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St. John's Law-University of Glasgow Exchange Program Launches with Great Success

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Law School’s global curriculum is designed to provide St. John’s Law students with a broad exposure to the practice of law in a transnational setting, and the opportunity to explore diverse legal systems across the globe. At its core, the global programs curriculum includes courses in international and comparative law taught by St. John’s faculty members with expertise in the area. Building from this base, St. John’s offers innovative programs that are designed to prepare law students for actual international legal practice.

The latest addition to the slate of global offerings is an academic exchange program with the University of Glasgow School of Law. Through the program, St. John’s students spend a semester abroad studying at the school’s beautiful campus in historic Glasgow, Scotland. In return, students earning their LL.B. degree from University of Glasgow come to St. John’s Law for a year of study and immersion in New York City culture and community. “We’re very excited that this unique program is well underway, says Jeffrey K. Walker, Assistant Dean of Transnational Programs at St. John’s Law. “The seed for the exchange was planted when we partially hosted the week-long Dean’s Travel Study Program in Glasgow last year. It was apparent that partnering on a full exchange program would be a win-win proposition. Our students get to experience one of the best comparative law jurisdictions in depth and the participants from Glasgow learn the law in our wonderful school located at the epicenter of international business and law.”

Katy McBride and Johanna Crowther, this year’s exchange students from University of Glasgow, are thriving in the program. “I’m gaining valuable insight and experience in a foreign legal system,” Katy says. “When I enter the legal profession, I will be able to employ my cross-jurisdictional knowledge and be a more valuable colleague.” Katy also enjoys the classroom dynamic, sharing: “the Socratic method favored by Law professors has been quite different from what I’m used to, but I’ve found it an interesting way of learning.”

Johanna, who is interested in practicing criminal law, is equally enthusiastic about her experience. “St. John's has been brilliant. The faculty is very helpful and I don't think adjusting would have been so easy without all the help and support from the members of staff. The students have also been great and have been happy to help me.” Beyond enjoying the community, Johanna has welcomed the opportunity to broaden her knowledge of international law. “During our first two years of law school at home, the only law other than domestic that we really do is European Union law,” she says. “But at St. John’s, I’ve had the opportunity to take a number of international law classes and it has really sparked an interest for me — so much so that I'm considering pursuing it into further education.” 

For Kathryn Swimm ‘14, spending the Fall 2013 semester at University of Glasgow has brought her closer to realizing her dream of being an international corporate lawyer. “Since I’m interested in international law, I wanted to focus on classes in that arena that are not offered at St. John’s,” she says. “Specifically, I was able to take a class on European Union law, which included a wonderful field trip to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.” Kathryn is also quick to praise the “general fabulousness of the University of Glasgow,” citing the location of the campus in a trending and quaint area, the wonderful orientation program,  and an “unbelievably amazing International Students Society that organizes trips at extremely reasonable prices every single weekend to notable spots throughout Scotland and the north of England.”

Vito Cannavo ’14 participated in the exchange program with Kathryn and says that it has been one of the most rewarding experiences of his life. “My focus was to take subjects that I felt were engaging, challenging, and rewarding,” he says, adding: “I firmly believe that any job I pursue will require me to be open-minded and well rounded. The semester exchange program exposed me to new people, new places, and new ideas.” Vito also had a chance to see the law in action. “A highlight of my exchange experience was a class trip to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg,” he recalls. “I had the opportunity to see a complex matter tried before the court in Hungarian, German, and French. Luxembourg is a unique and beautiful little city.”

Kathryn enthusiastically recommends the Glasgow exchange program to fellow St. John’s Law students. “I made lifelong friends with a range of individuals, I lived in a great Scottish city, and I took classes at one of the best law schools in the UK.” she says. Like Kathryn, Vito says he would “definitely recommend this program to anyone interested in International Law or who wants to study abroad and experience new people and places. Exposure to other cultures, other people, and other legal systems is a crucial element in building a good legal foundation. Glasgow is a beautiful city and a beautiful university. The people are warm and embracing. The program offers students an opportunity to travel, within the UK and outside it. Also, St. John’s participants will be able to befriend a diverse group of students and share new experiences in a wonderful academic and social environment.”

St. John’s Law is currently accepting applications for the 2014-2015 University of Glasgow exchange program. For more information, please contact Dean Walker at [email protected] or 718-990-3014.