Moving on…

Today is my last day at Boston University and I wanted to say farewell. The past year has been a blur with my first residency session coming 2 weeks after my arrival at BU Law, the inaugural Budapest residency, the Third Annual Workshop for Chinese Law Students, the first semester of the International Environmental & Energy Law Concentration courses, and the development of the Legal English Certificate Program. While I am eager to begin my role in Veteran Recruitment for UMass Boston, I am happy to have met you, and wish you all the best!

First impressions of the International Environmental & Energy Concentration

Happy New Year and welcome to a new semester at the Executive LL.M. Program. As you can see from our Happy Holidays from the ELLM Office post there have been many developments over the past year. One of these developments was the addition of the addition of the International Environmental and Energy Law Concentration (IEEC). This past fall semester we had our first ELLM student participate in the Environmental Law course offered through this partnership.

Stefan Greimel recently completed the Environmental Law course offered in conjunction with Vermont Law School and we took this opportunity to talk to him about his experience.

Stefan Greimel

Stefan Greimel

The course provided an overview of some of the major environmental statutes in the United States, addressed the variety of regulatory tools and concepts that can be used to prevent environmental harm, focusing on the proper match between regulatory tools and environmental harm, and explored the role of other disciplines (e.g., science) and alternative means (e.g., public awareness) to facilitate changes in environmental policy. In addition to the core subject matter, Stefan was gratified that “I also learned quite a lot about U.S. administrative law in general.”

While Environmental Law is not a core area of interest for Stefan, he took the course because he finds value in exploring new areas of law that challenge him. He found the subject of the course intellectually interesting, but more importantly the approaches and tools used to find solutions to the assigned problems were very valuable for his professional development. Like many students, Stefan was concerned about missing something by taking a completely online course, but the design and pace of the Vermont Law School online environment alleviated his concerns.

With respect to the course content and pedagogy, Stefan noted that “In particular I appreciated the group work in module 2, where in the course of a case study we looked at the challenges in dealing with the environmental and public health impacts of a landfill and considered what avenues community members might pursue in their efforts to abate the harm, where we were encouraged to think creatively about innovative legal and non-legal solutions, also considering the applicable statutory language. This provided the greatest insight how a lawyer would work on an environmental issue, and I got a lot out of this module in terms of how to argue a case. To work together with my colleagues on this case was a great experience, too.” He was impressed with the structure of the course and enjoyed the group format of the discussions and the assignments, saying “the group experience added something special to the course” and “it was a very positive group environment that challenges you.” One aspect of the course Stefan found particularly compelling was the format of the assignments each week. For example, the format changed from individual assignments to group assignments, and the type and length of the assignments varied depending on the week. This broke up the work and encouraged communication with classmates, whom Stefan found to be very engaged and capable.

Overall, Stefan’s experience was that the course was very challenging but rewarding, and he agreed that taking more than one intensive 7 week course at a time would be a very difficult task for someone working full-time. On average he spent 15-20 hours a week on reading and assignments, as the course covered material normally spread out over a 15 week semester. A few tips Stefan gives for managing the workload: spread out the reading and assignments over the work week and start the reading of the materials at the beginning of every week; start to work on the assignment in the middle of the week and finalize the assignments during the weekend, if the schedule allows you to do so (sometimes it was required to post assignments on Thursday or Friday). He said “there is just too much material to get through if you do not pace yourself and start early” and attempting to do all the course work on the weekend would be too onerous. While it was a busy schedule with firm deadlines, Stefan noted there was some room for accommodation: “during one week I had a conflict with work and the faculty was flexible enough to allow me an extra day.”

As our first ELLM ‘graduate’ of an IEEC course, Stefan was very pleased with the experience which he described as ”enriching”, and recommends his fellow ELLM students consider taking one or two of these courses as they provide flexibility in program scheduling and subject content, and offer an interesting addition to the overall ELLM curriculum. For more information about the IEEC or any of the other courses offered through the ELLM program, please contact us at execllm@bu.edu.

Thank you to Stefan for sharing with us his experiences with this course, and we hope your new year has started off well. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Happy Holidays from the ELLM Office!

