Regular blog readers know how I feel about volunteers — I love them!  Especially volunteer blog writers.  Here, interim LLM program director (and LLM alum) Hyejin Park, follows up on her first post with a run-down of fall semester out-of-class activities for LLM students.

I can’t believe it’s already the end of the semester!  It’s always with mixed feelings that I find myself at this time of the year – relief at making it to the end, combined with bittersweet feelings at having to let go of another piece of my life, especially if that piece is filled with so many exciting memories.  In this sense, December does seem to be a time of major transition, as well as of thanksgiving.

Finishing off the fall semester, the LLM class had several more out-of-class activities.  One of them was our third High Table, featuring Andrew Loewenstein, partner at Foley Hoag LLP’s Boston office.  As someone with an extensive experience in international litigation and arbitration, including disputes involving public international law, he was in an excellent position to comment on the topic of “Representing Sovereign States before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and Other International Courts and Tribunals.”  Since his perspective was that of a counsel and advocate in these proceedings, he focused on providing the behind-the-scenes views as to what litigating international disputes involves in practice.  The class got to hear all about the strategic and tactical decisions that go into conceiving, planning, and proving the parties’ claims and defenses, which is an enlightening subject for any international lawyer, and certainly for our LLM students.

Another event took us to downtown Boston, for a November visit to the Massachusetts government.  We combined our visits to all three branches of the state government in a day’s trip, as the John Adams Courthouse is adjacent to the State House, home to both the state legislature and the Governor’s Office.  Fittingly for a field trip, a classic yellow school bus took us to our first destination, which was the State House.

Guided by Anthony, the State House tour director, the members of our LLM class from 13 different countries had a glimpse of how a state legislature and executive work under the U.S. federal system, including how state laws are made and how they interact with federal and international laws.  Students also had a chance to expand on the comparative insight when they sat down with our local representatives, Senator Patricia Jehlen and Representative Paul Donato, to hear more about state legislative activities.

Our next stop was the John Adams Courthouse, home to the Supreme Judicial Court (the state’s highest appellate court) and the Massachusetts Appeals Court (the state’s intermediate appellate court).  Here, our gracious host was the Honorable Robert Cordy, Associate Justice of the SJC and also a member of the Fletcher LLM Program’s Advisory Council.  He personally took the class on a guided tour of the Courthouse, sharing all the fascinating stories behind each corner of the architecture.  He even let our LLM students sit on the seats of the seven Justices of the SJC!

Thanks to our welcoming hosts, our very international LLM class was fortunate to have the chance to get a little more acquainted with the fascinating Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which is at once steeped in history and very much forward-looking.  Back on campus, my best wishes to all, and congratulations to the LLM students on the conclusion of the first half of their academic year!

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