Beasley School of Law’s study abroad program allows students to gain an international edge by taking their studies to Italy, at La Sapienza Law School.
This year, Beasley School of Law held its second annual Head Start program by offering a course in Introduction to American Law to both Italian law students and licensed Italian attorneys in the practice.
Many know of the numerous international programs that Temple offers at the undergraduate level in Rome, Tokyo and elsewhere. At the graduate level, similar programs of international flair are being undertaken. At Beasley, Elizabeth Turchi, who trained as an attorney in international law, directs the Head Start Program held in Rome, Italy as a joint venture between Temple Rome and La Sapienza Law School of Rome.
Turchi referred to the program as an “international outreach program,” which introduces Italian law students to American law.
“European law students go through a different path when initially starting their law career,” Turchi said. “They go straight from high school to law school, so like an American college grad, they’re both in similar age groups asking what’s next for them.”
For most European attorneys, obtaining a Masters of Law, or L.L.M. is the next logical step since, as Turchi said, it is becoming the norm in Europe. The Head Start Program promotes this option at Beasley in a unique way by sending a number of its professors to Italy for a week in the spring to teach American law to Italian senior law students. The purpose is to introduce the opportunity of going to obtain their L.L.M. from an American law school.
To further attract international lawyers to the L.L.M. program at Temple, the Head Start Program, as the name states, gives them a ‘head start’ on their L.L.M. by offering two free credit hours upon passing an exam administered by the program.
“The program has gone beyond its initial purpose of simply marketing the opportunity of Temple’s International L.L.M.,” Turchi said. “A number of internships for both American and Italian law students have come about due to the increased degree of relations that Temple now has with the Italian law community.”
The opportunities the program offers are abundant. Matthew Packard was able to attend civil hearings, sit in at the Criminal Tribunal and assisted practicing lawyers in preparing cross-border contracts.
Similarly, Brandon Bruce, a transnational L.L.M. student, interned at a law firm, attended patent and trademark prosecution hearings and plans to publish an essay on a Ninth Circuit trademark case he recently wrote.
“It affects us everyday and in ways we don’t think twice about,” attorney Matthew Wilson, who was the past senior associate dean of Temple Japan, said. “Look at your clothes, your phone, even your pens they’re all manufactured internationally under internationally based agreements according to internationally written laws.”
International attorneys with a diverse mindset become necessary to approach situations and problems in regards to production of goods, political moves and even popular entertainers finding the best way to enter their work into foreign markets.
“This is a very exciting time to be a diverse-minded and international attorney,” Turchi said.
With the connectivity in the world today through widely used tools such as Twitter and Facebook, borders are becoming less and less visible to information being shared, with action becoming simultaneously less localized and more global.
“To understand problems at large, no matter what one’s profession is, it is important to understand how the world functions from different vantage points,” Turchi said.
Turchi added that for all of Temple’s study abroad programs, “traveling, whether it be for a summer or semester abroad is the best way to learn and gain awareness of how others face problems and approach life.”
“When I look at a recent graduate’s resumé and see that they traveled abroad for some purpose, it lets me know that they’re clearly motivated about what they do,” Wilson added.
Aside from going abroad to study, Turchi noted the degree of diversity here in Philadelphia and its qualities as a “home away from home” for those Italian students who decide to study in the city.
“As an Italian-American, there have always been a number of amenities here in the city, which have been of great support for my culture such as the Italian Market, areas of South Philadelphia and there are even a number of local Italian soccer leagues in the city,” Turchi said.
Turchi said she finds that many of the Italians who visit here agree that they have found a “home away from home” in Philadelphia.
Going abroad and gaining perspective on new cultures with new ideas and experiences is clearly a beneficial route for whatever one decides to do in life. Temple, as it widely promotes, is doing this at all levels with full speed ahead in promoting diverse minds for the future.
The Head Start Program at Beasley, although young, has produced positive results bringing job opportunities for its participants.
“Business cards are an international language, and just getting them out there to the world is the first step to making your mark known,” professor and attorney Matthew Wilson said.
Robert Franklin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.