Greetings from BU Law and the ELLM Office!  At this special time of year, we like to reflect on all the blessings we have enjoyed and take stock of 2013.

We have discussed many of the exciting developments in previous blog entries already– the success of our Budapest session, our special programs, the introduction of our new IEEL Concentration, two new courses in Deals and Compliance, but there are other things about which we are grateful that we have not yet talked about. Some highlights:

  • a growing number of ELLM students have taken courses from our online International Taxation basket — 11 so far– including courses in Corporate Law, Federal Tax, Transfer Pricing, and International Tax;
  • 1 student pursued the Concentration in International Taxation in 2013, with 2 so far for 2014;
  • the introduction of the IEEL has proven to be an interesting addition for some of our students, with several students enrolling in courses such as Environmental Law, Administrative Law, and Environmental Dispute Resolution;
  • our alumni population continues to grow, with 7 graduates in 2013, and 11 anticipated in 2014;
  • the geographic spread of the ELLM continues to expand, as we approach 40 countries represented by our student cohort;
  • we are increasing ELLM’s footprint in Africa (Ghana, Morocco, South Africa, Nigeria, Zambia, Zimbabwe), the Middle East (Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, UAE), Central and Eastern Europe (Czech Republic, Kazakhstan, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Russia), Latin and South America (Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Mexico, Venezuela), and Asia (China, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea);
  • in addition to our already-robust cohort from many developed countries (Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain, USA), we have a growing student body from many developing-world countries (Bangladesh, Haiti, India, Iran, Pakistan, Turkey). This diversity of representation, with students from all over the world and a multiplicity of backgrounds, makes the Executive LL.M. program at BU one-of-a-kind.
  • For the Spring 2014 session– scheduled to begin in about a month–we have new students entering the ELLM from Brazil, Chile, Indonesia, Hungary, Japan and the US. And there are more to come, as applicants continue to arrive. Welcome, all, to the ELLM family!

And, of course, construction of the new Sumner Redstone Law Building continues apace, with the entire external structure up. While we not occupy our full space in the new building until 2015, we will be moving out of the law tower for next September, when the gutting of the main law building will take place. If you’d like to see the time lapse camera shots of the Redstone building construction, please visit here: http://oxblue.com/open/bostonuniversity

We are grateful for the growth of the ELLM, and are grateful for your participation and interest in it. Each one of our students and alumni have contributed to our success and we are, in a word, also grateful for each of you! Please feel free to send us any pictures of your celebrations of the holidays or the New Year, or a scenic photo from where you live– we’d love to post them!

Have a happy and safe holidays and we look forward to seeing or hearing from you in 2014!

XMAS Terrier

 

 

ELLM Updates for Fall 2013

After the successful completion of three residency sessions this past summer, one in Budapest and two in Boston, the ELLM program has continued to move forward with the addition of the International Environmental and Energy Law Concentration (IEEC), the creation of two new courses, and involvement in a completely new certificate program at BU Law.  It has been a busy few months and we are confident the LECP will quickly become a robust program and all the hard work we are doing now will pay off next year!

The IEEC is the ELLM’s second online concentration. Like the International Taxation Concentration, the IEEC offers students the opportunity to specialize in a growing and important area of specialized legal practice. Offered in conjunction with the Vermont Law School – the nation’s top law school for environmental law studies — this concentration is offered entirely online, with no residential components, in a 7 week long intensive format. ELLM students will now have access to seven new courses: Environmental Law, Administrative Law, Energy Law and Policy in a Carbon-Constrained World, Energy Regulation and the Environment, Alternative Fuels and Renewable Energy, Oil and Gas Development and the Environment, and Environmental Dispute Resolution. These courses offer additional flexibility in addition to providing immersion in this highly-relevant international field. Completion of the IEEC Concentration also allows students to complete the Executive LL.M. program requirements through two, rather than the usual three, residency sessions if desired. Students may also enroll in these courses individually as all these courses will count towards the Executive LL.M. degree.

