The Leipzig-Miami Seminar, which is dedicated to increasing U.S.-German friendship and scholarly exchange, successfully completed its 13th year at Miami Law last week. The exchange program, begun in 2001 by Professors Richard Williamson and David Abraham, is a two-credit program in which students from the University of Leipzig and the University of Miami learn about each other's public and private international law systems and discuss recent legal problems on both sides of the Atlantic.
Students and teachers from both universities meet twice a year – in Miami in January, and in Leipzig in May – to discuss ten topics that revolve around presentations by the students.
"Even in its second decade, the UM-Leipzig Exchange Seminar retains a freshness and energy that makes it the envy of academic program planners on both sides of the Atlantic," Professor Abraham said. "Take two dozen law students and half a dozen law professors, have them exchange and debate often-controversial laws and practices day and night for the better part of a week – without sleep – twice a year, supply ample food and beverage, opera, basketball, BMWs and alligators, and you have a sure-fire recipe for engagement, learning and fun."
The students discussed freedom of speech and global religious sensitivities, the changing roles of shareholders, group damage litigation, financing of legal services, humanitarian intervention, anti-discrimination and affirmative action, comparative remedies for breach of contract, disciplining of lawyers, religion and religious symbols, and legal status and activities of political parties.
In addition to the academics, the Leipzig-Miami Seminar also includes social and cultural events organized by the faculty. Last week, students attended dinners at local restaurants, as well as a professional basketball game. "It's very high energy and everyone learns a lot about their own country as well as the other," Professor Abraham said.
Many Miami Law students who have taken part in the program have gone on to work in countries such as France, Spain and Germany.