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UC Law SF students can jet across oceans and study the law in Madrid, Tokyo or Tel Aviv. They can spend summers working at humanitarian aid agencies in Rome or Switzerland, and they can interact with foreign students and visiting scholars from across the planet.
The law school’s office of Global Programs, which makes these opportunities possible, has a new leader this year. Binyamin Blum, who joined UC Law SF faculty in 2018, will serve as associate dean of Global Programs. His office oversees the school’s LLM, study abroad, student exchange, visiting foreign scholar and international internship stipend programs.
“My primary goal and vision for our Global Programs is to expand and diversify our geographic reach and develop further partnerships in parts of the world where we do not yet have them or where we have fewer collaborations (specifically Africa, South Asia, Latin America),” Blum said.
A native of Israel who studied law at Stanford University, Blum has first-hand experience as an international student, “I bring a deep understanding of the experience of foreign students.” Blum also taught foreign law students at Stanford and oversaw a foreign exchange program at Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Blum’s office oversees UC Law SF’ LLM program, a one-year master’s in law degree for foreign students. LLM students can specialize in one of eight fields, including criminal law, environmental law, and health law. Last year, 24 LLM students came from 11 different countries. Blum said, “We provide our international students with a comprehensive training in U.S. law, while they in turn provide our students — and faculty — with a comparative, critical view of the U.S. legal system.”
Global Programs also coordinates a visiting foreign scholar program, which has invited academics from China, Korea and Denmark to research topics including jury systems, human rights, environmental law, and intellectual property. Additionally, the office of Global Programs organizes lectures and conferences on international legal issues.
This summer, UC Law SF student Kyle Da Silva, J.D. ’23, is working at the UN International Organization for Migration in Geneva, Switzerland, where he reviews contracts with foreign governments and other UN agencies. He said the experience has opened his eyes to career options he hadn’t considered before. The internship wouldn’t have been possible without a stipend from UC Law SF Global Programs, Da Silva said, “There’s no way I could afford to live in Geneva and not get paid.”
Da Silva will also spend next year studying European Union law in Paris. His tuition at Panthéon-Assas University Paris II is fully covered by a UC Law SF merit-based scholarship. The 3L student said he’s excited to learn about a different legal system and how it compares to the U.S.
UC Law SF has relationships with more than 17 foreign law schools, which are “among the top law schools in the world,” Blum said. “They send us their brightest students, who enrich our classroom discussion. Our Global Programs make UC Law SF the international institution that it is–and strives to be.”
Blum’s predecessor, Keith Hand, who oversaw Global Programs since 2016, will become director of the Center for East Asian Legal Studies, formerly the East Asian Legal Studies Program. Hand said, “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to deepen UC Law SF’ commitment to the study of legal development in Asia.”
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