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How law schools are preparing graduates for the changing industry

University of Luxembourg

Law is the foundation of our world. It’s the pillar that allowed civilisation to flourish, and as we move through the modern age, its role in society only increases.

In every culture around the world, there’s a set of rules to which citizens must abide. In some countries, these systems are written in the constitution; in others, they’re dictated by an authoritarian state. Elsewhere they comprise a fluid set of rules that change to reflect the situation at hand or exist as unspoken agreements among community members.

So as secularism sweeps the western world and encroaches on the east, legal systems have generally realigned to reflect more inclusive attitudes.

Monumental changes in law include the legalisation of same-sex marriage in 26 countries since the Netherlands changed its law in 2000; the recognition that non-consensual sex within marriage is rape is now adhered to in most countries according to a report by Equality Now; plus the protection of Intellectual Property as a valuable commodity.

Erasmus University Rotterdam

These adaptations to law have shaped the world, setting a benchmark for right and wrong and allowing comparisons between progressive states and regressive policymakers. It provides a starting point for human rights watchdogs and a stepping stone for societal growth.

And as we move into the digital age where connectivity and international co-operation are commonplace, lawmakers have a new challenge on their hands: rather than operating as singular entities, nations are now inextricably interdependent on each other, creating a whole new set of challenges.

Not only does corporation and political law need to factor in the fact that international relations will be operating under a different legal system, there’s also more risk of data leaks and confidential information falling out of secrecy – not to mention the environmental issues we must face.

And as technology advances the industry, with blockchain security and Artificial Intelligence (AI) streamlining legal processes, professionals must adapt to this disruption.

Instead of fact-checking and memory recall – skills AI applications can complete in seconds – the legal industry is going to rely on professionals having developed soft-skills on top of legal knowledge.

To harness these changes and drive the industry forward, law graduates must refine a T-Shaped skillset that doesn’t only focus on depth of legal knowledge but also spans interdisciplinary areas to build their expertise.

The ability to critically apply legal knowledge to relevant subjects such as international history, business, psychology, environmental science and philosophy, using this to creatively solve complex cases is now crucial to driving the legal industry forward, as technology continues to rewrite industry rules.

The legal field is set to be uprooted and rewritten by changing societal needs and internal technological developments – but by broadening your skillset and diversifying your expertise, you’ll leave with the qualities needed to progress the industry beyond these challenges to better serve future societies.

If you want to be part of the ever-changing industry and drive societal change, consider these four leading law schools…

FACULTY OF LAW, ECONOMICS AND FINANCE, UNIVERSITY OF LUXEMBOURG – LUXEMBOURG

As a leading young university in Europe, the University of Luxembourg provides a dynamic legal education founded on European legal structures combined with a global outlook and the opportunity to study a semester abroad at one of many partner universities worldwide.

The university offers a diverse learning community of 6,400 students, with 2,500 standing within the Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance. Courses are taught in English and French, allowing students to benefit from an international environment that embraces students from more than 90 different nationalities.

University of Luxembourg

Despite the large number of students in the faculty, classes are small, with no more than 25 learners in each group to ensure everyone receives the individual support they need to fulfil their potential. Outside the classroom, students gain real world experience through industry placements, active participation in moot courts and a Consumer Law Clinic that offers legal advice to real clients.

Students can choose from six innovative LL.M. programmes, including the Masters in European Economic and Financial Criminal Law,  European and International Tax Law,  European Private Law, European Union Law and Litigation and European Banking and Financial Law, and Space, Communication and Media Law, allowing them to jump into the international legal world beyond graduation.

DEPARTMENT OF LEGAL STUDIES, CENTRAL EUROPEAN UNIVERSITY – HUNGARY

The Department of Legal Studies at Central European University is committed to attracting the brightest minds in law both at student and faculty level. With over 110 countries represented on campus, the department offers an internationally collaborative and diverse law education.

The law school offers US-accredited master’s programmes in human rights, comparative constitutional law and international business law, which offer opportunities to expand skillsets beyond the classroom through clinical courses, study trips, moot courses and internships. This hands-on approach allows students to focus on gaining a T-Shaped skillset, giving graduates an edge in the industry.

Central European University

Courses here are dynamically designed to meet changing industry needs, meaning students gain a forward-thinking perspective, allowing them to respond to new trends and challenges within the profession. With a 7:1 student/faculty ratio, there’s always an industry influencer on hand to offer academic and career advice.

All talented students are welcomed at the department, and they believe someone’s background should never hold them back. This is why the university offers a range of scholarship opportunities to applicants from any country, allowing every student with the potential to succeed in law to achieve their best.

ERASMUS SCHOOL OF LAW, ERASMUS UNIVERSITY ROTTERDAM – NETHERLANDS

Ranked the fourth best Dutch law school in the QS World Rankings 2019, Erasmus University Rotterdam offers a top-notch legal education in the Netherlands’ happiest city, Rotterdam.

Rotterdam grants students the opportunity to live in a diverse and dynamic European city. With a high quality of life, an exciting night-time scene and heaps of culture, this is the ideal city to study abroad.

The Erasmus School of Law seamlessly integrates legal education with core business principles, allowing students to develop their T-Based skillset and enhance their employment opportunities after graduation. It’s no coincidence that the motto of Erasmus School of Law is ‘Where law meets Business’.

Erasmus University Rotterdam

Graduate students can choose from a wide range of Master’s of Law (LL.M) programmes, including Commercial and Company Law, European Master in Law and Economics, International Master’s in Advances Research in Criminology, International and European Union Law, International Trade Law and Maritime & Transport Law.

Furthermore, the Erasmus Graduate School of Law offers a two-phase structured doctoral programme, offering the flexibility to complete a 14-month probationary phase, followed by a 34-month doctoral programme during which students pursue their research interests in the field of law.

All courses provided by the Erasmus School of Law have a fundamentally European outlook, preparing students for entry into an internationalised legal industry that thrives on collaboration and cooperation.

INSTITUTE OF INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS LAW, UNIVERSITY OF FRIBOURG – SWITZERLAND

Established just a decade ago with the aim of promoting a cross-cultural understanding in law, the Institute of International Business Law at the University of Fribourg is now well versed in creating global business lawyers with multicultural awareness.

More than 30 nationalities are represented within the department, meaning students are immersed in an international environment and relate to different ways of thinking and reasoning.  This a key skill needed in the globalised legal industry when it comes to tackling international issues.

University of Fribourg

The Institute of International Business Law at the University of Fribourg allows students to specialise in four LL.M tracks: International contract and arbitration; Compliance; Commodity trading; and, International business law.

Developed with an industry focus, these programmes allow graduate students to follow their interests at the intersection between law and business, meaning they graduate with interdisciplinary skills with an international focus, and the expertise needed to drive the legal field forward in the modern world.

*The institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International

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