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Summer Experiences Expand Student Horizons

August 13, 2010

This summer approximately 95 USF law students traveled the world for internship and study opportunities.

Working with NGOs, law offices, and government agencies, 38 students participated in international internships.

Brian Raynor 2L, who interned in Vietnam, said that the research he worked on during his internship allowed him to engage with the law and get a feel for the burgeoning Vietnamese legal system. Raynor was struck by how similar much of Vietnamese legislation is to American law, but said that socialist objectives are still present.

USF law students in Bilbao, Spain.

“To enter into a contract in Vietnam, the parties must have capacity to contract, the objectives of the contract must not contravene the law, and offer and acceptance must be voluntary—all notions that American law students learn in a first year contracts course,” he said. “However, there is a requirement that the terms of the contract not contravene ‘social morals,’ adding a high degree of subjectivity to whether a given contract can be enforced.”

Internship locations and directors include Professor Jack Garvey, Bangalore, India; Professor Dolores Donovan, Beijing, China; Adjunct Professor John E. Lynch, Bilbao, Spain; Professor John Adler, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Professor Jesse Markham, Hanoi, Vietnam; and Professor Dolores Donovan, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Students also studied the Cambodian genocide in a course led by Adjunct Professor Howard De Nike in Phnom Penh.

“It's hard to describe the strangeness, slight disorientation, and relative oddity of daily life here in Cambodia,” Cambodia Genocide course participant Paige Fowler 2L said.

USF legal interns in Beijing, China.

Fowler said that while her afternoons were filled with wanderlust, her mornings were busy with intensive classroom and fieldwork. Students visited the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC); Tuol Sleng Security Prison 21; the Killing Fields; and the Victims Unit of the ECCC (a U.N. affiliate office).

Guided by Professor Dolores Donovan and Nicole Phillips ’99, four students participated in an academic program that included one week of study in Haiti and three students worked in San Francisco on a paid research program focused on Haiti.

In Dublin, Ireland, and Prague, Czech Republic, students lived abroad while studying the law in courses taught by Professor Julie Nice, Director of Human Rights Programs Michelle Leighton, Professor Robert Talbot, Director of Advocacy Programs and Assistant Professor Henri Brown, and Adjunct Professor Mark Tuft.

Kate Emminger 2L wrote on the USF International Law Society blog about a class discussion in Dublin on the difference between human rights and civil rights.

“The right to self-determination, now so universally recognized, had to evolve into a civil right,” Emminger said. “But as Ireland has illustrated, the right always existed as a human right—which is why centuries of people have risen against oppressive governments and demanded the right to rule their own peoples.”

Closer to home, six USF law students participated in the Keta Taylor Colby Death Penalty Project defending death row inmates in the American South.

To read more about student summer experiences, visit the USF International Law Society blog.