In addition to the launch of the IEEC, the ELLM program is developing two new courses for 2014. The first new course, Deals: The Legal Engineering Behind Corporate Transactions, will be offered during the 2014 Summer Boston session. This course will be taught by Mr. Andrew Croxford who has over 17 years of experience as a solicitor in London, England, with experience in mergers and acquisitions, equity capital markets, joint ventures and venture capital investments in the U.K. and throughout the world, with a particular emphasis on transactions in emerging economies. This course looks at how lawyers can, and do, add value to complex transactions and contracts, or deals through identification and evaluation of common issues that present contractual risks for corporate clients and examination of how those risks can be resolved or mitigated by legal advisers through the application of conceptual frameworks. The second course, Managing Compliance Risks for International Business Networks, will be offered during the Fall 2014 semester as an entirely online course. Taught by Mr. Babak Boghraty, a BU Law graduate with two decades of experience assisting global enterprises extend their presence to some of the most inaccessible markets, this course will examine recent developments in US law that impact compliance risks in international business operations, and explore potential tools for evaluating and managing those risks.

We have also been busy developing the Legal English Certificate Program (LECP). This program is specifically designed for law practitioners who are academically and professionally qualified to enter an LL.M. program, but require additional English Language instruction. The courses in this two semester, full-time program are designed to strengthen a students Legal English skills as well as give them a firm foundation in the skills necessary to succeed in their future U.S. graduate school education. The program contains two tracks: track one, known as the 2 Year LL.M. option, are for applicants who are provisionally accepted into a BU Law LL.M. program but need to improve their English and legal English proficiency. Track two, the certificate-only program, is also open to non-lawyers and practitioners who are not seeking to matriculate in one of BU Law’s LL.M. programs.

Sumner M. Redstone Building

In addition to these program additions, we have been busy reviewing applications for the ELLM (which have been coming in at a rapid pace!), planning the 2014 residency sessions, and working with faculty and students completing their summer session online post-residencies. All the while, the construction of the new Sumner M. Redstone Building has continued and we look forward to the new building opening summer 2014. This building will eventually house the new ELLM suite of offices and classrooms, with a marvelous view of the Charles River. It has been a busy few months, but we look forward to next year when all of this work will come to fruition!

As always, please contact us at execllm@bu.edu if we can provide you with any information on the ELLM program, to sign up for one of our upcoming informational webinars, or to give us a professional update.

 

Third Annual UCLEF Workshop on American Law Hosted at BU Law

From August 1 to August 7, 2013,  the ELLM program was honored to host a delegation of law students and lawyers from China for a Workshop on American Business Law. Organized on behalf of the US-China Legal Exchange Foundation (UCLEF), this marked the third occasion since 2011 that the ELLM program offered this special program, and was the sixth such workshop that we have offered to institutional partners since that time.

The universities represented included the China University of Political Science and Law (CUPL), the University of International Business and Economics (UIBE), Shenzhen University School of Law, and Southwest University of Political Science and Law. Participants attended four days of lectures covering topics that included Introduction to Intellectual Property, Contracts, Corporate Reorganizations and Bankruptcy, Banking Regulation, Securities Regulation, Trade, and Introduction to Alternative Dispute Resolution. Several members of the full-time teaching faculty of BU Law participated, including the “singing professor”, Mark Pettit, who lectured on the law of Contracts.

Prof. Mark Pettit lectures on Contracts, August 2013

Other instructors included Professors Stacey Dogan and David Webber, Professor Emeritus Daniel Partan, Associate Director Martin Lacdao of the Banking and Financial Law LL.M. program, and myself. As in previous years, Zachary H. Smith, partner at O’Melveny & Myers in New York City, flew to Boston to share his expertise on bankruptcy law. On the last day of the Workshop, the ELLM program arranged for a visit to the U.S. District Court and were hosted for lunch and a panel discussion at Bowditch & Dewey LLP courtesy of Mary-Pat Cormier, Esq., and Al Gray, Esq.  The capstone was an enjoyable farewell dinner at the Elephant Walk in Boston.

We are always pleased to hear from prospective partners interested in having us organize special programs during the summer, so feel free to contact us if your institution is interested in exploring such a collaboration. We are able to create a wide range of customized programming, ranging from foundational U.S. law lectures to specialized areas such as business law and bankruptcy, tailored to the interests of your group, and can accommodate groups ranging in size from 10 to 50. If your undergraduate or graduate institution, government agency, foundation or corporation would like to obtain more information on this, please contact us at execllm@bu.edu.

