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University of Arkansas
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Teaching in a Summer Abroad Program

By · September 28, 2015 · 2015 Ark. L. Notes 1760
In categories: Arkansas Law Notes, International and Immigration Law, Legal Education

This past summer, I was fortunate enough to participate as a faculty member in an ABA-accredited summer abroad program in Cambridge, England, which I will call the Cambridge program, and which is jointly hosted by the University of Mississippi, the University of Arkansas (Fayetteville), the University of Nebraska, and the University of Tennessee, in connection with Downing College of Cambridge University.[1] I am aware that some of my colleagues, and certainly some students and probably some of our alumni and other members of the practicing bar, regard this kind of program as a grand boondoggle and an opportunity for students to earn law school credit for travel abroad, with little “real” work involved, not to mention an opportunity for faculty members to travel at the institution’s expense. That could not be further from the truth![2]

From the students’ perspectives, the Cambridge program offered educational opportunities unlikely to be available at each student’s home institution. The in-class and extra-curricular activities, especially when considered in concert with the setting in the heart of one of the world’s premier educational institutions, was eye-opening and at least potentially transformative for students who may have had limited opportunities to interact with other educational and legal systems directly. Even the exposure to program participants from other American institutions added value to the experience. Coming as it does after the first year of law school for many of the students, this was also an opportunity to reflect and re-engage with the process of learning about the law, as they continue on their paths to becoming lawyers. And for the faculty, there were a host of opportunities unlike those in which I have been privileged to participate in my two decades of full time teaching.

I know that this article will focus on only some of the very real, and perhaps under-appreciated, advantages to study abroad programs, and the Cambridge program in particular. I do hope to make it clear that this can be an important and incredibly valuable experience not just for the students, but for the faculty members who participate as well.


First, it is probably worth providing a little background about the Cambridge program. It was founded in 1983, and was one of the first of such programs to be approved by the ABA pursuant to its summer abroad program standards.[3] It meets the accreditation requirements of both the ABA and AALS, and was re-inspected this past summer.

It is a six-week program, with classes being taught on a condensed Monday through Thursday schedule by faculty members from each of the four participating American law schools and two faculty members from Downing College.[4] Although there are no regularly scheduled Friday classes, there is a group trip to London on one Friday, in which students (and interested faculty) tour the four London Inns of Court and the Royal Courts of Justice. As set out in the online application materials, attendance at all class sessions is expected, and students are expected to take either an exam and/or write a paper in each class.[5] In the summer of 2015, the courses available to students were Global Issues in Corporate Law, Comparative Law and Literature, International Law, International Religious Freedom, International Advocacy and Dispute Resolution, Legal Research: Advanced and International Topics, and International Sports Law.[6] International Law and International Advocacy and Dispute Resolution were both taught by Cambridge Law Faculty members, with the other classes being taught by full-time faculty from the consortium of participating law schools.

The most distinguished of the Cambridge faculty participating in the 2015 program was Emeritus Fellow of Downing College, John Hopkins,[7] but that is not meant to diminish the outstanding record and accomplishments of the second faculty member from Downing College, Dr. Brendan Plant.[8] The five American law professors who taught in the 2015 Cambridge program are gifted teachers, scholars and academics in their own right,[9] with qualifications that you would expect from experienced tenured and tenure-track professors at ABA-accredited law schools. Each brought their own expertise and interests to enrich the educational opportunities afforded to students in the Cambridge program.[10]

With this background in mind, consider the specific benefits that I believe make summer abroad programs in general and the Cambridge program in particular such a terrific opportunity.

Benefits of Summer Abroad Programs in Legal Education

Based on my participation in the Cambridge program this past summer, I believe there is ample evidence that there are numerous benefits and advantages to this kind of opportunity. This article singles out six of them.[11]

1. The incentive and opportunity to learn about aspects of international law.

The incentive and opportunity to learn about aspects of international law is probably one of the most obvious for students. Since all of the classes have a substantial international or comparative component, students will necessarily be exposed to various aspects of international law. Because the ultimate grade or credit decision in each of those classes is dependent on the course evaluation, there is a very clear incentive for students to learn the material presented. However, a consideration of what those materials may include reveals that the benefit is broader than simply an exposure to the kind of international law that is taught in a lot of basic survey courses.

In the Cambridge program, the focus is not just on Public International Law or International Business Transactions, two of the staples in the curriculum at most American law schools. Instead, faculty members teach international or comparative issues relating to their particular areas of expertise, which does a couple of things for students. First, and most obviously, this approach offers a breadth of international or comparative classes that is unlikely to be available at most law schools. Secondly, it gives insights into how international law issues can permeate other areas of law. For example, in the 2015 summer session, in addition to Public International Law, students were offered the opportunity to take classes that covered international or comparative issues in corporate law, religious freedom, sports law, law and literature, advocacy and dispute resolution, and legal research. In 2014, the specialized classes included International Commercial Litigation, Comparative Family Law, International Entertainment Law, and Transnational Insolvency.

Offerings of this breadth allow students to focus on areas of particular interest to them and also provide students with the opportunity to see how international law permeates subjects that they may have taken or later take in the US which might lack a focus on the international or comparative component. As the modern practice of law becomes increasingly global in scope,[12] this kind of exposure is important not only for substantive knowledge but also for the ability to see international aspects and issues that might otherwise be missed. This is more than just resume fodder; it is helpful knowledge for informed legal practitioners.

The preceding discussion focuses on the students’ exposure to international law. Participation in the program also offers similar benefits for the faculty who teach classes in such a setting.

As many academics will tell you, one of the best ways to really learn a subject is to teach it. Because one of the requirements of a foreign summer program established by an ABA-approved law school is that a “substantial portion of the academic program must relate to the socio-legal environment of the host country or have an international or comparative focus,”[13] all classes in the program had a strong international or comparative focus. Perhaps some faculty members in the program already focus on international law in their academic careers, but that is certainly not true for all of those who participate. I had previously taught a class in International Business Transactions (several years ago), and included passing references to international issues in some of my classes (particularly with regard to transnational application of US securities laws, for example), but my teaching and scholarly interests have been domestic rather than international.

The class I taught this summer was Global Issues in Corporate Law, and that course included both domestic and international materials on organizational options, choice of law issues, limited liability and creditor protection, corporate governance, remedies for mismanagement, and insider trading.[14] In preparation for teaching the class, I reread some materials that I had reviewed before and familiarized myself with a wide variety of sources that I had never before read. I looked at multiple potential casebooks and read numerous articles; I looked at websites dealing with international business issues from around the world; I discussed the topics with a handful of other academics with an interest or expertise in international corporate practice. I learned a lot simply preparing for this class, more in actually teaching it, and plan to add some of what I learned to my business-oriented law classes here at the U of A.

