How good is Santa Clara University

USA: LL.M. studies at Santa Clara University in Santa Clara / California

SCU - California's oldest university. The University of Santa Clara (SCU) is a smaller, private university in the heart of Silicon Valley, just under 40 miles from San Francisco. It was founded by Jesuits in 1851 and celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2001. Around 7,300 students currently populate the campus. Approximately 900 aspiring lawyers study at the law school, which was established in 1912.

As it should be for a university in Silicon Valley, the Law School is fully networked and technologically up-to-date. All places in the classrooms and in the library have power and internet connections, because the laptop is a constant companion of the professors and Students. The exams can also be written here on the laptop for a long time. In addition, three well-equipped computer labs are available in the library. All students receive unrestricted access to the legal information services "LEXIS" and "WESTLAW" and are trained in the use of the systems. The library is well stocked and rare titles can be found quickly from other universities' holdings (such as Stanford and Berkeley). The Law School buildings are located in the middle of the palm-covered campus, on the site of a former Spanish mission with a beautiful church and beautiful gardens.

In 2001, the Law School received the Law School Racial and Ethnic Diversity Award for its efforts to create a student body in which the different ethnic groups are represented and is one of the top ten American law schools. An LL.M. program for foreign lawyers has existed for about five years. The number of participants in the last years was between 15 and 20 students from all over the world. In my group there were students from different European countries as well as students from South America, India, Hong Kong, Japan and Korea. Tuition fees are currently $ 24,000.

The LL.M. course - with EMPHASIS. The LL.M. program extends - as usual - over two semesters and begins in July with an introductory course that provides an insight into the systematics of American law and the most important areas of law (including contract law, unlawful acts, constitutional law, procedural law, etc.) conveyed. If you don't have a full year to familiarize yourself with American law, you can just attend this five-week event. From the fall semester, which begins at the end of August, the participants in the LL.M. program study together with the American JD students ("JD" stands for Juris Doctor; the degree after three years of law studies is roughly comparable to the first state examination) . LL.M. students are largely free to choose the lectures. Attending a lecture on international law or a comparative law event is required. With the exception of the compulsory courses for J.D. students in the first year of study, all lectures and seminars are open to LL.M. students, in some cases they are even given preferential treatment in order to guarantee them a place in the desired event. The range of courses is constantly updated and is so diverse that it is difficult to choose. Fortunately, at the beginning of the semester you can “try it out” in the various events and exchange courses.

A total of 24 credits must be acquired for the Master Legum, with the introductory course being assessed with three credits and the thesis (the final thesis) with four credits. The thesis is usually written in the spring semester and consists of scientific research and elaboration on a freely chosen topic. The students are supported by a professor whom they can choose themselves.

Many participants choose Santa Clara because they get the LL.M. with a special focus, the so-called emphasis. The prerequisite is that the selected lectures and seminars correspond to the desired focus area. Only an examination from another area can be submitted. There is currently a focus on “High-Tech Law” and “International Law” to choose from. The director of the program, professor George Alexander, has announced that further focus areas will soon be added ( I decided to focus on high-tech law and among other things. Lectures in copyright, patent law, license contract law and internet law attended. The legal aspects of the new technologies are an area in which the Law School specializes and in which it has extensive specialist knowledge to offer. It is positive that great emphasis is placed on conveying the subject matter as practically as possible. Problems that the lawyer or corporate counsel face in their daily work are regularly pointed out in lectures. In the seminars, counseling and negotiation situations are simulated and played through, e.g. B. the legal advice of start-up companies or e-commerce beginners.

The range of courses is supplemented by lectures and discussions with practitioners from law firms and legal departments. These "Lunch Speeches" are organized by various associations such as the American Civil Liberties Union, Intellectual Property Association or International Law Students Association, to name just a few, and take place - as the name suggests - between noon and 1 pm instead of.

