Fordham Law

Fordham Law Summer Institute in New York City Celebrates Fifth Anniversary

July 11, 2011

Fordham Law School has begun the fifth year of its Summer Institute in New York City, a program that introduces international law graduates and students to the U.S. legal system and an array of topics of U.S. Law. With nearly 90 participants from 28 countries, this year's cohort is the most globally diverse.

In addition to offering an introduction to the U.S. legal system and U.S. Constitutional Law, the Summer Institute covers a broad range of topics at the heart of today’s global legal economy, including Contract Law, Tort Law, Corporations, Mergers and Acquisitions, Securities Regulation, Antitrust Law, Civil Litigation, Arbitration, and Bankruptcy. 

The program also includes special Legal English workshops that focus on contract negotiation and drafting, litigation documents, legal research, citation form, and drafting the legal memorandum. There are also special information sessions for students beginning their Master of Laws studies at Fordham or elsewhere, and for those considering an LL.M. in the future.

Classroom instruction is supplemented by outings to a law firm and to a local federal court.  The program also includes special social events, such as a welcome reception, a picnic in Central Park, and an excursion to see a Broadway musical. Participants have lunch together throughout the program, during which they sample food from many of the countries represented by the participants. 

In its five-year existence, the Summer Institute, directed by Professor Thomas H. Lee and Toni M. Fine, Assistant Dean of International and Non-J.D. Programs, has brought more than 450 participants from more than 50 countries to Fordham’s Manhattan campus.

“Participants in the Summer Institute have returned to their home countries and have shared their enthusiasm with colleagues, classmates, and friends about the program and about Fordham," said Dean Fine. "We could not ask for better promoters of this program or of the Law School.” 

Many past Summer Institute participants have returned to Fordham Law to participate in other Law School programs. Maria Luisa di Lauro, who attended the second Summer Institute in 2008, returned for the 2009–2010 academic year and completed the Master of Laws in International Business and Trade Law. Di Lauro, who currently practices at the Rome office of the law firm Allen & Overy, said, “Being in the Summer Institute exposed me to the wonderful community of teachers, scholars, and students at Fordham Law.  When it came time to choose an LL.M. program, Fordham was naturally at the top of my list.” 

A number of Summer Institute alumni also participated in the Law School’s new program on Recent Developments in U.S. Law. Daniela Jara Cruz, a member of the first Summer Institute class and a lawyer at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Mexico City, said that she had been “waiting for another short-term program that would enable me to refresh my knowledge and return to Fordham Law.”

The Summer Institute has created a community of friends and a network of professional associations that span the world.  The program has attracted participants from nearly every corner of the world—from Egypt, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates to El Salvador, Paraguay, and Venezuela; from Nigeria to Georgia, Serbia, and the Philippines. 

Many participants recently attended the event hosted by the Fordham Law Alumni Association European Chapter in Rome and have met at other formal and informal events around the world. Paulo Almeida, a federal judge in Brazil, noted, “My Summer Institute classmates and I have met both in Brazil and in Europe. They are among my closest friends.” 

Friendships formed during the Summer Institute are perhaps most evident at the Closing Dinner and Certificate Ceremony, which Dean Fine describes as “an event that is at once celebratory and wistful, as it is the last official event of the program each year. It makes me reflect upon the depth of the connections that have developed over the past weeks—among the participants and between the participants and Fordham Law. For me, it is one of the most touching events of the year.”

The Summer Institute hopes to continue this fine tradition of fellowship and professionalism for many years to come.