I do not mean that I will turn my basic Business Organizations course into a comparative law class, but I do intend to use some of the ways that other countries approach various issues (such as shareholder and employee rights in regard to selection of directors, the structure of the board, creditors’ rights, and various approaches to handling corporate mismanagement) to add to the information I present to my students.

2. Culture and history, and the importance of environment.

A second benefit of the kind of experience offered by the Cambridge program is the one that probably draws a great many students to such programs: by participating in a summer abroad program, there is the opportunity to view and interact with a different culture, to see how history and environment can shape a country, its people, its laws and its educational systems.

In part, this includes the opportunity to travel to a different country, or in the case of a location such as Cambridge, to many countries in that general part of the world. The official website for the 2015 summer program described some of these opportunities as follows:

The Cambridge Summer Session offers a great place for professional advancement, and much, much more. With classes four days a week, there is ample time both to study and to explore your surroundings. Downing College is in the heart of the city of Cambridge, an hour north of London. … All of Britain, as well as Ireland, Paris and Amsterdam, are within reach for the three-day weekends that our four-day class schedule permits.[15]

Students in the 2015 program reported traveling to Wales, Ireland, Scotland, France, Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, and even as far as Rome and Greece. Some stayed over after the program or arrived in advance of the program’s start date in order to facilitate such excursions.

Every country has its own unique culture and the opportunity to visit and experience life elsewhere, even briefly and even as a tourist, is invaluable. Visitors not only get to experience different food and entertainment, but also get to see how people in different places treat a variety of issues. Walking through the streets, a tourist will see how people regard concepts such as personal space and privacy; a train trip through the country will reveal details about land use and property rights; a visit to or purchase in a market or store will reveal details about ordinary sales and commercial transactions. There are so many little things that travel will expose you to, and about which you might not otherwise think.

Travel opportunities are of course not unique to summer study abroad programs. Anyone with the money and time to spare can travel. One benefit of doing so within the context of a program such as the Cambridge program is the academic setting, and the focus on professional enrichment within the program itself. For example, one of the highlights of the program is a day-long excursion for the students (and any interested faculty members) into London, for a guided tour through the Inns of Court (and the Middle Temple in particular), and the Royal Courts of Justice. The tour guide for the group I went with was a solicitor, who talked about the British system of legal education and reading for the law, the mentoring and licensing process for persons wishing to become barristers or solicitors, the differences between the two kinds of practitioners, recent changes in admission to the bar and the structure of the legal profession within the UK, and practical and policy issues facing lawyers in that country, as well as access to justice issues.[16]

Opportunities such as this may also be had when one travels alone, but summer programs can facilitate exposure to this kind of experience. Students may be more fascinated in the short term by the bewildering and uncomfortable-looking array of outfits and wigs required of barristers in the UK over the centuries and now displayed in the Royal Courts of Justice building, and may be more entertained by the story about Amal Clooney’s (an internationally-recognized barrister as well as a public figure and celebrity by virtue of her marriage) response to being asked about her fashion choices during a trial,[17] but they will take with them an appreciation for the long-standing history of the legal profession in the UK, perhaps an appreciation for the informality and accessibility of the American system, and an understanding that there are different approaches to various issues associated with the practice of law, even those as apparently superficial as what one wears to court.

Another particularly important aspect of the Cambridge program and its ability to provide students with particular insights into culture and environment is its location at Downing College. Downing College, founded in 1800 through a bequest from Sir George Downing,[18] is part of Cambridge University, which is more than 800 years old.[19] Cambridge University and its colleges make up one of the most important academic institutions not only in the UK, but in the world. Its buildings attract visitors from around the world; its varied museums and collections include a host of treasures, many of which are open to the public, and more of which were made available to participants in the Cambridge program. Among its many, many distinguished former members, are historically important figures such as Sir Isaac Newton, Oliver Cromwell, John Milton, Charles Darwin, Lord Byron, Lord Tennyson, John Maynard Keynes, A.A. Milne (author of Winnie the Pooh), Stephen Hawking, Prince Charles, Emma Thompson, Hugh Laurie and a very long list of Nobel Prize winners.

During its regular academic year, Downing College is home to an active and diverse scholarly community of more than 400 undergraduates, 200 graduate students and 50 fellows.[20] The College is known for training excellent lawyers and legal minds, including such individuals as Frederic Maitland, the great English legal historian and Sir Robert Jennings, past President of the International Court of Justice. It is located in the center of Cambridge, close to many University of Cambridge departments and facilities. It includes a number of beautiful, neo-classical buildings set amidst tranquil and lovely gardens and green space. Classes during the Cambridge program are held at Downing College or in a nearby Cambridge University lecture hall, and students are housed on-site. Students are able to access the College’s computer lab and library facilities during the week, and they eat a number of meals at the College as well.

These facilities are not generally open to the public, and participation in a summer program such as this is the only way, short of actually being able to study at Downing College, to get this sort of taste of what education in this setting is like. This aspect of the program is, of course, enhanced by the participation of two of Downing College’s distinguished faculty (one current and one emeritus) as professors from whom the student may elect to take a class.[21]

The Cambridge program further enhances the value of international travel by its inclusion of group trips and activities, some of which were mandatory and some of which were optional. In addition to the trip to the Inns of Court and Royal Courts of Justice in London, mentioned above, participants in the Cambridge program were expected to participate in a welcome reception, a punting excursion along the River Cam,[22] and a final dinner. In addition, they were invited to participate in a Cambridge scavenger hunt (to familiarize students with the town), group cricket and group croquet lessons and games, a picnic to watch a play performed in the private Downing College gardens by members of the Cambridge Shakespeare Festival Company,[23] and a performance by the King’s College Choir during an evensong service at the King’s College Chapel.[24]

Many of these activities could also be experienced outside the formal program, but the inclusion of such opportunities made participation easy and added the benefit that the group got to know each other and participate in joint and cooperative activities outside the classroom. This kind of social interaction is also an important aspect of developing a professional demeanor and reputation that can facilitate positive professional relationships.

3. Exposure to a different approach to legal training, licensing and practice.

Although this has already been touched upon, a third thing that can be gained through participation in a study abroad opportunity such as the Cambridge program is a greater understanding of a different approach to legal education, licensing, and practice. While exposure to any other country’s system of legal training and law practice is likely to be enlightening, appreciation of the English system is particularly relevant because the US originally borrowed so many, but far from all, of our legal rules from that country. We did not, however, borrow their system of legal education, licensing, or the split practice of law prevalent there and in many other common law countries.

In the US, attorneys generally start their formal legal education after receiving an undergraduate degree, and then typically attend three years of law school, after which they take a bar examination in order to practice law in a particular state.[25] A few states allow persons who have studied law in a law office to sit for the bar exam,[26] and several states have additional requirements such as participation in a professionalism class even after individuals pass the bar examination.[27] Practitioners licensed in one jurisdiction may sometimes be allowed to practice in another state under either rules of comity or reciprocity[28] or by admission pro hac vice[29] for particular matters only, or they may have to take a new bar examination in order to practice in the new state. Generally speaking, once an attorney is admitted to the bar in a particular American jurisdiction, that attorney may provide any kind of legal services in that state, within the confines of the applicable rules of professional conduct, which require that the attorney be able to offer competent legal counsel. Attorneys are retained directly by clients and are responsible to them.

