2021 Global Field ​Study Courses

Apply today -- Deadline to apply is January 18

Due to anticipated ongoing travel restrictions caused by COVID-19, the School of Law is modifying its field courses. Two (Israel and Iceland) are being offered with no travel. One (Cayman Islands) is currently planned to include travel, but a final decision will be made as to whether travel will be included by January 25, 2021. If travel is canceled, Zoom will be used for these courses to engage with relevant resource people. 

Field Course Application, Add, and Drop Deadlines

  • For 2Ls: You should select a full load of classes and add the 0.5 to that load for the spring segment of the field course. Final application deadline will be Monday, January 18, 2021.
  • For 1Ls: Application deadline is January 18, 2021. If accepted, you will add the 0.5 course to your spring courses before January 22, the last day to add classes.
  • February 1 is the last day to drop classes should you change your mind.

Course Structure and Credit Hours

  • Two 2 credit courses with no travel:
    • Iceland
    • Israel
  • One 2 (no travel) to 3 (travel) credit course with travel possible:
    • Cayman Islands
    • Final decision will be made as to whether travel will be included by January 25, 2021
FOR COURSES WITHOUT TRAVEL (Iceland and Israel):
Two courses will be offered as follows for a total of 2 credits over the Spring 2021 and Fall 2021 as follows:
Spring 2021:  0.5 credit
Fall 2021: 1.5 credit with meetings scheduled for either the week of May 10 or May 17 to engage with in-country resource persons in lieu of travel. The balance of the course including preparation of a final group paper will take place in person or by Zoom in September and October.

Iceland:  Comparative Criminal Law Practices

Course Name and Number: Global Lawyering: Comparative Criminal Law Practices (Iceland) (Online), LAW-7830-601
Faculty: Professor Cynthia Alkon and Professor Meg Penrose
Theme: Comparative Criminal Law Practices
Course Description:
Students are invited to join Professors Alkon and Penrose in studying comparative criminal law practices between the United States and Iceland. This class will discuss the similarities and differences between Icelandic criminal law practice and our own. The topics may include: differing law enforcement practices; differing or similar roles for prosecutors; the role and availability of defense lawyers; rehabilitation v. punishment in criminal sentencing practices; use of restorative justice; and the impact of racism in a diverse society v. practices in a more homogenous country. In addition, we anticipate discussing the different approaches to legal reform, including Iceland’s recent inclusive efforts to write a new Constitution. The Black Lives Matter movement in the United States includes calls for systemic legal reform that share some commonality with the constitutional process in Iceland—including street protests. We will evaluate the distinctions, trying to discern if there are Icelandic practices that might be useful models for reform in the United States.
Group Project:
Students will work towards a final project outlining suggested reforms to one or more aspect of the U.S. criminal legal system, including the legislative process, at the state level or in the federal system, including possible pilot projects, based on practices observed/studied in Iceland.

Israel:  Solar Power, Wastewater Treatment, and Agriculture

Course Name and Number: Global Lawyering: Solar Power, Wastewater Treatment, and Agriculture (Israel) (Online), LAW-7830-603
Faculty: Professor Gabriel Eckstein and Professor Nancy Welsh
Theme: Solar Power, Wastewater Treatment, and Agriculture
Course Description and Group Project:
In collaboration with Dr. Clive Lipshin at the Arava Institute in Israel (https://arava.org/), students will work to support Dr. Lipshin’s efforts to facilitate wastewater recycling at the small, local level for Palestinians and Bedouin communities in Israel. (See story of work with a Bedouin community in the Negev desert at https://www.israel21c.org/bedouin-village-tests-new-solar-powered-wastewater-treatment-system/). This will likely involve municipal and national law related to wastewater, treated water, and water use standards; regulatory compliance; solar energy issues; social and cultural norms and standards; local community capacity; business opportunities and private-public partnership; dispute resolution related to compliance, public-private sector relations, and other areas; and possibly cross-border legal and political issues. The project will be developed to produce transferable lessons to small and rural Texas communities.

