Third-year Penn Law students can take their studies abroad to the London School of Economics and Political Science starting this fall.
In May, Penn Law and LSE’s Law department established a partnership that would allow select third-year Penn Law students to the spend their fall semester as a member of LSE’s Master of Laws program.
While many associate LSE for its economics program due to its name, it is a public research university that is solely devoted to a range of academic fields in the social sciences, including international relations, social psychology and anthropology.
Chosen each year by LSE, the selected students will travel to London to study a breadth of legal fields, such as arbitration, human rights and international law, among others.
While the program will aim to send three students annually, only one has been chosen to participate for this year because the program still remains in its “early stages,” according to Head of LSE Law Jeremy Horder.
This fall, Penn will be sending its first student, Shane Fischman, to LSE.
Fischman, who holds a Master of Public Administration in International Security Policy with a specialization in the Middle East, said she sees the opportunity to study international law and human rights law at a school like LSE as a "dream come true."
“For a student of international law, with a particular interest in human rights law and international security, there is no better place to study and learn,” Fischman said. “London presents myriad opportunities for students interested in international affairs and international law. It is a truly have-it-all moment.”
Selection of students into the program is conducted in adherence with LSE’s typical admissions criteria, while placing strong considerations on recommendations by Penn Law.
The partnership with LSE is Penn Law’s latest in a host of other study abroad programs it offers its students, including ones at the Hong Kong University, Waseda University in Tokyo, University Tsinghua-Tokyo, Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po) and ESADE in Barcelona.
Unlike Penn Law and many other leading universities in the U.K., the partnership is only the second of its kind, next to a partnership with Columbia University, for LSE Law. According to Horder, LSE has no plans to add more schools to the list as of now.
The program comes as a product of outreach by Penn Law’s Associate Dean of International Programs Rangita de Silva de Alwis.
Dean of Penn Law Theodore W. Ruger and Silva de Alwis said that the program is part of Penn Law’s strategy to foster relationships with leading academic institutions around the world.
Both relished the prospect of Penn students studying the UK legal system.
“In addition to studying a different legal system, this is a remarkable time to study the law at LSE, as the U.K. deals with plans for Brexit and its future role in the European Union,” Silva de Alwis said. “Penn Law's goal is to expose our law students to different legal systems and legal cultures so that they may become global leaders in the law.”
Horder also lauded the new partnership, calling it a “historic agreement for the LSE Law department” in an emailed statement to The Daily Pennsylvanian. He added that the master’s program at LSE Law is international in content, citing the relevance of the U.K’s legal system to others worldwide.
“The UK is a large exporter of legal doctrine and thought world-wide, and so familiarity with English law can provide an essential basis for internationally-based practice," he said.