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Hastings College of the Law‘s clinical and public interest courses led Kate Orlovsky to move from Boston to San Francisco five years ago to study law. But it was the school’s array of international study programs — which Hastings has been significantly expanding in recent years — that helped determine the course of her career. Since earning her J.D. and LL.M. in 2007, Orlovsky has done consulting work for a number of international non-governmental organizations. In the fall, she will start at Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice, a human rights organization at The Hague, Netherlands, as a full-time legal officer. Study abroad programs are booming at Bay Area law schools, and for some of the same reasons such offerings have long been popular with undergraduates. School officials say law students are increasingly interested in global careers, and see studying abroad as a way to further differentiate themselves when searching for a job in highly competitive niches. “The field I’m in — a narrow focus on international criminal justice — is very small. The jobs don’t come around very often,” Orlovsky said. “You get work through being at the right place at the right time, and being very, very flexible.” In the spring of 2005, Orlovsky traveled briefly to Haiti with a delegation of about 15 Hastings students and faculty for an exchange of lectures at a law school there. Later that year, she moved to London for a year-long Hastings study abroad program at the School of Oriental and African Studies, which focuses on law in developing countries. There’s a growing number of students like Orlovsky taking advantage of Hastings’ study abroad programs, according to Joel Paul, international law professor and the school’s director of international programs. “What we’re finding is that a very significant proportion of students coming to Hastings are interested in careers in international business and international law,” he said. Six years ago, the school had one study abroad program, Paul said. Now it offers 11 in Australia, Latin America, China and Europe, including new additions in Germany, France and Italy. One at the Free University of Berlin will be taught in German and is focused on comparative law. Another at the University of Paris will offer both a year-long European commercial law course and a semester of French law studies. At a third, at the International University of Torino, Italy, students will study political economy. Some allow a student to earn an LL.M. as well as a J.D. In 2000, the school sent about eight students abroad. “We’re now sending close to 50 overseas,” said Paul, who mentioned there are hopes to eventually add more programs, in Kyoto, Beijing and Dublin. Like Orlovsky, many participants decide to work abroad after studying outside the United States. “We have a number of students who just never come home,” Paul said. “It’s a life-changing experience.” GLOBAL AMBITIONS Hastings isn’t the only Bay Area law school that’s increased its foreign offerings. Santa Clara University School of Law favors shorter summer stints, although it offers a few semester exchange programs with schools in Europe and Asia, said David Sloss, director of the school’s Center for Global Law and Policy. The school runs 13 summer programs in 17 countries around the world, up from seven programs five years ago, he said. Many include internships with local law firms or organizations like a criminal tribunal in Cambodia. “At this point, we’re done expanding for a while,” Sloss said. “We’ve probably got as many as we can handle — it’s a big administrative operation.” University of San Francisco School of Law also integrates summer legal studies with internships in Dublin, Budapest, Prague and several other locations. Programs in India and Vietnam were launched in the past academic year, and the school is working on developing semester-long programs in India, Hong Kong and China, according to Dolores Donovan, the school’s director of international programming. The summer program approach appealed to USF first-year Robin Bennett, who liked the flexibility of combining international, human rights and business studies. With an adopted daughter from Ethiopia, Bennett is embarking on a second career that incorporates her business consulting background with the law. A former senior consultant at Netscape Communications Corp., Bennett hopes to work in developing countries. She recently returned from a summer in Bangalore, India, where she worked as a law clerk at FoxMandal Little, one of India’s largest law firms. The study abroad program involved one week of classes introducing Indian law and a tea with India judges, followed by four weeks of writing memos and purchase-and-supply agreements for the firm’s partners. “India has some very strict guidelines, not allowing international law firms [to open] there,” said Bennett, who hopes her stint there will help set her resume apart. “Without USF, it would’ve been very difficult to get that experience.” Hastings graduate Jason Hepps not only met his wife in the international studies program at Hastings, he launched a career in humanitarian work when he was done. Hepps, who earned his J.D. in 2004, studied at London’s SOAS, which he calls the school of hyper-specialty. “It’s very well known in the U.N. circles and in developing-world circles,” he said on the phone from Liberia, where he is currently working for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. His wife, Laura Cunial, who was an exchange student from Italy, runs a legal assistance program for the Norwegian Refugee Council that helps people with land and property disputes, a major issue in Liberia. Hepps said he graduated with about $75,000 in debt, which he consolidated into a 30-year plan. His salary, after taxes, is about $75,000, plus hazard pay. “My expenses are quite low, so I’m able to save 50 percent of my salary,” said Hepps, who now lives in the country’s capital, Monrovia. “When I was living in the bush, there was nothing to buy.” Santa Clara law student Cole Shaner, who’s entering his second year, spent this summer studying in Singapore and South Korea, where he also interned at Kim & Chang, a firm with hundreds of lawyers. He said he’d recommend the experience to anyone who doesn’t have a high-paying internship in the United States. “I chose to study abroad because I have always been interested in working abroad, and also because I knew it would be more helpful for my career than most options available to first-year students in the States,” he said in an e-mail. Students also reported drawbacks to studying abroad. Hastings student David Takacs, who spent the past year in London studying environmental law and policy making, said that he missed some constitutional and administrative law courses and certain Bar prep classes that students typically take in their third year. Also, London was “catastrophically expensive,” he said. Still, the trade-off was worth it. He developed an expertise in environmental law, from the developing-country perspective. “You get two degrees for the price of one,” Takacs said. “That seemed too good to miss.”

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