Raphaëlle Donnet chose to earn her LL.M. at Vanderbilt because of its strong Intellectual Property Program. Raphaelle learned about Vanderbilt’s LL.M. program while earning her master’s in intellectual property law at the Center for International Intellect Property Studies in Strasbourg, France. Vanderbilt makes a scholarship available to students interested in earning an LL.M. through a partnership with CEIPI. “I plan to work as an intellectual property lawyer in an international firm, and this program offered me a chance to study abroad, push my intellectual limits in an academic context, and broaden my understanding knowledge and skills in intellectual property law and in American legal culture,” she said. “I wanted to be challenged, to leave my comfort zone―and I did!”
Raphaëlle acknowledges being skeptical about law classes taught using the Socratic Method, but changed her mind after starting her classes. “I found the Socratic Method really useful,” she said. “It’s a great way to learn the law. It forces you to have a lot of self-discipline, and you gain command of the material through the class discussion and participation.”
Since she plans to practice intellectual property law, she focused on courses in Vanderbilt’s IP curriculum, including Copyright Law, Trademark Law and International Intellectual Property Law. “Vanderbilt's LLM program far exceeded my expectations in terms of the in-depth content of the courses and the intellectual rigor,” she said. “I acquired a solid foundation in trademark, copyright and international intellectual property law, but I also learned to use or think about the tools that we will probably need to equip ourselves with to meet the challenges posed by artificial intelligence and robots, as well as blockchain and quantum computing.”
Raphaëlle took a new course, Robots, Artificial Intelligence and the Law, taught by international intellectual property law expert Daniel Gervais, that she believes was particularly values. Gervais, who directs the Intellectual Property Program, designed the course to allow students to examine the challenges policy makers, regulators and lawyers face in confronting new legal challenges. “I highly recommend that course to students who want to study prospective law, think about what the law says, doesn’t say and maybe should say,” she said. She also took Law of Cyberspace, a course that examines evolving legal doctrine of the internet.
Raphaëlle liked living in Nashville, which is the state capital of Tennessee. “Nashville is the perfect size--it’s big enough to have fun and be busy all year, and it’s ideally placed for travel on the weekends,” she said. “For IP geeks, Nashville is also the home of Broadcast Music Inc., which is one of four U.S. performing rights organizations.”
She also enjoyed connecting with other LL.M. students in her class. “I connected with students from Peru, Nigeria, China and Japan, and I not only enjoyed their company, but I learned a lot from them, too,” she said.
She recommends Vanderbilt to students who want to connect with professors as part of their learning experience. “I was really amazed by the accessibility of professors in and outside of class,” she said. “Vanderbilt really supports students with a library that’s open late and on weekends, and the ‘legal English’ summer course was very useful. I particularly appreciate the continuous and logical progression of each course from theory to practical implications and lawyering strategies.”