International Practica

To support two pillars of St. John’s University's strategic plan – Globalization and Student Engagement – in the fall of 2011, the Law School faculty approved the first International Practicum for St. John’s law students. With a curriculum designed to allow students to complete 13 hours of academic credit while working overseas full-time for a semester, International Practica open unique opportunities for in-depth experiential learning across the spectrum of international and transnational legal practice.

The inaugural offering, the NATO Practicum, is hosted by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s Allied Command Operation (ACO) Office of Legal Affairs in Mons, Belgium. The NATO Practicum allows students to work full time within the Office of Legal Affairs. This unique full-time, in-residence practicum provides carefully selected students the opportunity to gain practice experience in public international law and national security law. Students will be exposed to the daily practice of public international law, including:

  • International agreements
  • International, regional, and national law
  • The function of staff legal counsel
  • Legal support to defense forces
  • Comparative law challenges
  • Legal education program
  • International criminal tribunals
  • Organizational policies, standards, and procedures

Beginning in the fall of 2014, St. John's students are able to work at UN agencies and international tribunals in Vienna, Geneva, and The Hague as part of the International Law Practicum. This semester length, full time, in-residence practicum exposes students to the daily practice of public international law, including international agreements; international, regional, and national law; the function of international organization staff legal counsel; legal support to UN member governments and other UN agencies; comparative law challenges; legal education programs; international administrative and criminal tribunals; and organizational policies, standards, and procedures.

For more information on the NATO Practicum and the International Law Practicum available at St. John's Law, please contact Marra Guttenplan, Director of Graduate Studies, at [email protected]

Applications for the fall 2022 semester are due by June 14, 2021:

Students interested in a semester length study abroad program are encouraged to participate in the Glasgow Academic Exchange.

Details

St. John's School of Law offers International Practica anchored by an engaging curriculum.

International Law Practicum (7 credits)
7-credit practicum comprising 4-5  months of full-time work at the practicum site under the supervision of an attorney, who serves as a St. John’s University School of Law Adjunct Professor for this purpose. Students will also attend weekly one-hour tutorials with the supervising attorney to afford an opportunity for discussion and reflection on their work. The practicum is pass/fail. The practicum is typically limited to one student in the fall (3L/4LE) semester, so permission to enroll in this course will be by application and competitive selection. Students will also have to be accepted by the host site. 

International Law Directed Research (3 credits)   
3-credit practice writing tutorial designed to fulfill the Advanced Practice Writing Requirement (APWR) and consisting of various forms of professional writing directly related to the practicum work. Students may submit to their on-site Adjunct Professor inter alia memoranda of law, client letters, aide-mémoires, formal meeting minutes, foreign law summaries, treaty commentaries, case analyses, reports of investigation, trip reports, staff summaries, background papers, or regulatory drafts. The student will, at the completion of this course, have a comprehensive portfolio of professional writing relevant to the work undertaken throughout their international practicum. This course is graded based upon the quality of submitted written work. 

For a course to satisfy the APWR, it must provide a substantial opportunity for students to develop and improve litigation and/or transactional writing skills. Courses satisfying the APWR require students to submit practice-writing assignments (regardless of number) totaling at least 25 pages, or a total of seven assignments (regardless of the number of pages), which have been written and/or rewritten with the benefit of instructor critique. A student must be awarded a grade no lower than a C+ to receive APWR credit. The supervising attorney/Adjunct, after consultation with the Professor Liaison, will certify if the student’s work meets the necessary criteria.

International Law Advanced-Practice Writing Tutorial (3 credits)
3-credit directed research project, designed to fulfill the Advanced Scholarly Writing Requirement (ASWR). This substantial research paper will be supervised by a full-time St. John’s Professor Liaison with assistance from the on-site supervising attorney/Adjunct, who will monitor the progress of the paper. Supervision will be by remote means (e-mail, WebEx, phone, etc.), with grading done by the St. John’s Law Professor Liaison. The student, the on-site Adjunct Professor, and the St. John’s Professor Liaison will, within 30 days of commencing the practicum, decide upon a research topic both of interest to the student and of value to the host organization. The research may be undertaken in conjunction with the student’s assigned practicum duties, but the resulting research paper must meet all ASWR requirements and will be evaluated at all stages by the St. John’s Professor Liaison. To satisfy the ASWR, students must submit a paper that is well written, adequately supported by authority and demonstrates analytical ability. The student must be awarded a grade no lower than a C+. The paper must be at least 12,000 words, including footnotes and/or endnotes (approximately 45 pages). The Professor Liaison will comment on a detailed outline and first draft prior to submission of the final product, and then must certify that the paper satisfies the necessary criteria. The Professor Liaison awards the final grade.

Contact us to learn more about the International Practica offerings at St. John's School of Law.