Students who participate in the Cambridge program are able to interact with attorneys who are trained differently, categorized differently, licensed differently, and practice differently from those in the US. The UK is one of a number of common law jurisdictions with a legal profession split into two groups: barristers and solicitors.[30] The two professions are separate, although it is possible to hold qualification for both positions simultaneously. Traditionally, solicitors were retained directly by clients to deal with legal matters including both transactions and most judicial proceedings. Minor matters, including both criminal and smaller civil claims, would be handled solely by solicitors. Barristers would be retained by solicitors if the matter involved significant sums of money or issues of unusual complexity or were being tried in higher courts.

The educational paths to become a solicitor or barrister also differ from each other.[31] A solicitor’s legal education can start with a qualifying law degree, a non-law degree and a conversion program, or in some cases without attending University at all. In any of these cases, the prospective solicitor takes a Legal Practice Course and undertakes a two-year apprenticeship (five years in the case of non-graduates) or “training contract” with a firm entitled to train solicitors.

A barrister’s training may also start with a qualifying law degree or other degree program, after which they must complete the Bar Professional Training Course at an authorized institution. However, in order to be “called” to the Bar, the student must be a member of one of the four Inns of Court: Lincoln’s Inn, Gray’s Inn, Middle Temple, or Inner Temple.[32] The Inns provide a number of services to prospective barristers, including education, mentoring, socialization, and financial support (through merit scholarships). It is the Inns that call students to the Bar at a ceremony similar to a graduation, after which time they are considered to be barristers. After becoming a barrister, there is a mandatory 12-month program of pupillage. The first six months is spent shadowing more senior practitioners, and during the final six months, pupil barristers may begin to undertake some court work on their own.  Upon completion of this process, most barristers remain self-employed, although it is customary to join a set of Chambers, where a group of barristers share the costs of the premises and support staff.

Recently the strict separation between solicitors and barristers was partially abandoned in the UK. Under current rules, solicitors may now have the right of audience in some higher courts, and barristers may now be directly instructed (or retained) by members of the public under some circumstances. The different titles, different educational paths, and different licensing procedures, however, still exist.

A synopsis of all of this information was provided to students during their tour of the Inns of Court during the Cambridge program. Students had the opportunity to interact with a solicitor who explained the paths to becoming a legal professional in the UK, various developments in the legal practice, the changing relationship between solicitors and barristers, and the operation of the apprenticeship and mentoring programs in place in the UK. This kind of experience provides information relevant to current discussions about the appropriate roles of attorneys and the need to make legal services available to all, the need to provide students with reasonably priced legal education and appropriate skills training, the role of mentoring in lawyer socialization, and various other professionalism issues in the US. It can also expose students to some of the benefits of the American system, which offers the opportunity to learn at least a little about a wide range of subjects before beginning a more intensive study of the law. Exposure to alternate approaches to organizing the profession and to training lawyers in practical and professional skills in the UK should not only enrich the discussion, but could potentially influence the direction of changes in American legal education and legal practice in the future. The experience of attending the Cambridge program can help position students to become part of such discussions.

All of this is a rather macro-look into legal education in the UK. The Cambridge program also offers participants a glimpse into legal education “across the pond” on a more intimate level, as well—the opportunity to take classes from Downing College Law Faculty members. Keeping in mind that most legal education in the UK is undergraduate, with students starting their studies after secondary school, the expectations for students who are reading law at Downing College are high indeed. The reading lists for the two classes taught by Downing College faculty in the 2015 Cambridge program were extensive, involving books, cases and secondary materials.[33] In addition, the Cambridge faculty clearly approached their courses with the expectation that students should bring to class at the very least a general awareness of world history and current events. The expectations were high, higher than in many JD classes taught during the regular academic year, even though the UK faculty was careful to point out that they were teaching introductory level international law issues, and that the students should not anticipate a full scale examination such as would be given at the end of a regular term. For many students, having such lengthy reading lists accompanied with the matter-of-fact statement that this was somewhat watered down from “usual” expectations was apparently an eye-opening experience, and one which was undoubtedly very good for them. While there is no guarantee that this experience will translate to additional preparation and work ethic back in the US, there is at least the possibility of a positive impact in this regard.

4. Exposure to faculty and students from other American institutions.

Perhaps less obviously than the first three advantages to participation in a summer abroad program is the opportunity to interact with students from other law schools, and in the case of the Cambridge program and others that are jointly-hosted, faculty from other American law schools. This is a benefit to both students and faculty who participate in the program.

Students can see how faculty from other schools approach teaching, approach faculty-student interactions, and can perhaps find information about other programs, other employment opportunities (particularly if a student is interested in relocating to a region from which the other faculty member comes, or if a faculty member has a particular expertise in a subject area in which the student is interested and which might be under-represented in the student’s home institution). They can also see how their experiences compare with students from other schools. Any feelings that “their” education is somehow inferior or lacking or has disadvantaged them are, frankly, likely to disappear upon interacting with students and faculty from other schools.

American legal education, and particularly first year education, is remarkably similar. While different schools do some things differently, including things like offering elective, perspectives or skills or international classes in the first year, most first year programs in the US cover the same general things, whether the individual subjects are taught over one semester or two, and regardless of other relatively superficial differences.   There will be a range of student abilities and preparedness regardless of the students’ home institutions,[34] and there will be a demonstrable difference in how well the students are able to keep up with the discussions in and out of class. Perhaps students will be able to see that the effort put in really does matter to what one takes away from an educational opportunity. Perhaps they will also see how student culture and attitudes towards such things as preparedness, participation, and involvement even in extracurricular activities,[35] helps shape how students are perceived, both by student peers and faculty. Sometimes, in the competitive pressures of a regular semester and outside demands, it is possible to lose sight of this.

From my personal perspective as a faculty member, I also had the opportunity to observe and interact with students from other institutions. I had students in my class from Mississippi, St. Thomas, Nebraska, and Tennessee. All of those are fine law schools, but they are not ones that I think of as being substantially “better” than the U of A. And, in fact, I found the students to have about the same range of abilities as I have become used to here. Some of the students were clearly exceptionally bright, and some had to work harder at mastering or understanding the materials. There was also a range of interest; some students were very interested in the subject and some were clearly just taking the class because it was available and fit their schedule, with no particular passion or interest in the material. What did surprise me was the overall work ethic of the students.

