One of the perks of being in law school is that the doors of study abroad are once again wide open to you — a summer study abroad program can help eat up your credit hour requirements, and a semester abroad might provide the kind of work experience you need to land a job overseas. Many law schools out there have associations with schools abroad. Some operate as island programs that are nothing more than a shell of an actual study abroad experience– you take classes with your law school’s professors, amongst your law school’s students. The only thing that changes is the background. The opportunities for immersion or networking on such programs, likewise, are considerably smaller. Other programs out there, though, are more intensive.
Most importantly, if you want to find yourself back in Japan right after law school, studying abroad there can be key. As one current Tokyo attorney put it to me:
If you want to work there, do the Temple program. That increases your chances of scoring a job in Tokyo by like 400%, especially if you are a former JET…
While I’m sure 400% is not a scientifically precise figure of your chances, it delivers a clear message: if you really want to work there, you have to be there, and study abroad can help you do that.
So what law schools out there give you the chance to study abroad in Japan?
Harvard. Okay, there are probably a host of other reasons you might want to go to Harvard. After all, it’s Harvard! But aside from that, Harvard has the key relationship with Tokyo University. To-dai. The One.
Additionally, a number of other law schools have relationships Waseda University Law School, including: Columbia University, Duke University, Cornell University, Michigan University, the University of Illinois, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Washington, and the University of Virginia.
A third option is Temple Law School – Japan Campus. The program operates every winter semester and is open to applicants outside of Temple Law School. Internships are also available to those with sufficient Japanese ability.
Santa Clara Law School also has a summer program in Tokyo.
Michigan State University has a summer program in Kyoto as well.