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Lawyers may find that it’s a small world after all in the 21st century — at least from the standpoint of business and commerce. When the local grocer imports chocolates from Belgium or coffee from Colombia, he’s likely to turn to his lawyer to draft the contracts and to handle any disputes that may arise over those transactions, says Jorge Ramirez, a professor at Texas Tech University School of Law. Even lawyers in small towns need to be prepared, he says. “In the 21st century, it’s going to be almost impossible for a lawyer not to be touched by an international transaction of some sort,” says Ramirez, who oversees the law school’s international programs. The law school continues to expand its international programs to provide students opportunities to learn the laws governing business transactions in different parts of the world. “We feel that is definitely an important part of the law school’s curriculum,” says Ramirez. Frank Newton, dean of the law school, says the programs are designed to help students prepare for the increasing legal business resulting from the North American Free Trade Agreement and the World Trade Organization. One of the newest additions to Texas Tech’s international offerings is an exchange program with the Universidad Pablo de Olavide in Seville, Spain. Beginning in the spring semester of 2002, two Texas law school students will study at the Spanish university and two students from Spain will travel to Lubbock, Texas, to study, Newton says. Faculty from the two institutions also will participate in the exchange. Newton says that two Spanish professors visited Texas Tech last summer, and the law school will send professors to the university in Spain beginning next year, he says. Ramirez says the Texas students will be able to take elective courses in international business transactions, public international law, European Union law, human rights law and other subjects — all taught in Spanish. A student must be able to speak Spanish to qualify for the semester-long program, he says. Newton says being able to speak another language will make Texas lawyers more competitive internationally. English-speaking lawyers from other countries have been successful in the competition for legal work by capitalizing on their language skills, he says. Studying at the Spanish institution also will afford the Texas Tech law students an opportunity to learn about a civil law country, Newton says. The United States and England are among only a few countries that have a common law system. In a civil law system, Newton says, concepts such as precedent and stare decisis do not apply because the courts’ only duty is to resolve disputes. All laws are made by legislative bodies, he says. The exchange program with the Spanish university is just one of several international programs in which Texas Tech law students can participate. Ramirez says 23 students have signed up to attend the Summer Law Institute at Universidad de Guanajuato in Mexico. The summer program is sponsored by Texas Tech law school and the law schools at the University of New Mexico and Southwestern University in Los Angeles. The institute enables students to learn about international law and gives them an opportunity to see the country and its customs through the eyes of their Mexican law professors, Ramirez says. That way, the students not only learn about the law but also about the culture of the country, he says. “This makes our students more valuable,” Ramirez says. Ramirez says students who participate in the institute will attend classes for four weeks and then spend two weeks working for a Mexican law firm, judge or state agency, earning law school credits for their experience. Texas Tech law school also has exchange programs with other Mexican institutions and the University of Lyon in France, Ramirez says. The programs benefit students even if they’re unable to take courses in other countries, he says. Ramirez notes as an example that having two French exchange students at Texas Tech provides the law school’s students a foreign perspective that they wouldn’t have otherwise. “It adds a richness to our programs here in Lubbock to have international students in our classes working with our students,” he says.

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