Virtually all of the students from other schools came to every class. When I talked to any of them in class, it was clear that almost all of them had all read the assigned materials. This was demonstrated every time I called on someone. Finally, when I got back my exams after the course was over, I was surprised by the detailed responses from the vast majority of students, indicating a substantial degree of effort in reviewing the materials, learning the differing rules and cases, in far more detail than I am used to seeing from students in my regular semester classes.

This is not a direct criticism of students at the U of A. It is, however, the basis for a concern about the culture that exists at Arkansas. Students here are at least as bright and talented as those with whom I have interacted elsewhere. They are no less mature, no less articulate or charismatic, or opinionated. They are no more passive. They are, however, at least by the time I see them after their first year, somewhat less focused on being consistently prepared than the students I taught this summer from other schools.

It is my hope that the U of A students who participated in the Cambridge program saw this for themselves and will bring back a stronger sense of the need for and value of preparation. They will, upon graduation, be competing with graduates of other law schools for jobs and clients, and since you get out of education what you put into it, they will be at a disadvantage if they fail to take full advantage of the opportunities to learn the law while they are students. As a faculty member, I can do my part by raising my expectations and even emphasizing the need for and benefits of consistent preparation. Participation in the Cambridge program was a good reminder of the importance of this. And, of course, I am taking this opportunity to remind my colleagues about the importance of this, as well.

5. Reinvigorating the students.

A fifth benefit of a summer abroad opportunity such as the Cambridge program lies with its potential to re-engage and re-energize the law students who participate. There are many reports of how law school has a tendency to depress[36] and demoralize[37] students. Student attitudes shift from being positive and service-oriented to a narrower, more competitive mindset.[38]

Some of the changes in attitude and outlook are entirely predictable. First, law school is stressful,[39] and there is probably no way to avoid that.[40] It is a rigorous and challenging course of study, because successful graduates will be admitted to a profession where the property and personal freedom, and potentially even the lives, of clients will be at stake. And the truth is that at virtually all law schools, the students are all intelligent and have a history of academic success that made them the envy of most of their undergraduate peers.[41] Yet it is axiomatic that not all of them can be in the top 25% of their law school class.

The result of new levels of competition, new demands on their time, increased workload, new learning and teaching approaches, and various other aspects of traditional legal education can all work in concert to produce a demoralized and even depressed, stressed-out student population. A summer of studying abroad is not a panacea to remedy these ills, but it is at least one possible step in the right direction.

Summer programs give students a new environment in which to learn, a new (and temporary) peer group, exposure to unfamiliar teachers, and new ways of learning in and out of the classroom. The opportunity to experience different teaching and learning approaches is heightened when there is exposure to teachers from the host country such as exist as part of the Cambridge program, but new learning possibilities outside of the classroom will exist in almost any foreign environment. The truth is that the summer abroad program does include a lot of fun, and the opportunity to travel and explore and grow on a personal level reminds participants of the need to be a well-rounded individual, and the benefits of learning for the sake of learning rather than just to earn a grade in a class. All of this can be tremendously refreshing, and can help remind students why they chose the study of law, and can cause them to reflect a little on all that they can do with what they are learning.

The Cambridge program is intentionally paced so as to give students an ongoing opportunity to reflect on their studies and what they are learning. Built-in times for travel and other group activities outside of the classroom provide students with the perfect time to slow down and examine educational goals, directions, and expectations. It may also provide participants with the opportunity to consider new ways to proceed, either in terms of additional educational opportunities after the JD degree, or potential career alternatives that may be less mainstream than the traditional law firm position.

Obviously, there is no way to ensure that all students will take advantage of the opportunity for self-reflection. Nor is there any guarantee that all students will get out of the program all or even most of what it has to offer, or that they will emerge re-engaged, or re-invigorated. But options like the Cambridge program offer this as a possibility, and this benefit should not be overlooked.

6. The opportunity to be a student again.

Finally, but far from the least importantly, there is a huge potential benefit available to faculty members who are able to participate in summer programs abroad such as the Cambridge program. Like every other law teacher in the United States, I was once a student. Like many of my peers, that was more than a few years ago.

Since that time, legal education has changed significantly. But, lest we forget it, the law is still an exciting, thrilling, intriguing, difficult, complex, varied, and ever-changing landscape. Few things can bring those facts home better than being a student again. Obviously faculty members can sit in on each other’s classes during the regular academic year. In fact, some class visitation is required as part of most law schools’ annual peer review and our retention, promotion and tenure processes. In addition, there are plenty of Continuing Legal Education programs and educational symposia available to faculty. These experiences are not, however, the same as taking a class with students, and learning about a new area of the law as a student, for the sheer joy of learning something new.[42]

I had never had a Public International Law class before this summer. With his permission, I sat in on Professor Hopkins’ course.[43] I took notes along with the other students. I was called on, and like other students, did not always know the answer. But I came away from that class with a renewed appreciation for the process of teaching, the value of active engagement, and a re-invigorated enthusiasm for the process of legal education through dialogue. I also got to see a skilled educator weave practical life lessons into the class, and bring in history and policy and current events in ways that made the issues seem relevant, understandable, and memorable. I hope to incorporate a few ideas about teaching methodology from that class into my teaching, too.

I could, of course, ask to sit in on my colleagues’ classes. In fact, I know some of my peers have sat in on classes taught by other faculty members in prior years, for various reasons. However, during the regular semester there are always competing demands on your time. There are your own classes, your own students, your scholarship, committee work, and other service obligations. Summer is a perfect time to sit in on a class, and when the opportunity to take a course from a world renowned educator arises, it is well worth taking. I am certainly glad that I did, and I hope more of my colleagues are able to in future years.

I can share some of the insights that I think I gained, but my typed words are a poor substitute for the experience of actually having sat in on a class taught by someone who has honed the craft of legal education over a span of more than 30 years.

First, don’t be too afraid to make some things personal. Sometimes it is easy, in the rush to model professional objectivity, to keep dialogue in the classroom at a very impersonal level. It may also be comfortable to take this approach. Professor Hopkins did not do that. Instead of starting class each week or even each day with a recital of the topics covered in the preceding session, he would begin by asking students where they had traveled and what they had been doing and enjoying outside of class. These questions were not directed at any particular student in most cases, but at the class, and he was not looking for one answer, but a feeling from the group about what they had been doing and enjoying and learning from. He would typically and joyfully talk about the glorious law libraries in London, Edinburgh, Paris, and elsewhere, but he wanted (and I believe achieved) a connection with the students by maintaining throughout the entire course an interest in what they were doing, and what they were enjoying.

