Florian Roth cites several reasons for enrolling in Vanderbilt’s LL.M. program for foreign attorneys after more than three years in legal practice. As a commercial lawyer at Walder Wyss in the business hub Zurich, Switzerland, Florian found that most of his work was conducted in English.
“I worked with U.S. clients on a daily basis and 80 percent of my work was in English, but my legal education had been exclusively in German,” he said.
He also wanted to increase his understanding of U.S. corporate and contract law as well as public law. “The LL.M. gave me an opportunity to complete the circle of an international oriented education in law. Getting familiar with the conceptual foundations of U.S. law allowed me to gain a better understanding of my clients’ backgrounds and concerns,” he said.
Florian chose Vanderbilt because of its strong academic reputation and its commitment to outstanding teaching. “Vanderbilt sets itself apart from other law schools in many ways. The faculty are internationally renowned, but also approachable, and the law school has an impressive commitment to giving the students the best possible experience, including offering in-person challenges amidst the unprecedented challenges of a global pandemic,” he said.
The law school’s rigorous protocols included classrooms adapted to allow for social distancing, which enabled students to attend most classes in person. Florian appreciated the small class sizes and a teaching style he describes as “personal and hands-on—professors here happy to engage in face-to-face discussions with students, and their lectures have a strong practice perspective,” he said.
He found his classes in Corporations and Business Entities and Contracts particularly helpful. “I am often involved in international transactions with U.S. clients. A better understanding of U.S. corporate law and of the finesse of U.S. contract law makes me a more effective counsel for these clients,” he said. “Learning about a second legal culture is also enormously helpful—it forces you to reflect on the legal concepts of your own jurisdiction and improves your competence in negotiating international transactions.”
He also appreciated The Life of the Law, a one-week class J.D. and LL.M. students take together at the beginning of the academic year during Student Orientation Week. “The Life of the Law gave me helpful insights interesting insights on human cognitive biases that can be highly advantageous in all kinds of legal negotiations,” he said.
Florian found Vanderbilt’s LL.M. program demanding and academically rigorous, but also extremely rewarding. “Discussions with faculty in class were intellectually challenging in every way. The Socratic method of cold calling asks for a high degree of preparation, which, at the same time, gives the students a natural incentive to come to class well-prepared,” he said. “My Vanderbilt LL.M. has helped me understand better and in greater depth the challenges and concerns of my U.S. clients. I recommend Vanderbilt’s LL.M. program to any student that wishes to get a cutting-edge legal education from a school that is dedicated to going the ‘extra mile’ to give students an exceptional international education in law.”