For several years, the William & Mary Law School has been welcoming judges, lawyers and other legal professionals from around the world to its Williamsburg, Virginia, campus as international scholars-in-residence.
The current class of scholars has 14 members: eight from Korea, five from China and one from Japan. They come from an array of backgrounds. Members of this year's class include six judges, four professors, one lawyer, one legal affairs officer, one Ph.D. candidate and one police officer.
"These visiting scholars enhance the global nature of our Law School and provide our faculty, staff, and students more opportunities to engage with international legal professionals," said Jennifer S. Stevenson, associate director of the LL.M. Program and a member of the legal writing faculty.
As part of the program, scholars enjoy library privileges, may audit up to two courses per semester and are welcome to engage in the intellectual life of the Law School through lectures, symposia and other events.
This year's scholars enjoyed an opportunity during fall semester to visit a courtroom for a day and observe jury selection for a murder trial. The Hon. Wilford Taylor, Jr., J.D. '78, chief judge of the Hampton Circuit Court and an adjunct professor at the Law School, served as presiding judge. For most of the scholars, the proceedings were a novel experience; jury trials have only recently been introduced in Korea, China and Japan for criminal cases. Judge Chang Hyeon Kim said it was valuable to "see a real criminal court proceeding and hear explanations from the judge."
After spending fall semester at William & Mary, the scholars had many positive things to say about their experiences. Professor Chihwan Kim said that the Law School offers "very nice facilities, including a wonderful library, and very kind and intelligent faculty members and staff." Young-Suk Song, a legal affairs officer, said he has enjoyed being part of a school that has rich traditions. "Walking through the beautiful, historic campus" has been a highlight for Young-Suk Kim, an attorney, who said she appreciated the location of the Law School for the ease of travel it offers to other places in the eastern United States. Judge Chang Hyeon Kim said he enjoyed the collegiality of William & Mary's faculty and administrators, and appreciated program activities such as the orientation to the Law School, English conversation classes and courtroom visits.
People interested in applying to become international scholars-in-residence at William & Mary Law School should visit the program website for more information.