UCLEF Participants at Boston University

A Busy Summer at the ELLM Program

Now that the summer is nearing a close, it is a good time to reflect on the past few months of activity here in the ELLM office. The transition from spring to summer was one of celebration as  four of the seven ELLM graduates were able to make the trip to Boston for the 2013 Law School Commencement. Shortly after commencement the ELLM program faculty, students, and staff traveled to Budapest, Hungary for the inaugural ELLM Budapest residency session. While this was a great experience for everyone involved, there was little time to reflect as the first Boston summer residency session began exactly one week after the end of the Budapest session.

Professor Virginia Greiman and her IBT&A students

On Monday, July 8th thirteen students, the largest number yet, arrived on campus from locales including Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Honduras,  Italy, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Spain, and various regions of the United States. The courses offered during the first Boston summer session included Virginia Greiman’s International Business Transactions and Agreements and John Sullivan’s U.S. and Trans-Border Mergers & Acquisitions. As is customary the two courses offered were supplemented by the Current Issues in U.S. Business Law Colloquium which included a variety of guest speakers covering topics related to international business law. Natascha George, Partner at Bingham McCutchen LLC, who spoke on the topic of executive compensation and the statutory and code provisions governing this issue. Dr. David Nersessian, Senior Lecturer and Assistant Dean Global Programs at Boston University School of Management, discussed legal ethics and professional responsibility in the U.S. context and its practical implications for dealing with US colleagues on international transactions. Mary-Part Cormier, Partner at Bowditch & Dewey, spoke on federal and state privacy and date protection laws. Daniela Caruso, Professor of Law at BU Law, spoke on the demise of bilateral trade agreements and the rise of multilateral agreements, focusing largely on US and EU trade agreements. The final colloquium session was presented by Rachel Faye Smith, Counsel at Bingham McCutchen LLC, that focused on life in a M&A department at a large U.S. law firm which touched upon some of the changes and challenges in the traditional law firm model. As is the tradition of the ELLM program, we ended with a farewell dinner on Saturday at the Boston location of the Elephant Walk where students and program staff were able to unwind and celebrate the completion of another residency.

The Monday following the farewell dinner, we welcomed a new group of students for the second Boston summer session! While a few industrious individuals stayed in Boston after completing the first Boston session, additional students came from Brazil, China, Nigeria, and the United Arab Emirates. The courses offered during the second Boston summer session included Michael Krebs’ U.S. and Trans-Border Securities Regulation and Michael Meurer’s U.S. and International Intellectual Property courses. Like the first session, the second session U.S. Business Law Colloquium welcomed guest speakers covering a variety of topics. Stacey L. Dogan, Law Alumni Scholar and Professor of Law at BU Law, discussed the relationship between the First Amendment and the “right of publicity,” which gives celebrities certain rights with respect to their identities. Cornelius Hurley, Director of the Boston University Center for Finance, Law & Policy, Senior Provost Fellow, and Professor of the Practice of Banking Law, discussed financial regulatory reform with emphasis on systemic risk, bailouts and the Dodd-Frank Act. Kent Coit, Professor of the Practice of Law and Director of the Transactional Law Program at BU Law, spoke about Recent Trends in Shareholder Activism. Jenna Dicocco, Lecturer in Markets, Public Policy, and Law at Boston University School of Management, talked on business mitigation strategies for climate change issues. The final discussion was by Jeffrey S. Hurwitz, Esq., Founder and Principle of CoreChoice, who talked about ethical dilemmas and strategies for grappling with them. And, of course, we ended with dinner at the Elephant Walk!

Boston Summer Session Farewell Dinner

Boston Summer Session Farewell Dinner

Now that we have completed the summer sessions here in Boston, there is time to congratulate the students and look forward to the next group of students to pass through the doors of the ELLM program here and abroad. Check back soon for details about our special programs and what we are planning for 2014.

As always, please contact us at execllm@bu.edu if we can provide you with any information on the ELLM program, to sign up for one of our upcoming informational webinars, or just to say hello.

