Leipzig-Miami Seminar


The Leipzig seminar is inspired by the long standing tradition of US-German friendship and scholarly exchange. The first UM Law-Leipzig exchange took place in 2001 at The University of Leipzig when Professor Richard Williamson was a Fulbright Professor there.

Although the U.S. and Germany share fundamental ideas of freedom and democracy as well as civil and human rights, the two countries' legal systems and societies feature significant differences. The program has been expanded and now includes both locales each year and always receives rave reviews from participants. The goals of this seminar are to:

  • Learn about each other's public and private international law systems
  • Discuss recent legal problems on both sides of the Atlantic
  • Improve the understanding of both German and U.S. points of view

Current faculty advisors for the program are Professor Emeritus David Abraham, Professor Felix Mormann, and Professor Richard Williamson.

Students and teachers from both faculties meet twice a year (January in Miami and May in Leipzig) to discuss ten topics, revolving around pairs of presentations by one participant from each side. Although academics are an essential part of the seminar, it is not the only part. At least one day is reserved for social and cultural events organized by the inviting faculty.


Miami Law students must participate in two sessions (January and May) and make an oral presentation in each session on one of ten pre-selected topics of controversy or major difference in perspective between the U.S. and Europe. The other side is presented by selected law students from the University of Leipzig. Presentations and discussions are in English. Miami Law Faculty is invited to participate here and Leipzig faculty there. All students are active participants throughout the sessions and for all presentations.


Students receive 2 credits for taking part in this program and will be enrolled in a two credit workshop for the Spring semester. To receive credit for the program, students are required to participate actively and complete a short paper (up to 10 pages) for the workshop. The program can also be used to fulfill the upper level writing requirement by taking an additional credit (under supervision of the program faculty) and writing a substantially longer paper on a workshop-related topic.


The Leipzig students will come to Miami in January and Miami Law students will travel to Leipzig in May.


All J.D. and L.L.M. students are eligible, but the timing and need for relevant background make it particularly appropriate for 2Ls. The program is limited to a maximum of ten students plus two alternates. No knowledge of German is required. Students are selected based on:

  • Overall GPA
  • Preparation and grades in relevant law school courses such as international and comparative law
  • Past experience in international affairs through foreign residence and travel, competitions, work, military or Peace Corps service
  • Undergraduate and graduate education
  • Scholarly writing


For the Leipzig program, students contribute half of the travel cost and any increased cost their personal travel plans might entail. The two sponsoring universities cover the rest of the travel expense, lodging, most meals, entertainment, and many incidental costs.