Second, keep more of the emphasis on the bigger picture rather than the details and minutiae of cases and rules. Most American law faculty probably recall, from their own time as a student if nothing else, being asked about footnotes and the intricacies of procedure that are probably not the primary reason that a given case was included in a casebook (outside of procedural classes, at any rate). It is easy to follow that same approach in the classroom as a teacher, and sometimes there are good reasons for it.[44]   Certainly, during the summer session there was some discussion of the structure of the courts, how a case got to a court and what the role of the court in adjudicating the dispute would be. For the most part, however, Professor Hopkins cut to an overview of the essential facts of the case, and then the class discussion focused more on the what students thought the outcome should have been, what it actually was, why the court ruled as it did, the actual or probable consequences of the ruling, and whether the opinion was justified as a matter of policy.[45]

Third, bring in as many current and real world events as possible. This means, of course, that faculty members are required to be generally informed and to stay current in their area of expertise, not just with regard to legal developments but with regard to history and events in the news. Perhaps the “news” relating to international law is bigger and more impressive than daily current events relating to something like corporate structure, but Professor Hopkins not only made it a point to bring up matters, he regularly asked students for their input on how various issues related to things going on in the world outside the classroom. For example, one of the many topics considered in his class was when an international “state” exists. This lead to a discussion of the status of ISIS and whether it has a legitimate claim, under international law, to being a “state.” The students considered whether official recognition mattered to that determination, and whether it should. We looked at the requirement that a territory be involved, and a population controlled. And we talked about what it meant to really “control” a population, and what that meant for a population engaged in an on-going battle for power or autonomy. We talked about the practical and current problems of the Ukraine and Russia, and the theoretical issues of whether Nazi Germany had control over occupied territories during WWII, as well as whether the Confederacy was an international “state” during the Civil War. By bringing in all of these different real world issues, virtually every student was able to participate in the discussion, whether they were a fan of history, current events, or simply general policy. Their imagination was captured, and they were engaged. And isn’t that what we want for all of our students?

Fourth, stories and proverbs are a superb teaching technique. In order to demonstrate this, I will use one of the stories that Professor Hopkins used to illustrate one of the points that he made during his class. The question at issue was why the United States had declined to sign the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1982, which virtually every scholar agrees encapsulated a great deal of existing international law relating to the law of the sea. This is the story that Professor Hopkins started with, to the initial confusion of the class.

There were two individuals living in communist Russia, at a time when the state was very carefully testing its citizens for acquiescence to communist ideology.

“Comrade!” started the interrogator. “Tell me, if you had two mansions, would you give me one?”

“Friend,” replied the citizen. “Of course I would!”

“Comrade,” continued the interrogator. “If you had two million rubles, would you give me half?”

“Absolutely!” was the reply.

“If you had two homes, would you give me one?”

“Yes, I would!”

“And if you had two shirts, would you give me one?”

There was a pause, and the citizen replied sadly, “That is not a fair question. I have two shirts…”

The point of this was that when the 1982 Convention was being ratified, it included a provision for the allocation of the deep sea bed which included the potential for claiming and accessing incredibly rich mineral rights underneath the ocean floors. Ratification required acceptance of the entire agreement, and there was no possibility of carving out that portion of the convention. The only country with the technological ability to access those rights at that time was the United States. It was easy for all of the other countries to divvy up the deep seabed, since access or practical ownership was merely theoretical for them. The United States actually had the ability to access minerals, and so for that part of the convention, it was like the man who said “but this is not fair! I have that property.” This kind of story makes the entire essence of the lesson memorable in a way that could not be achieved by simply stating something like: “The US did not agree to ratify the convention because it had technological capabilities that other states did not, and did not want to give up potential rights of access to deep sea minerals.”

Fifth, a great way to end a class is with a cliff-hanger or thought-provoking question. Time and time again through the summer session, Professor Hopkins would end his class with a question for the students. Some of them were review or reflection questions; some were clearly thought questions; a few required research; and some were contemplative with no particular “right” answer.[46] From my point of view, the value of these questions was brought home when I sat in the classroom with the students, while we were waiting for Professor Hopkins to arrive, and they were talking not about their travel or the pub they had visited the night before, but the question they had been left with the day before. The very fact that the students were actively thinking about and discussing these issues made it abundantly clear to me that this technique is worth considering.

Last, but far from least, have very high and sustained expectations. Professor Hopkins, for all his gentleness in the classroom, and his humor and emphasis on students being well-rounded and taking advantage of the opportunity to travel, clearly had very high expectations. He reminded students regularly of the need to read and think and reflect. And he provided a template, in the form of a lengthy and detailed syllabus for the course, which emphasized the breadth of knowledge needed and expected of students.[47] He did not provide copies of all of the cases, but emphasized in the course of discussions which ones were the most important, so that students could go learn more as they reflected on the materials from class. At least as much was expected from students by way of reflection and further consideration as in preparation in advance of class, and this is certainly something that should be added to my expectations from students.


For those of you who have read this far, and are not members of a law school faculty or current or prospective law students, you might be wondering how any of this information can possibly be useful to you.   First, perhaps the information presented here will help you appropriately value the educational benefits of these kinds of experiences. This might make a difference when you consider hiring law school graduates. Participation in summer abroad programs such as the Cambridge program brings added value, insights and experience that cannot be exactly duplicated through anything else. Second, the perspectives shared here might be enough to encourage you to support the mission of the school as one which is broad enough to include offering students (and faculty) this kind of experience. Third, if you ever have children or others for whom you serve as a mentor considering this as part of their legal education, encourage it.

The world is an amazing place, and the opportunity to experience it on location is just as amazing.


[1] The University of Mississippi is the lead institution responsible for administration of the program. Official information about the program may be found on the University of Mississippi’s website, at CAMBRIDGE STUDY ABROAD PROGRAM (last accessed August 2015),

[2] I do not dispute that it may be possible to earn credit for little “real” work in such programs, but in all candor, the same may be said for many JD classes taken back in the good old USA. And in all honesty, I was favorably impressed with the diligence and preparation of the students with whom I interacted this past summer.

[3] The current “Criteria for Approval of Foreign Summer and Intersession Programs Established by ABA-Approved Law Schools,” which have been amended at various times in the past few decades, may be found online as part of the ABA’s Standards for Approval of American Law Schools at ABA STANDARDS AND RULES OF PROCEDURE FOR APPROVAL OF LAW SCHOOL 2014-2015 (last accessed August 2015), (last accessed August, 2015).

[4] Courses are offered for one or two semester credit hours, and students are required to register for three or four classes (with participants taking a minimum of five credit hours up to a maximum of seven credit hours). Students have a choice of classes in most of the available time slots (and may elect not to take the one-credit class in the other slot), and basic information about faculty and course selection is available before they arrive in Cambridge. Course selection varies from year to year, depending on the interests and expertise of the faculty who participate each time.

[5] Each of the four participating American law schools is eligible to send a faculty member to teach in the program, and the summer also features a couple of classes taught by members of the Cambridge University Faculty of Law. While students from the consortium of schools that host the program are certainly eligible and encouraged to participate, students from other law schools also attend this program. Thus, credit hours earned are not only earned by students at the hosting institutions, but are also routinely transferred to other ABA-approved American law schools and to some Canadian law schools. The student’s home institution determines acceptability of any credit or grade for courses taken in the program.