A Look Back at the Inaugural ELLM Session in Budapest

ELLM Farewell Dinner in Budapest

One component of the rapid-growth of the ELLM program – you can read about new initiatives in some of our upcoming blog entries – is our first international destination for one of our annual residential sessions: Budapest, Hungary! We first discussed this new option for the ELLM students nearly a year ago in an earlier blog post, but now we are in the happy situation of looking back at our inaugural Budapest session and sharing our experiences.

By way of background, in 2013 BU Law entered into a partnership with the Center for International Legal Studies (CILS) in Salzburg, Austria, as well as Lazarski University in Warsaw (Poland’s top private law school and home of a leading European LL.M. program, the LL.M. in Transnational Commercial Practice), and Hungary’s premiere law school,  Eötvös Loránd University (known as “ELTE”, for short), offering an LL.M. in European and International Business Law.  Students from Lazarski and ELTE now participate in our Budapest sessions as part of their programs, and ELLM students now have the benefit of advanced standing with up to 15 credits applied to the Lazarski LL.M., meaning they need only complete one two-week session in April in Warsaw.   For ELLM students wishing to expand their knowledge of international law as taught from an European perspective, this is a wonderful new opportunity.

As part of this collaboration, our inaugural Budapest session was held from June 17- June 29, 2013.  The weather (very hot one week, very temperate the next) provided a perfect excuse to sample Budapest’s famous café culture and to engage with BU Law faculty and 13 students from the ELLM, ELTE and Lazarski programs representing Canada, China, Colombia, Hungary, Egypt, France, Haiti, Poland, and the United States. The courses offered were Mark Pettit’s U.S. Contract Law for International Lawyers, and Kevin Outterson’s U.S. Corporate Law for International Lawyers. As is the case at all our residential sessions, we held our Current Issues in International Business Law Colloquium. The Budapest series was organized by Dennis Campbell, Director of CILS. Christof Siefarth, managing partner of Görg in Cologne spoke about government initiatives to impose stringent anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing obligations on lawyers and other monetary gatekeepers. Balazs Sahin-Toth, Head of the Allen & Overy Hungarian restructuring and litigation practice, shared M&A “war stories” using examples such as the privatization of regional airports and corporations. Zoltan Hegymegi-Barakonyi, chair of Baker and McKenzie’s Antitrust and Competition practice in Budapest, discussed developments in Hungarian competition law; Julia Balazs from Oppenheim spoke about the Hungarian construction trusteeship; Tobor Szanto from Allen and Overy’s Budapest office (and head of their EU, competition and regulatory practice department) shared his expertise on negotiating merger remedies with antitrust authorities, and Èva Kovács from Weil Gotschal spoke about the role of women in contemporary Hungarian legal education and employment.

At the end of our two-week residency, we celebrated friends new and old at our farewell dinner as is our custom in the ELLM. In Budapest the site was the Károlyi Restaurant near ELTE, and while the setting may have been a little far from our usual haunts in Boston, it was marked by the same spirit of congeniality, camaraderie and spirited conversation as always. While we are already planning next year’s residency in Budapest, we next turn  our attention to our two summer Boston residencies. Thank you to everyone that worked so hard to ensure the Budapest session was a success, and most of all: congratulations to the students for successfully completing another residency!

As always, please contact us at execllm@bu.edu if we can provide you with any information on the ELLM program, to sign up for one of our regular informational webinars, or just to say hello.

Commencement 2013

On Sunday, May 19th , members of the second graduating class of the Executive LL.M. in International Business Law program were conferred degrees at the School of Law’s Commencement. Four of the students and their families were able to make the trip to Boston. While this was the second commencement for the Executive LL.M. program, it was my first commencement with the Law School.

Verrilli

The Honorable Donald B. Verrilli, Jr., Solicitor General of the United States

This year the commencement speaker was The Honorable Donald B. Verrilli, Jr., Solicitor General of the United States. His speech provided insight into the public responsibility of the legal profession and choosing a path of service. Set against the backdrop of the recent tragedies in Boston, his commencement address focused on the challenges and opportunities ahead while acknowledging the recent struggles of the students, faculty, staff, and the people of Boston.

