NYU Law Students at NYU Shanghai

“Having a global emphasis on law education is crucial as the world is becoming increasingly interconnected and business becomes more globalized,” said Gracie Smith, one of the second-year law students in the program, when she sat down with OCA Writer Billy Chan.

Five students from the NYU School of Law come to NYU Shanghai during the spring semester. In addition to having the opportunity to study in the perpetually growing city of Shanghai, this one semester law program is unique in that students learn from NYUSH and Fudan University professors.

“Having a global emphasis on law education is crucial as the world is becoming increasingly interconnected and business becomes more globalized,” said Gracie Smith, one of the second-year law students in the program. Current law schools in the United States tend to only focus on American law. However, the future of business transactions and law in Asia is growing rapidly, which attracted Smith to this program. As a student already exposed to many international experiences away from the United States such as in Southeast Asia and Uganda, she believes that this experience will propel her studies in International Law.

Students in this program tend to have a lot of international experience. Another student John Ruth has spent time as an English to Mandarin translator for the US military, in addition to several previous trips to China and Taiwan have primed him for this program. He believes this program is a perfect fit for him, in being able to continue his interests with the Chinese language and culture along with advancing his plans for a future career in Chinese legal affairs.

The classes and type of work at the Shanghai campus differs from the New York campus in that the New York workload there is extremely focused around final exams. In Shanghai, they can expect to write more papers over the semester. Of course, both require lots of hard work and dedication, but Ruth says that it’s more refreshing to be able to speak freely in class and on paper rather than just memorize and recite a bunch of stuff for exams. The students take around six classes covering topics such as international arbitration or investments in developing countries, all with some emphasis on globalization or Chinese practices in mind. Besides the law classes, students are required to take a class to develop their Chinese abilities. The other key difference between the two campuses is that all of the professors teaching in the program are concurrently practicing law themselves; this allows for more thought and focus on the real applications of law rather than just studying the theoretical. “It’s nice to listen to academics talk hypotheticals sometimes, but it’s simply more engaging to learn and experience real law in practice,” Ruth said.

Smith places extra importance on experience and engagement as integral learning factors for the students here. “All the trips such as going to the Pudong Special Free Trade Zone Court that the programmers coordinate give us a better grasp on how legal affairs function here,” Smith said. While visiting all of these places are interesting and practical for them, she still wishes that the program allowed them to be able to audit a class at Fudan University since there are students there that learn with the group at NYUSH. “The program has arranged so many great opportunities for us so far and that’s great, but I would really like to see just what it’s like inside a Chinese law class, even though language might be an issue,” Smith said.

Smith and Ruth both positively rate their experiences here so far. One final aspect that really sets apart the campus here (but perhaps the most important) is the limited number of students. This allows for a less cut-throat atmosphere than New York and more space to actually bond and work together. Both students agree that the law program here supports this cooperativeness and encourages more social interactions.

If you have any further questions, they encourage you to contact them and ask away:
Gracie – (WeChat: gracielu1112 /// Email: egs316@nyu.edu)
John – (WeChat: joru888 /// Email: jrr552@nyu.edu)

This article was written by Billy Chan. Please send an email to managing@oncenturyavenue.com to get in touch.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Gracie Smith

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