FOR COURSE WHERE TRAVEL MAY BE INCLUDED (Cayman Islands):
Decision on whether there will be any travel in May will be made by January 25, 2021.
  • If travel is ​allowed:
    Offered as a 3 credit course split over the Spring 2021 and Fall 2021 semesters as follows:
    • Spring 2021: 0.5 credits
    • Fall 2021: 2.5 credits including a two-week trip to the Cayman Islands in May during the weeks of May 17 and May 24 plus class meetings in the fall (for a 3 credit total).
  • Non-travel contingency:
    Offered as a 2 credit course split over the Spring 2021 and Fall 2021 semesters as follows:
    • Spring 2021: 0.5 credits
    • Fall 2021: Resource and guest speaker sessions by Zoom in May; completion for the course in the fall for 1.5 credits (for a 2 credit total).

Cayman Islands:  International Financial Centers

Course Name and Number: Global Lawyering: International Financial Centers (Cayman Islands), LAW-7830-602
Field Course: May 16-29, 2021
Faculty: Professor Mark Burge and Dean Andrew Morriss (Texas A&M University School of Innovation)
Themes: jurisdictional choice, managing financial risk, specialized legal infrastructure and expertise, private law, captive insurance, catastrophe bonds, trusts and foundations, international private investment and development
Course Description:
What exactly could make an innocuous small island attractive for business and financial activity? Increasingly, the answer for sophisticated parties is regulatory specialization. Most U.S. lawyers are aware of Delaware’s reputation as a leader in corporate law, but far fewer understand the analogous role of international financial centers (IFCs) like Jersey and Guernsey (English Channel) and the Cayman Islands (Caribbean). Some U.S. states have even jumped into the arena to directly compete with IFCs, as well. How do small nations and states create regulatory specialties, and what makes them succeed where others fail? Perhaps surprisingly, the answer is not about having a “lax” regulatory regime. Instead, a strong commitment to the rule of law is foundational, as is nimble expertise that is best suited to small jurisdictions.
Using a variety of IFCs and their stateside competitors as case studies, this course will seek to understand how jurisdictions like the Cayman Islands, Jersey, Guernsey, and others develop and use law and legal culture to compete with great nations (and with one another) to create sophisticated areas of expertise and attract money from around the world. Specialty topics touched upon in the course will include:
     • captive insurance companies
     • catastrophe bonds
     • securitization and hedge funds
     • non-traditional trusts and foundations
     • tax neutrality
Future lawyers (including 1Ls) who want to build a diverse toolkit of solutions for practice in the 21st Century will benefit from broadening their horizons with this course, which will include guest speakers who are important players in international policy, regulation, and law enforcement.
Group Project:
Analyzing and comparing multiple legal regimes regarding their suitability for structuring, marketing, and attracting investment and other business activity in a specialized area.


Course Requirements, Attendance, and Tuition & Fees Information:

  • Application deadline: January 18, 2021

  • Minimum GPA requirement to enroll: 2.75

  • Course registration finalized after mid-January

  • Participation in this program requires a passport. If you do not currently have a passport or your passport has less than 1 year validity at the time of your trip, you must show proof of application for a new passport. (Waived for those applying to a non-travel field course.)

Tuition and Field Study Course Fees for 2021:

  • Spring 202​1: Tuition for 0.5 credits

  • Fall 202​1: Tuition for 1.5 or 2.5 credits depending on travel restrictions. Decision on travel will be made by January 25, 2021.

  • Separate field course fee (if travel is permitted):
    • For Cayman Islands: $2,500-$3,500 to cover airfare, lodging, meals, and other related program expenses. Will be assessed after the start of the Fall semester.

  • Tuition will be assessed at the same rate as for all other law school courses.

Payment Information:

  • When registering and accepted into the course, you will be billed automatically. (You will be responsible for the course fee even if you fail to complete the course.)

  • Once you accept a place in the course, you are responsible for the non-refundable field course fee. Tuition will be assessed at the same rate as for all other law school courses.

Attendance Information:

  • The field study portion of this class will take place according to the course-specific information sheet. The attendance rules of the law school will apply and there will be no “excused” absences from other courses in which you are enrolled.

  • You are required to attend all classes at the law school and in the course location in order to earn credit.