Like last year, the graduating class of Executive LL.M. in International Business Law came from diverse locations such as Honduras, Italy, Costa Rica, and Ohio to participate in the commencement ceremony. As I am new to the program, this was my first time meeting several of the students in person. While we had emailed or talked on the phone several times, it was nice to put faces to their names!


The Honorable Keila Cosme, Professor Virginia Greiman, Eva Materassi

I am happy that I was able to meet Enrique Rodriquez, Eva, Fabiola, and Keila before they graduated and I look forward to seeing them again as BU Law Alumni. Even though I was not able to meet Chester, Mark, and Roman I also hope to hear from them as the other proud members of this year’s graduating class!  I wish them all congratulations on their accomplishments and continued success in their future careers. To learn more about these and other graduates of the Executive LL.M. program you can visit our alumni profiles page.

First Impressions…

With the first residency session completed, I wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on my experiences so far at the ELLM program and Boston University School of Law. Like all new positions there is a period of adaptation, and while I worked at Boston University for nearly 3 years before joining the ELLM program, there has been a lot to learn over the past 5 weeks. There have been new systems to learn, new responsibilities, and a plethora of names and faces to become familiar with . Luckily these new faces at BU Law have all been very helpful and welcoming.

The first day of the spring residency session came faster than I would have liked, but I think things went well. For the most part students, guest speakers, and professors showed up on time, and the construction noise from the Sumner M. Redstone Building & Law Tower Renovation Project has been less than expected. It has been interesting meeting such a diverse group of students with a variety of professional experiences.  I believe it would be hard to find another program with Attorneys from 7 different countries, an Appellate Judge, international business people, and an Assistant Professor in the same classes. From the feedback I received during the session the classes are interesting and the conversation is engaging. The faculty I talked to were easy to talk to, engaged with their students, and genuinly interested in getting feedback to make the experience better. The farewell dinner at The Elephant Walk was a nice way to end the intensive two weeks of classes and it gave the students, faculty, and staff the ability to connect outside the classroom. I look forward to meeting more of our students, and seeing the ones I have met again during future sessions.

It has only been a week since the spring residency finished, but we have been busy planning for the next sessions and reviewing new applicants for the summer admission cycle. Over the next few weeks I am looking forward to learning more about the programs and preparing for the residencies. It looks like it is going to be a busy summer this year with the June residency session in Budapest, the two residency sessions and the special program session in Boston during the months of July and August, as well as the other aspects of running a graduate law program. It will be busy, but enjoyable. One thing I am really looking forward to is meeting the rest of the ELLM students over the next few months. If you are one of them, please send me an email at rkfox@bu.edu if you have any questions or would just like to say hello.

Welcome to our New Assistant Director, Richard Fox!

I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome our new Assistant Director, Richard Fox, who started with the ELLM program yesterday. Welcome, Richard!

Prior to joining the ELLM, Richard worked at the Boston University Study Abroad office where he was responsible for pre-departure coordination, registration and grading, institutional billing and relations, scholarships and grants, and program data analysis. In addition to his experience at Boston University, Richard worked at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy’s LL.M. in International Law providing general student, staff, and faculty support. I had the pleasure of working with him there, and am thrilled to have him on the ELLM team. In his ‘previous life’, Richard lived in several countries including Japan and Jordan, and traveled to 35 countries. He is also a veteran of the United States Navy. He holds a degree in Cultural Anthropology from Northern Arizona University and a Master of Education in Policy, Planning, and Administration from Boston University School of Education, where he is currently a Doctoral Candidate in Education Leadership and Development studying the effects of orientation and online pre-orientation programming on international graduate students’ satisfaction with the transition to higher education in the United States.

In his capacity at BU Law, he is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Executive LL.M. program and Special Programs. This includes admissions coordination, marketing and outreach, budgeting, academic advising of potential and admitted LL.M. students, and managing and training Executive LL.M. part-time and full-time staff. Richard also supports the program Director in coordinating with faculty, Distance Education personnel, other University staff, and ELLM students to ensure the efficient and high quality delivery of the online and residency portions of the program. I am sure our ELLM students will be hearing from him soon, but in the meantime, feel free to drop him a line at rkfox@bu.edu or “visit” his LinkedIn profile.

Again, welcome!