[6] All of the courses except for the last were offered for two credits; International Sports Law was a one-credit course.

[7] The terminology used to describe his accomplishments are somewhat different from what we are used to in America, but he is clearly an extraordinarily distinguished scholar and educator. John Hopkins “read law” at Queens’ College, Cambridge, and earned his BA in 1960. (Reading law is the equivalent of studying law in the US.) He was awarded the Whewell Scholarship in International Law, and obtained his LLB in 1961. In the fall of that same year, he was elected to a fellowship at Downing College, and was then “called to the Bar” by Gray’s Inn in 1964. (In the UK, in order to be qualified to argue in court on behalf of another on must be called to the bar by one of the four Inns of Court, as described infra at notes 9 & 34 and accompanying test; this is most akin to being licensed to practice in the US.) Over the course of his distinguished career, he held many positions at Downing College, including Tutor, Senior Tutor and Director of Studies in Law, retiring to become an Emeritus Fellow in 2004. In 2012, John Hopkins was conferred with an Honorary Fellowship of Hughes Hall, Cambridge after serving for eight years as Downing College’s Director of Studies in Law. Although he has retired from full-time teaching, he continues to teach as an Emeritus Fellow. Much of this information about John Hopkins comes from an online biography which can be found at FELLOW AND SENIOR MEMBERS, Biography (last accessed August, 2015), (last accessed August, 2015), although some of the information is from personal observations and interactions as described below.

[8] Dr. Plant is the current Hopkins–Parry Fellow and Director of Studies in Law (LLM) at Downing College, as well as being an Affiliated Lecturer in Law at the University of Cambridge. Dr. Plant has degrees earned with honors in Economics (Social Sciences) and Law from the University of Sydney, as well as an MSc in Human Rights from the London School of Economics and Political Science, where he was a Chevening Scholar. Originally admitted as a solicitor in New South Wales and authorized to appear before the High Court of Australia, he practiced in leading commercial law firms in Sydney and London before joining Downing College. During the course of his doctoral studies, undertaken at Cambridge, he held research fellowships at the University of Freiburg and the Max Planck Institute of Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg. He has served as a Research Fellow in Public International Law at the British Institute of International and Comparative Law in London, and was a staff member of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry. He has also acted as consultant to numerous international NGOs, including Amnesty International and Greenpeace. This information is taken from Downing College’s website, and can be accessed at PEOPLE, Biography (last accessed August, 2015), (last accessed August, 2015).

[9] I am not going to set forth the qualifications of the four faculty from other American law schools who taught in the 2015 Cambridge summer program with me. They were Professor Will Berry (Mississippi, also the Director of the Program), Professor Robert Blitt (Tennessee), Professor Kris Gilliland (Mississippi), and Professor Jo Potuto (Nebraska). Their biographies are available at their respective institution’s websites.

[10] Some other summer programs are taught either exclusively by faculty members from a single American law school sponsoring the program, or from a mix of instructors from that American law school and local faculty from the country in which the program is located. Some of the benefits of the summer experience as described in this article would be less apparent with such an approach, but much of the educational value of a foreign study opportunity should still be present, particularly if local instructors are included in the program.

[11] I will note immediately that others have also written about the benefits of study abroad for law students from their perspectives. See, e.g., Louise Harmon & Eileen Kaufman, Innocents Abroad: Reflections on Summer Abroad Law Programs, 30 T. Jefferson L. Rev. 69, 83 (2007). For a student perspective, see Holly Lou Hydeman, Learn the Law Abroad, 75 J. Kan. B. Ass’n, November/December 2006, at 10. I will also emphasize that I make no claim that my listing is exclusive, and in fact, I know that it is not. There is a real advantage to simply having fun, for instance, especially as part of and during law school, which can often be a stressful and overwhelming experience. The “fun” part of a summer abroad program is very real—it is simply not the central part of what this brief article is designed to emphasize.

[12] By way of example only, internationalization and globalization was recently called one of the nine trends facing legal education today. Eugene Clark, Looking Forward: Challenges Facing Legal Education in the 21st Century, 3 Phoenix L. Rev. 461, 470 (2010).

[13] Standard I.D, Criteria for Approval of Foreign Summer and Intersession Programs Established by ABA-Approved Law Schools, as part of the ABA Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools 2014-15, available online at ABA STANDARDS AND RULES OF PROCEDURE FOR APPROVAL OF LAW SCHOOL 2014-2015 (last accessed August, 2015), (last accessed August, 2015).

[14] The book that was required for this class was Franklin Gevurtz, Global Issues in Corporate Law (Thompson West 2006).

[15] See, CAMBRIDGE STUDY ABROAD PROGRAM (last accessed August, 2015),

[16] For a further discussion of this distinction, see infra Section 3.

[17] This story was relayed to us by our tour guide while we visited the display of historical barristers’ attire in the Royal Courts of Justice in London. We were told that Ms. Clooney was representing Armenia in a human rights trial at the European Court of Human Rights when a reporter inquired about the media focus on fashion. She reportedly laughed and said she was wearing Ede & Ravenscroft, the traditional makers of UK barristers’ attire. Additional details of the incident may be found in the story by Elizabeth Licata, Amal Clooney Gives Perfect Response To Being Asked About Her Clothes In The Middle Of A Trial, available online at (last accessed August, 2015). This actually led to a discussion of why barristers continue to wear robes and wigs in court, with the answer being that it is better for jurors to focus on the arguments, not the fashion sense of the attorneys in any given case.

[18] For a detailed history of the founding of Downing College, see the official Downing College website, available online at (last accessed August, 2015).

[19] A history of the University of Cambridge may be found as part of the University’s official website, available online at (last accessed August, 2015).

[20] Official Downing College website, supra note 18. While not commonly used in the US, the term “fellow” includes visiting professors, postdoctoral researchers, doctoral researchers, and may include graduate-level funding that is like a merit-based scholarship.

[21] See supra notes 7-8 for a description of these two individuals and their accomplishments.

[22] While this outing certainly had a fun, and social component, the punting tours arranged as part of the program included a historical overview of the various Colleges located along the river banks provided by the “chauffeur” in each punt, so there was certainly an educational aspect as well.

[23] Details about the Cambridge Shakespeare Festival can be found online at (last accessed August, 2015). The festival lasts for several weeks during July and August, and there are actually a total of eight different productions scheduled over those weeks. Each production is staged in a different College’s gardens, offering (as the website says), an “idyllic setting” for the plays. The official website describes the productions as follows: “The productions themselves are vivid and spectacular, and are performed in full period costume with live Elizabethan music. Imperceptibly the evening passes from a glorious summer evening to dusk and then to night. The moon rises to provide additional lighting in a way that no theatre could match.” (last accessed August, 2015). The particular play performed at Downing College in 2015 was Love’s Labour’s Lost. Three other plays, at other Colleges, were also being performed (and therefore available for interested persons) during the time in which the Cambridge program was being conducted. A delightful report on the Cambridge Shakespeare Festival can also be found at cambridge/62468?utm_source=dd&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=08252015 (last accessed August, 2015).

