professor Leila Amineddoleh
First Half of Program: May 30-June 10
2 credits
International Art and Cultural Heritage Law provides students with knowledge about the field of international art and cultural heritage law. While focusing on the practical and legal aspects of the international art world, the student will also be introduced to public international law and private international law, including fundamentals of international business transactions, admiralty law and intellectual property law particularly copyright. Grades will be based on class participation and a final.
The class will be supplemented with at least two trips to artistically significant sites in Rome (prior excursions included an archaeologist-led tour of the Roman Forum, a lecture at the Carabinieri Headquarters, a guided tour of the Villa Giulia Etruscan Museum, and a lecture at Villa Doria Pamphili) and optional walking tours highlighting art in Rome.

International Civil Litigation
Professor Robert Ruescher
Second Half of Program: June 13-24
2 credits
This course will explore selected procedural issues affecting foreign litigants in the United States, U.S. citizens litigating in foreign jurisdictions, and special problems which arise in multiparty complex litigation. There will be an emphasis on comparative law analysis, and course materials will include relevant U.S. and foreign statutes, treaties and conventions. The topics which will be examined include jurisdictional issues involving foreign nationals, service of process abroad, discovery abroad, recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in the United States, and of United States judgments abroad, and different approaches to multi-party and representative litigation. In addition, comparative approaches to payment of litigation costs and attorneys' fees and court-annexed dispute resolution will also be considered.

Law Through Film
Professor Elyse Pepper
First Half of Program: May 30-June 10
2 credits
Film has the power to stimulate debate. This seminar affords an opportunity to explore jurisprudential issues and value systems through a critical examination of the narrative, historical context, and cinematic technique of films. Thus, this seminar explicitly challenges settled assumptions about law and justice. The films and accompanying reading assignments concentrate on three overlapping themes: defining community, apportioning fault, and distributing justice. In particular, the course highlights the lawyer's role as an "insider" with respect to these concerns, and evaluates the benefits and obligations conferred by that status. When offered during an intersession, grades are based on a final exam, discussion pieces, and class participation.


Professor Leila A. Amineddoleh
Professor Amineddoleh is a Partner and co-founder at Galluzzo & Amineddoleh where she specializes in art, cultural heritage, and intellectual property law. She began her career as an associate at Fitzpatrick, Cella, Harper & Scinto, where she specialized in high-stakes intellectual property litigation, and then worked Of Counsel at Lombard & Geliebter where she founded the firm’s art law group. Amineddoleh is involved in all aspects of due diligence and litigation, and has extensive experience in arts transactional work. She has represented major art collectors and dealers in disputes related to multi-million dollar contractual matters, art authentication disputes, international cultural heritage law violations, the recovery of stolen art, and complex fraud schemes. She also works with artists and entrepreneurs to protect their intellectual property and artistic rights. She is also a musician and regularly performs the piano in and around New York City.

Professor Patricia Grande Montana
Professor Montana has been teaching legal writing and other skills courses at St. John’s law school for 13 years and has written extensively on legal writing theory and pedagogy and professional skills instruction. She is the author of the book Navigating Law School’s Waters: A Guide to Success. In addition to teaching Legal Writing I and Legal Writing II, Professor Montana teaches Drafting: Federal Civil Practice and Lawyering. She is also the founder and Director of the current Street Law Program, in which law students teach a practical law course to high school students in Queens, New York. Before joining the faculty, Professor Montana was a litigation attorney at the New York office of Latham & Watkins. There, she practiced complex civil litigation, concentrating on intellectual property matters. She also committed considerable time to pro bono work, including representing low-income battered women in custody, child support, and divorce proceedings.

Professor Elyse Pepper
In her 13 years at the law school as a professor of legal writing, Professor Pepper taught courses in legal writing and advocacy skills. Professor Pepper served as co-faculty advisor to the Moot Court Honor Society and created two courses, Fact-Writing and Persuasion in Legal Documents, and Law Through Film, which she continues to teach. She is the founder of Law School Prime LLC, a pre-law school success program. Before joining the law faculty in 2002, Professor Pepper was a senior associate at the law firm of Winston & Strawn LLP, concentrating in complex civil litigation. Her scholarly publications include The Case for “Thinking Like a Filmmaker”: Using Lars von Trier's Dogville as a Model for Writing a Statement of Facts, Journal of the Legal Writing Institute (Vol. 14 2008).

Professor Lucas Rezende
Professor Rezende is a Brazilian attorney, as well as a member of the New York Bar. He has received the Outstanding Academic Achievement Award at St. John’s for obtaining the highest grade point average in the LL.M. in U.S. Legal Studies. Prof. Rezende has taught Comparative Law; Comparative Legal Systems; Introduction to U.S. Law; and U.S. Legal Research, Analysis, and Writing. He is a member of the American Society of Comparative Law.

Professor Robert A. Ruescher
Professor Ruescher is a Professor of Legal Writing and currently teaches Applied Legal Analysis, and Civil Procedure. Before joining the law faculty in 2001, Professor Ruescher taught first-year writing, introductory research, and various upper-class writing courses at New York Law School. He also helped develop and administer that school's Writing Program courses and served as Assistant Director of the Program in 1999-2000. In addition, he has practiced banking, corporate, and securities law at several law firms, principally Moses & Singer in Manhattan. He has received numerous awards for excellence in teaching, most recently for First-Year Professor of the Year (2012-2013 and 2014-2015) and Professor of the Year (2013-2014).

Professor Mario Russell
C. Mario Russell is director of Catholic Charities New York’s Immigrant & Refugee Services Division, which serves New York City and the Hudson Valley through a network of legal, resettlement, education, and information services, and a program for the care of over 2,000 unaccompanied minors. Professor Russell conducts federal and Court of Appeals litigation, manages the St. John’s University Law School asylum litigation clinic, and teaches immigration/human rights law in the United States and Europe. He has consulted with the UNHCR in Hungary and Poland and with the National Commission on Migration in Thailand, and has advised on public interest law at Harvard Law School as a Wasserstein Fellow. Professor Russell previously worked at CLINIC, Arent/Fox, and as a judicial clerk on the U.S. District Court in Maryland. In 2013, Professor Russell received the St. John’s University St. Vincent DePaul Medal of Mission.


St. John's University School of Law
8000 Utopia Parkway
Queens, N.Y. 11439 USA

Consular Information

U.S. Embassy Rome
Via Vittorio Veneto, 121
00187 Rome, Italy
Telephone: +(39) 06-46741
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(39) 06-46741
Fax: +(39) 06-4674-221

State Department Travel Information for Italy

Alexis MartinezAssistant Dean for Students

Lucas Rezende
Director, Rome Program

Director of Transnational Programs
Adjunct Professor of Law