Yi Song, the Executive Director for Graduate and International Programs and Adjunct Professor at Georgetown Law, has launched the Master of Laws Interviews Project. The project provides curated insights to help internationally trained lawyers to establish and develop their U.S. legal careers.
Professor Song first came to the U.S. in 2007 as an exchange student at Georgetown University. She received her first law degree from Beijing Foreign Studies University in China and her Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree from Georgetown Law. While studying for the New York Bar Exam and looking for jobs in the U.S., she found little information on how multilingual and internationally trained lawyers can build a career in the U.S.
Stephen Horowitz is the Director of Online Legal English Programs at Georgetown Law.
In case of interest, my innovative colleague Jonah Perlin (professor of legal practice and advanced legal writing at Georgetown Law) has a new podcast called “HowILawyer” in which he talks to different lawyers about what they do every day, how they do it well, their path to their current position, etc. The idea is to provide a more transparent view of something most of us (myself fully included) knew little about until we left law school and started working.
I found the 24 Hours book, btw, in response to an LLM student from Italy mentioning to me how she found herself at a loss to answer a question from an American lawyer about what kind of law she wanted to practice. In her country, she explained, there were only two answers to such a question: 1) criminal practice, or 2) civil practice (i.e., everything else.)
In the US, she learned, there are a wide variety of paths and options, and she recognized it was important to know about those just to be able to have intelligent conversations. And I then realized this is an important and valuable area of background or cultural knowledge that LLM students need to acquire. Yet as I looked around, I found relatively few resources for providing this cultural knowledge that are appropriate and easily accessible for LLM students.
As a result, I’m very thankful that Jonah decided to start this podcast, and I assume it will be a potentially helpful resource for others in the legal English teaching field to be aware of.
Entertaining side note: When I used 24 Hours With 24 Lawyers a few years ago for an LLM summer book club discussion, I realized there was one profile that went right over their heads: An in-house counsel entertainment lawyer for a global adult entertainment company.
Though you and I, the worldly people we are, understand the connotation of “adult entertainment,” my LLM students did not. And as we started our discussion, I realized they also did not fully understand the lawyer’s nuanced description of various other legal issues he had to deal with, nor his description of an end-of-the-day meeting with some “talent” at a fancy bar to discuss a potential video deal. It was on me to awkwardly life the veil. (And it felt sort of like that moment when you explain to a child that Santa Clause is not real. 🙂