Check out our recent field study courses:

 2019 Field Studies

  Cambodia Field Course students with monks Cambodia:
Art, Fashion, Food & Culture: Trade and Sustainable Development in Cambodia
Irene Calboli and Jeff Slattery
  Guernsey Field Course May2019 Channel Islands -- Jersey and Guernsey:
Sovereignty, Brexit, the European Union, and Financial Regulation
Charlotte Ku and Andy Morriss
  Mexico Global Engagement Grant May 2019 Mexico:
Mexican Reintegration Project, supported by a Global Engagement Grant
Luz Herrera, Huyen Pham, Angela Morrison, Guillermo Garcia Sanchez

► Read the full news article
 

eckstien-welshISRAEL:
Water, Energy, and Dispute Resolution

Gabriel Eckstein and Nancy Welsh

Israel-May9-Sorek-3-w
israel

 
The Israel field study focuses on regional disputes related to water and energy resource management.

Learn more.

Through on-site visits to various Israeli and Palestinian ministries, non-government organizations, and water and energy-related facilities, students explore water and energy procurement, development, and distribution in Israel and the Palestinian Territories, as well as associated environmental concerns. They also examine the challenges that resources scarcity, political instability, differing cultural norms, and other factors play in natural resources management and consider applicable domestic and international laws and dispute resolutions mechanisms.

“This field study will be a deep dive into the regulatory, political, and environmental issues at play,” Nancy Welsh, Aggie Dispute Resolution Program Director, said. “The current disputes over seawater desalination and its attending environmental impact are very timely, and will give our students insight into the nuances of dispute resolution in a different part of the world that cannot be replicated in the classroom.”

Details:
Combined classroom and field experience in Israel: explore the history, culture, and legal issues related to water, energy, and associated dispute resolution challenges; examine basics of international and comparative law, cross-cultural communication, and being a global professional.

This course includes a field study trip to Israel. Students will complete the Field Study Preparation for 0.5 credits as a Spring course with the Field Trip completed in May and the Field Study Debrief, Reflection Exercises, and Research Project completed during the Fall semester for an additional 2.5 credits.

Offered Spring 2018.

Randy Gordon and Guillermo GarciaSCOTLAND:
Natural Resource Management & Dispute Resolution

Randy Gordon and Guillermo Garcia

scotland-aberdeen-law Scotland Hall scotland-castle-360

 
The Scotland field study introduces students to the use of international commercial arbitration.

Learn more.

Situated as it is along the North Sea, Aberdeen, and its ancient University, naturally evolved into an energy center. Our program takes advantage of the broad expertise--in terms of both scholarship and business--growing out of Aberdeen's extensive connections to the North Sea oil and gas fields. More broadly, we consider EU and International Law as they apply to energy, environmental, and climate change policy issues. And we give particular attention to dispute resolution in Scotland, the UK, and the EU, including arbitration. Finally, we take advantage of the Scottish location to learn about the history and evolution of Scots Law and the present mix of legal institutions.

“Arbitration has long played an important role in dispute resolution in Scotland and, as a result, Scotland has developed its own body of arbitration law,” said Executive Professor of Law Randy Gordon, who will lead the course. “As part of our field study in Aberdeen, we will examine the particulars of the Scottish arbitration scheme and how it fits within and diverges from the international commercial arbitration system.”

Details:
This course includes a field study trip to Scotland. Students will complete the Field Study Preparation for 0.5 credits as a Spring course with the Field Trip completed in May and the Field Study Debrief, Reflection Exercises, and Research Project completed during the Fall semester for an additional 2.5 credits.

Offered Spring 2018.

alkon_cynthia-charlotte-kuCAMBODIA:
Building The Rule of Law

Cynthia Alkon and Charlotte Ku 
EVP Sambo with Aggie Law group C-mondulkiri-dakdam-6756

 
Experience the basics of international and comparative law, cross cultural communication, and the challenges of developing rule of law.

Learn more.

Students experience firsthand the challenges of developing rule of law in a post-conflict environment. Students examined how the history of conflicts and genocide have impacted the Cambodian legal system. Through hands-on experience, students investigate the issues of environmental law, land rights and labor arbitration affecting Cambodia today. Students also gain an understanding of being a global professional.

Details:
This course includes a field study trip to Cambodia. Students will complete the Field Study Preparation for 0.5 credits as a Spring course with the Field Trip completed in May and the Field Study Debrief, Reflection Exercises, and Research Project completed during the Fall semester for an additional 2.5 credits.

Offered Spring 2017.

morriss-andrew-william-magnusonJERSEY (Channel Islands):
Facilitating Trade

Andrew Morriss and William Magnuson 
Jersey Royal Court tour guide Jersey Finance Field Study article May-2017

 
Students explore firsthand the basics of international financial regulations and Jersey's specialized investment structures.

