The Law School announced the launch of a certificate program in Latin American and Latino studies on Aug. 25.

This program was launched in recognition of the growing global legal market in Latin America as well as the ongoing U.S. immigration debate, according to a press release from Penn Law.

“Today’s law graduates face challenges that cross boundaries and borders, whether they work on issues of immigration, global transactional law or the environment,” said Wendell Pritchett, interim dean of Penn Law, in the press release. “The new certificate in Latin American and Latino studies is emblematic of our interdisciplinary approach to educating the next generation of lawyers and our ongoing commitment to international legal training.”

The new program will consist of five courses, two of which will be taken through the Law School and three through the School of Arts and Sciences. Certificate recipients must also demonstrate proficiency in Spanish, French, Portuguese or less common languages such as Yucatec Maya, Quechua or Haitian Creole.

Penn Law cited the recent border crisis and the DREAM Act — which would grant a path to citizenship for people who were brought to the United States as children — as national debates that make Latin American studies relevant in law.

Other law schools have similar Latin American law programs. American University’s Washington College of Law offers students the opportunity to study abroad in Chile and Argentina for the summer where they focus on trade and investment in Latin America and comparative legal perspectives on social problems. Yale Law School’s program encourages exchange between Yale Law and seven law schools in Argentina, Brazil and Chile.

Additionally, Tulane University, the University of Texas at Austin and New York University, to name a few, all have joint degree programs between their law schools and master’s programs in Latin American Studies.

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