German Student Who Participated in our Leipzig Exchange Program


Valentin Pfisterer, a visiting scholar at Miami Law who hails from Germany, has made a library carousel his main office as he works to complete his Ph.D. thesis. Pfisterer's dissertation is concerned with the juncture at which European Corporate Law and European Constitutional Law meet.

"The main question asks how corporations can counter E.U. legislation that obliges them to disclose certain information concerning their business, such as financial records and balance sheets, to actual or potential competitors and the general public. It goes further and questions how they can counter these obligations by invoking European fundamental rights and questioning the authority of the E.U. in issuing such legislation," Pfisterer explained.

During his time at Miami Law he intends to research U.S. Corporate Law and U.S. Constitutional Law in order to add a corresponding American perspective to his thesis.

Pfisterer first became acquainted with Miami Law in early 2007 when he participated in the Leipzig-Miami Seminar. The first Miami Law-Leipzig exchange took place in 2001 and aspires to teach students about both countries' public and private international law systems, provide opportunities to discuss current legal issues on both sides and enhance the understanding of both German and U.S. perspectives. The program also hopes to build lasting relationships with European students. In Pfisterer's case it was Professor David Abraham who helped pave his way back to Miami Law.

Looking back, he recalls that the most impressive aspect about his time in Miami – apart from the beaches, the weather and the architecture – was the very different approach U.S. students applied to the same questions.

"Whereas a European student would approach it in one way – much more formal, sticking to the letter of the law – the U.S. student would take advantage of additional outside information, like their general knowledge, personal experiences, and their analysis of law," Pfisterer said.

Pfisterer graduated from the University of Leipzig in February of 2010, and took a research position at the Max Plank Institute in Heidelberg under Professor Von Bogandy, the director for comparative public law and international law.

Pfisterer will be returning to Heidelberg in late December. Once he has finished polishing his thesis, he will submit it to two professors for statements and then present and defend his thesis. Though unsure of where he will go next, Pfisterer is very optimistic. "Everything is possible after I've finished the thesis," he said.