Learn more.

Students travel to the island of Jersey in the Channel Islands to explore firsthand the basics of international and comparative law, cross cultural communication and being a global professional. As Jersey is a major international financial center, the students examine how businesses and investors make use of Jersey structures to invest in Great Britain, the European Union and the world. They gain an understanding of the British constitution, European Union financial regulation and the legal issues involved in wealth management.

Details:
This course includes a field study trip to Jersey. Students will complete the Field Study Preparation for 0.5 credits as a Spring course with the Field Trip completed in May and the Field Study Debrief, Reflection Exercises, and Research Project completed during the Fall semester for an additional 2.5 credits.

Offered Spring 2017.

AricShort-ThomasMitchellGHANA:
Land Use Conflicts and Access to Justice

Aric Short and Thomas W. Mitchell 
Taylor Winn with children in Ghana Ghana anti-corruption sign

 
Students examine the history, culture and legal issues affecting Ghana’s land use conflicts and access to justice.

Learn more.

Applying international and comparative law concepts along with cross-cultural communication, the students meet with government officials, NGOs, judges, practicing lawyers & communities to understand the complexities of land use and ownership, including the interplay between customary and statutory law in Ghana.

Details:
This course includes a field study trip to Ghana. Students will complete the Field Study Preparation for 0.5 credits as a Spring course with the Field Trip completed in May and the Field Study Debrief, Reflection Exercises, and Research Project completed during the Fall semester for an additional 2.5 credits.

Offered Spring 2017.

 

Summer Program

alton_stephen140BORDERLANDS LAW:
Contemporary Legal Issues Relating to the U.S.-Mexico Border

Stephen Alton

tx-mex border sign sh_486345745 Laredo borderlands Law field trip

 
Travel to Laredo to investigate U.S.-Mexico border issues such as immigration, natural resources management, and trade and business.

Apply today!

Learn more.

The U.S.-Mexico borderlands have loomed large in the mythology of Texas. Come experience the power of the borderlands, as the myth collides with the reality of the 21st century in Texas A&M University School of Law’s collaborative summer program with Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) in Laredo, Texas. Laredo is the largest port of entry in Texas and is the third-largest port of entry in the United States. Laredo’s annual import-export trade topped $280 billion in 2015. Total trade back and forth across the U.S.-Mexico border amounts to almost $1.5 billion each day.

The Laredo program consists of two parts, totaling six credits over seven weeks. The first part is a two-credit, two-week course called “Borderlands Law,” which will be held on the Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) campus in Laredo and will include guest speakers and field trips. Six TAMIU students will participate in this class.

The second part of this summer program will be a five-week, four-credit externship placement in Laredo, immediately following the two-week Borderlands Law course. The externship will place students in a public interest setting or private law firm setting in Laredo.

Details:
Preference for enrollment in the Borderlands Law course and the associated Laredo externship will be given to those students who enroll in both courses (i.e., the Borderlands Law course and the Laredo externship).
Enrollment limited to six (6) law students.

Offered Summer 2016, Summer 2017, Summer 2018, and Summer 2019.

 

Spring Break Field Trip

burge_mark140CAYMAN ISLANDS:
Financial Regulation

Mark Burge

Learn more.

This course is a combined classroom and field experience in the Cayman Islands designed to provide a foundation for the examination of international business and tax strategies and related policy issues. The course will provide introductory knowledge and concepts to students, so that, as part of their legal practice, they will be able to assist clients in evaluating international business strategies. Students will study the various business goals that may motivate U.S. corporations to organize and utilize offshore business entities, and will examine the broader policy and legal issues related to the use of such entities. Most importantly, students will have the opportunity to meet and interact with professionals and policymakers from the Cayman Islands.

This course includes a field trip to the Cayman Islands during Spring Break. All three segments will be completed in the Spring semester for a total of 2 credits.

Offered Spring 2016.

 

Recent courses:

Global Rule of Law Development Seminar & Projects

Backstop clients around the world with research and information on specific law topics. In this capstone course, students work on projects for clients in a variety of countries, creating a written product ​for the requesting agency/organization. Through these projects students will improve their skills in rule of law assessment, research, and communication. Projects will focus on a specific legal question, process or institution and are expected to produce a written product that will be sent to the agency/organization that requested the research.