[24] For information about the evensong services, see, and for more information about the world famous King’s College Choir, see (both last accessed August, 2015).

[25] Obviously, this is a gross over-simplification. Some students are admitted in accelerated programs a year short of receiving their undergraduate degrees, some law students attend less than three years of law school. In addition, bar examination requirements also differ considerably from state to state. For a relatively comprehensive and detailed list of licensing requirements in American jurisdictions, see NCBE and ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements 2015, available online at (last accessed August, 2015).

[26] The list of such states includes California, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Id., Chart 3 at pp. 8-9.

[27] See id. at Chart 5 and Supplemental Remarks, pp. 17-19.

[28] See id. at Chart 12 and Supplemental Remarks, pp. 37-38.

[29] This Latin phrase literally means “this time only,” and generally refers to the process by which a lawyer licensed in another jurisdiction is authorized to appear in court for a particular proceeding even though he or she lacks a regular license to practice where the trial is being conducted.

[30] For a general description of the Legal Profession in the UK as it stands today, see Katherine H. Reardon, It’s Not Your Business! A Critique of the U.K. Legal Services Act of 2007 and Why Nonlawyers Should Not Own or Manage Law Firms in the United States, 40 Syracuse J. Int’l L. & Com. 155, 163-65 (2012).

[31] For a more detailed examination of legal education in the UK, see Julian Webb, Regulating Lawyers in A Liberalized Legal Services Market: The Role of Education and Training, 24 Stan. L. & Pol’y Rev. 533, 544 (2013), and Andrew Boon, Julian Webb, Legal Education and Training in England and Wales: Back to the Future?, 58 J. Legal Educ. 79 (2008).

[32] All four Inns of Court are located in central London, near the Royal Courts of Justice, and every student in the Cambridge program participated in a day-long trip that included a guided tour of these facilities. See supra Section 2.

Students in Professor Hopkins’ International Law class were treated to stories about the Middle Temple in particular. In 1981, John Hopkins was elected Honorary Bencher of Middle Temple, London, and he repeated more than once that this was a highlight of his professional career. It is difficult to come up with an easy comparison for what this entails for persons unfamiliar with the UK system of legal education, training, licensing and mentoring. The Middle Temple, as one of the four London Inns of Court which are the exclusive vehicle through which individuals are able to become English barristers, is prestigious and competitive. Each Inn is governed by its “Benchers,” who are general senior members of the bar or judges, selected by their peers in the Inn. This information about Middle Temple comes from Masters of the Bench, The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple, available online at (last accessed August, 2015).

[33] The syllabus for Professor Hopkins International Law class in 2015 was twenty-two pages long, mostly single-spaced, and included references to eight books, one of which was “highly recommended,” and one of which was mentioned as being “helpful,” during the first lecture. In addition, the syllabus cited a large number of articles and sections from various statutes such as the Statute of the International Court of Justice, numerous treaties and, on the second page alone, referenced ten opinions from the International Court of Justice. For an illustrative excerpt from one section of the syllabus, see infra note 47. Professor Plant’s syllabus was equally lengthy.

[34] Perhaps a caveat is due here. None of the students in the Cambridge program this year, or in any of the American law schools in which I have taught, are from the very highest tier of elite law schools. It is possible that every student at those schools is better prepared and more highly motivated. I will say, however, having practiced and taught with many graduates of these programs, I rather doubt that is actually the case.

[35] Two examples stand out in my mind from the 2015 Cambridge program. The first was the cricket lesson in which students (and again, interested faculty) were invited to participate. Virtually all students attended, and some of the male students were extremely competitive in their approach to what should have been a cooperative learning experience. The exclusion of those less athletically inclined or less competitive in their approach to the effort led to a second team being formed, with much more laughter and camaraderie being shared. As a spectator, I was much more favorably impressed by those who took the time to share advice with and offer assistance to peers than those who could not see past their desire to display personal prowess on the cricket field. My expectation is that this also flavored how students perceived their class mates, as well, as I observed different groups working or walking together after that afternoon.

The second was the way in which one of the Cambridge faculty members reached out to a student and talked to him about potentially studying at Downing College after he earned his JD back in the US. This student was not particularly forceful or overly competitive, but he was generally less inhibited about sharing opinions in class than many other students who seemed relatively quiet during the early weeks of my class, at least. When students learned that this student had been singled out, as they gradually did, they began to emulate his behavior in class, becoming gradually more open and forthcoming with their responses as well.

Perhaps these lessons will result in long term changes in behavior for some of the students in the program. Perhaps any changes will be less obvious, but at least the possibility of learning exists.

[36] Peter H. Huang & Corie Rosen Felder, The Zombie Lawyer Apocalypse, 42 Pepp. L. Rev. 727, 771 n.15 (2015), “Though some recent researchers have sought to minimize or recharacterize the scope of the depression problem among law students, the broad consensus among psychological researchers–as well as the evidence gathered by law professors around the country–suggests that to do so would be to ignore the suffering of thousands of law students and lawyers.” In support of this, Huang and Felder cite Matthew M. Dammeyer & Narina Nunez, Anxiety and Depression Among Law Students: Current Knowledge and Future Directions, 23 Law & Hum. Behav. 55 (1999). See also Todd David Peterson & Elizabeth Waters Peterson, Stemming the Tide of Law Student Depression: What Law Schools Need to Learn from the Science of Positive Psychology, 9 Yale J. Health Pol’y, L. & Ethics 357, 358-59 (2009).

[37] Beth D. Cohen, Helping Students Develop A More Humanistic Philosophy of Lawyering, 12 Legal Writing: J. Legal Writing Inst. 141, 170 (2006); Lawrence S. Krieger, Psychological Insights: Why Our Students and Graduates Suffer, and What We Might Do About It, 1 J. Ass’n Legal Writing Directors 259 (2002) (bibliography included); and Lawrence S. Krieger, What We’re Not Telling Law Students – And Lawyers – That They Really Need to Know: Some Thoughts-in-Action Toward Revitalizing the Profession from Its Roots, 13 J. L. & Health 1 (1998-1999).

[38] James M. Hedegard, The Impact of Legal Education: An In-Depth Examination of Career-Relevant Interests, Attitudes, and Personality Traits among First-Year Law Students, 1979 Am. B. Found. Res. J. 791, 804 n.24 (citing four studies for idea that law students’ career plans shift away from legal aid, criminal prosecution, public defending, and government agency work). See also Don S. Anderson et al., Conservatism in Recruits to the Professions, 9 Austl. & N.Z. J. Soc. 42, 42 (1973); and Norman Solkoff & Joan Markowitz, Personality Characteristics of First-Year Medical and Law Students, 42 J. Med. Educ. 195, 198 (1967).