The Faculty of the Law School consists of committed professors and a number of highly qualified practitioners as the so-called adjunct faculty. The internationally known personalities include: B. Professor Donald Chisum and professor David Friedmann. professor Chisum is a globally recognized expert on patent law and author of the 15-volume commentary "Chisum on Patents". In addition, the Law School tries to attract respected visiting professors from all over the world every year. In 2001, among others, professor Teruo Doi from Waseda University, Tokyo (, the Europe Expert Professor Bernhard Schloh and professor Michael Lehmann from the University of Munich (

The SCU High-Tech Law Program - among the top ten. The Law School is rightly particularly proud of its high-tech law program: In the field of Intellectual Property Law, it has been one of the top ten American law schools (most recently 8th place) in the national ranking of US News for years and it certainly does measure against the big "sisters" Berkeley and Stanford, which is quite remarkable for the much smaller university in comparison. The High-Tech Law Office oversees the extensive range of courses and also organizes international expert conferences, e.g. B. the "Intellectual Property Week", which takes place annually in March, and conferences on current topics such as nanotechnology, biotechnology, Internet law and advertising. A Masters in Intellectual Property Law has been offered since the 2001 academic year - but only for J.D. students.

Summer Study Abroad Program - SCU in Germany. The Law School's Institute of International and Comparative Law holds events abroad every summer. The destinations include Oxford, Geneva, Hong Kong and Tokyo (information on the complete range at In addition to first-class courses, which are usually carried out in cooperation with the universities on site, internships are also possible. B. possible in law firms. The summer schools usually last five weeks; tuition fees are around $ 2,800.

The Law School comes to Germany every summer for a particularly interesting program: under the direction of a professor Chisum the "Summer School on International and Comparative Intellectual Property, Patent and High-Technology Law" will then take place in Munich, in cooperation with the Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU) and the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Patent, Copyright and competition law. German students can also apply for free places. I took part in the summer school in 2000 and can only recommend the course: The summer school offers a unique opportunity to get to know American law and at the same time to learn about the current state of German and European intellectual property law. The event deals with patent, copyright and trademark law, there were also lectures on European competition law, the World Intellectual Property Organization and much more. The whole thing is rounded off with visits to BMW, the European Patent Office, the Max Planck Institute for foreign and international patent, copyright and competition law and a large 4th of July party. The language of instruction is English. Become a professor at the lectures Chisum supported by lawyers from renowned Munich law firms, professors from the LMU, employees of the Max Planck Institute and other top-class guest speakers. The credits acquired in the process - there is a final examination - are fully recognized as part of the LL.M. course.

The American working world - internships and networking. Thanks to its special location in the heart of Silicon Valley, the university has excellent contacts with the high-tech companies located there. Many graduates work in the legal departments of these companies or in the local law firms and form a solid network from which the LL.M. students also benefit. Through an internship program, I found an internship in the legal department of such a high-tech company and was then offered the opportunity to continue working there. That's how I got to know the American world of work, a valuable addition to the academic curriculum. Of course, the University's Law Career Center helps LL.M. students write American-style applications and résumés, and has a range of events and information to get in touch with potential employers.

The Bay Area - Sightseeing. In addition to consistently beautiful weather, South Bay also has many attractions to offer. The coastline from Mendocino to Monterey to Big Sur, the wine-growing regions around Napa and Sonoma, the national parks and of course the famous Lake Tahoe are suitable destinations for weekend trips. A detour to San Francisco is always worthwhile. There are also nice pubs and good restaurants in the neighboring cities of Palo Alto, San José and Los Gatos. The university has good connections to the bus network and the train (Caltrain), but you still need a car from time to time to get around the vast Bay Area. Important: When it comes to security, you don't have to worry in Santa Clara and the surrounding area.

My conclusion. The stay in Santa Clara far exceeded my expectations. I was able to design the LL.M. course according to my interests and was supported by the law school and the director of the program whenever possible. I particularly appreciated the cooperation with the American students, the practical relevance of the training and the relaxed but at the same time demanding atmosphere at the law school. I learned to find my way around the American legal system and was able to experience the fast-paced Silicon Valley in the exciting transition between megaboom and downturn. These eventful twelve months were the best investment in my professional and personal development.

If you are planning an LL.M. degree in the USA and are interested in industrial property rights and information technology law, you should definitely inform yourself about the offers of the University of Santa Clara ( Information on the LL.M. Program and summer schools there Marcie Roberts (Email:).

Ass. Jur. Nicole Staub, Munich