Global Partnerships – New York University

Melbourne Law School's new partnership with New York University School of Law is confirming its status as Australia's global law school. With dual degree programs with premier law schools in Europe, Asia and North America, Melbourne Law School offers students access to some of the world's top academic programs.

New York University School of Law is a world leader in global legal education and is in the top tier of US law schools. Students entering the law school's cosmopolitan campus in Manhattan, New York, have the opportunity to learn from leading international academics and explore new challenges facing law in the 21st century.

New York University (NYU) was founded in 1831 as a private, non-sectarian university. The School of Law was established just four years later and its 175-year history has been centred around its famous Washington Square campus. The school is known for its dedication to the public sector and for its global reach. It has an alumni network of over 350,000 spanning 163 countries.

There is a longstanding connection between Melbourne Law School (MLS) and NYU School of Law, with a tradition of exchange of academics and students and a shared engagement in research projects and new ideas. The new partnership will bring an added dimension to both institutions, each with a long history of academic excellence and scholarly influence within their own countries.

Professor Anne Orford was a Senior Emile Noël Research Fellow at the Jean Monnet Centre for International and Regional Economic Law and Justice at NYU School of Law in 2003. She has since been back to NYU to lecture in the Institute for International Law and Justice Colloquium in 2005, and to take part in a conference in 2008 on the Roman origins of modern international law.

"NYU is without doubt one of the leading centres for the study of international law in the world. It stands out as a law school where the historical and theoretical foundations of international law are given serious attention and related to critical contemporary legal questions," Professor Orford said.

"The combination of a core group of outstanding international law faculty with an exciting roster of visiting professors makes NYU an extraordinary place for those with an interest in international law to study or visit."

One  student  already  benefitting  from   NYU's   renowned   scholarship and teaching in international law is Owen Webb.  Owen  is  currently  at NYU as the first student to undertake the  JD(Melb.)  /  LLM(NYU)  program. He hopes in the future to practise in the field of  Private International  Law and  Commercial  Arbitration  and  has focused  his  first  semester  studies in this area.

Owen is undertaking a traditional LLM which allows him to pursue his degree across an astonishingly broad selection of subjects. He highly recommends NYU to other MLS students.

"The quality of teaching at Melbourne Law School and the foundational principles of the JD in particular – incorporating small class sizes and interactive teaching methods – have made the transition to "Socratic" teaching at NYU more enjoyable and, therefore, more fruitful."

With NYU having the stature to attract prominent lawyers and international figures, Owen has already had the opportunity to attend public lectures on wide-ranging topics.

"I have recently attended a 'town hall' meeting with UK Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, and a roundtable forum on achieving peace in the Sudan with Professor Catharine MacKinnon and ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo."

For those studying and working at NYU, the law school provides an opportunity to build a network of valuable academic and professional connections. One of the great benefits of attending NYU is the intellectual interaction among students, faculty and visitors.

NYU prides itself on its diversity and fosters the dynamism created by a community of students with extraordinarily diverse backgrounds, experiences and perspectives.

Melbourne Law School PhD candidate, Tanya Josev, has been appointed a Hauser Global Fellow at NYU School of Law for the 2010–11 academic year to undertake doctoral research. Tanya has just begun her fellowship and is already finding the experience of being part of a diverse and international academic community valuable.

"NYU School of Law has made us feel very welcome. The Global Fellows are a group of twenty or so people, some at the beginning of their academic careers, and others who are well established," said Tanya.

"There's a diversity of nationalities amongst the group, as well as a range of research interests, and we are able to explore our respective projects in an informal setting at the fortnightly Fellows forum. It gives you a very illuminating perspective on how those from other jurisdictions approach certain legal, social and policy issues."

As well as the exhilaration of being part of a vibrant learning community, central to the NYU experience is its location in the heart of Greenwich Village. NYU is an incredibly busy place where student life revolves around the public space of Washington Square Park. For generations the park has been a meeting place for writers, artists and intellectuals.

For Tanya, being at NYU has included some of the signature experiences of New York life. She has taken part in several cultural events organised by the Hauser Program for its fellows.

"So far, we've been to the US Open, sculpture gardens, and upstate New York to see the autumn leaves and indulge in some wine-tasting!"

MLS and NYU School of Law are both members of the Association of Transnational Law Schools (ATLAS), a consortium of ten law schools from around the world (MLS is the only Australian law school). ATLAS was formed to bring together talented doctoral students in the field of law and foster the study of legal issues broadly related, but not limited, to comparative legal and regulatory responses to various forces of globalization, international governance challenges and the evolution of transnational law.

Each year PhD students at MLS have the opportunity to participate in an international symposium hosted by ATLAS. This year the two-week symposium was hosted by NYU School of Law and four outstanding PhD candidates attended: Takele Soboka Bulto, Genevieve Grant, Magdalini Karagiannakis and Amanda Scardamaglia.

The new partnership between MLS and NYU School of Law formalises  a relationship already characterised by a productive exchange of visiting academics between the two schools. Upcoming visitors to Melbourne include prominent international scholars who will teach in the 2011 Masters Program, including Professor Cynthia Estlund, NYU's Catherine A Rein Professor and a leading US scholar of labour and employment law, and Professor Samuel Issachar off, Reiss Professor of Constitutional Law.

Dean of Melbourne Law School, Professor Michael Crommelin AO, says that the burgeoning connection between NYU School of Law and MLS and the new dual degree programs will provide students with an outstanding learning opportunity.

"Our aim is to give our students access to the world's top academic programs in law," said Professor Crommelin.

"They will graduate with two internationally recognised qualifications, earning unparalleled access to the international job market and gaining experience in the most sophisticated forms of legal work."

The dual degree programs give Melbourne JD students the opportunity to apply during their second year of study at Melbourne, for either the NYU JD or the NYU LLM.

The JD (Melb.)  / JD (NYU) consists of four years of study: two years at Melbourne and two years at NYU. The JD (Melb.)  / LLM (NYU) consists of 3.5 years of study: 2.5 years at Melbourne and one year at NYU.

This article originally appeared in MLS News, Issue 4, November 2010.