[39] Katerina P. Lewinbuk, Mindfulness Meditation Is the Practice A Saving Grace for Law Students?, 78 Tex. B.J. 454 (2015), observing that “[t]oday’s law students seem more stressed than ever.”

[40] In fact, moderate levels of stress may produce optimal learning conditions. See Nancy J. Soonpaa, Stress in Law Students: A Comparative Study of First-Year, Second-Year, and Third-Year Students, 36 Conn. L. Rev. 353, 355 & n.11 (2004).

[41] For a look at this phenomenon from the perspective of a second year student, reflecting on his first year experience, see Andrew Ricke, A Love-Hate Relationship, J. Kan. B. Ass’n, November/December 2008, at 12.

[42] The class visits undertaken with a retention, promotion or tenure vote in mind are conducted with a very different purpose in mind than in being a student. The observation there is an evaluative, rather than being focused on the learning that a class visit might entail for the observer. CLE programs do involve learning, but for the most part, they do not involve participation or exposure to new ideas. Most of us choose CLE programs as ways to update existing information that we already possess, or to check the currency of what we believe we know. Occasionally we use them as networking opportunities. More cynically, we attend programs to stay current on our licensing requirements and with no intention of really learning anything at all.

[43] Obviously, this is not a built-in component of the program. I was the only member of the 2015 Cambridge program faculty to sit in on another faculty member’s class for the entire session. Professor Berry, in his role as Program Director, was able to visit portions of one of our classes, but again, that is not quite the same experience as taking a course as a student.

[44] For example, it is hard to understand how the court reached the issue of the directors’ duty of care in a case like Kamin v. American Express, 383 N.Y.S.2d 807 (Sup. Ct. 1976), without some background into the nature of shareholder derivative actions.

[45] An example of this will probably make this point more clearly. One of the cases from the syllabus discussed in connection of the issue of legal recognition of international states was the Tinoco Arbitration (Great Britain v. Costa Rica) (1923) 1 R.I.A.A. 369. The essential facts (as relayed by Professor Hopkins, at least as reflected in my notes) were that Costa Rico was under the control of a dictator who was not a very nice man. He had not been “recognized” by the British government as the lawful head of state. While in power, he abused certain British citizens. He was later deposed, and the new government was sued for injuries caused by the dictator. The defense that the new government raised was that ”Tinoco was not recognized, therefore there is no liability on the state; he is the one who is liable.” Students were asked what they thought the rule should be and were asked to comment on the actual ruling by Judge Taft that Tinoco had possessed and exercised effective power in Costa Rico and that “recognition” by Britain was a political issue, not determinative of applicable international law. None of the nuances of process by which the case got to the court, the burdens of proof, or other details were discussed in class. And I suspect students got more out of the discussion precisely because it was not bogged down in details. The details are available for further review and consideration, but class was spent on the “big picture.”

[46] Again, some examples of the questions probably illustrates this idea more clearly than my explanation does. One such question was, of course, why the US did not adopt the convention on the law of the sea, even while acknowledging that it incorporated much undisputed international law. Another example, asked before the first full day on which the class was to consider recognition of states, was why the government of Taiwan (stable and clearly acting independently of mainland China for decades) had not been formally recognized by, for example, the US government. After an introductory session covering historical approaches to jurisdictional immunity for international states, and a brief discussion of the changing roles of governments in modern economies, students were sent away with the question of whether, in the modern world, it made sense for governments to retain absolute immunity from suit. After studying the concept of diplomatic immunity and the Pinochet case ( Regina v. Bow Street Metropolitan Stipendiary Magistrate and others, Ex Parte Pinochet [2000] 1 A.C. 147, House of Lords, students were asked whether the rule that he was not immune from stuff because torture is internationally prohibited was still good law and whether it had had any implications for the US. On one occasion, before the class began studying jurisdiction, the last question of the day was along the lines of “if you commit a crime in the UK, what country’s laws apply to you, and does it matter what kind of naughty behavior you have engaged in?”

[47] For example, the fifth major topic considered (out of a total of 15 which were covered during the six-week session) was the “Recognition of States and Governments.” Professor Hopkins’ syllabus included all of the following ideas and authorities for the students to consider:

5. Recognition of State and Governments

*The several meanings of the term ’recognition’.

*Recognition of States and Governments: certain differences between the practices of the Governments of the United Kingdom and the United States.

*Is Taiwan (Formosa) a State?

Statements: Mr. Morrison 1951, Lord Carrington 1980, State Department 1976-7

*Recognition in international law:

Tinoco Arbitration (1923) 1 R.I.A.A.369.

Legal Consequences for States of the Continued Presence of South Africa in Namibia (South West Africa) not withstanding Security Council Resolution, Advisory Opinion, 1970, I.C.J. Rep. 16 (July 29).

East Timor Case Portugal v. Australia (1995) I.C.J. Rep 90.

Genocide (Bosnia v. Herzegovina, etc) Case [2007] I.C.J. Rep.

*E.U. Guidelines on Recognition of New States in Eastern Europe and Soviet Union, 1991 (1991) 62 B.Y.B.I.L. 599 & Declaration on Yugoslavia (ibid) Opinion on Yugoslavia No. 10, (1992) 92 I.L.R. 206 (All the above in Harris, Cases and Materials on International Law.) pp. 147-154.

*Recognition in municipal law:

City of Verne v. Bank of England (1804) 9 Ves. 347.

The Annette, The Dora [1919] P. 105.

Luther v. Sagor [1921] 1K.B. 456, [1921] 3 K.B.532.

Wolfsohn v. R.F.S.R. 234 N.Y. 372 (1923).

Salimoff v. Standard Oil Inc. 262 N.Y. 220 (1933).

Upright v. Mercury Business Machines Co. 213 Y.Y.S. (2d.) 417 (1961).

Carl Zeiss Stiftung v. Rayner & Keeler Ltd. (NO.2) [1967] 1 A.C. 853.

GUR Corporation v. Trust Bank of Africa [1987] Q.B. 599.

Hesperides Hotels Ltd. V. Turkish Aegean Holidays Ltd. [1978] Q.B. 205.

Republic of Somalia v. Woodhouse Drake [1993] Q.B. 54.

Sierra Leone Telecommunications Co. Ltd. V. Barclay’s Bank plc [1998] 2 all E.R. 821.

Kuwait Airways Corp. V. Iraq Airways Co. (Nos. 4 and 5) [2002] 2 A.C. 883 (C.A. and H.L.).

Emin v. Yeldag [2002] 1 F.L.R. 596.

*Foreign Corporations Act 1991

v. Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, ex p. Anastasion (1995).