Program strengthens Trojan network at USC Law
-Story and photos by Lori Craig
As the temperature soared with an Indian summer heat wave, nearly 200 J.D. and LL.M. students paired up for lunch in the shade outside the law school Oct. 13. It was the launch of the annual J.D./LL.M. Partnership Program, joining USC Law students who hail from all corners of the globe.
“With the J.D./LLM Partnership, we hope to provide a time and a place where professional and social relationships can develop organically,” said Samuel Petty ’13, vice president of the International Law and Relations Organization (ILRO) JD/LL.M. Partnership. “Both the J.D. and the LL.M. students have an enormous desire to connect with each other; they simply need an excuse to start talking.”
The program is an opportunity for J.D. students to network professionally and share personal and cultural connections with some of USC Law’s 200 international LL.M. students, who have professional backgrounds in law, business and government in their home countries. Many of the LL.M. students are visiting the United States for the first time and want to immerse themselves in American culture, said Tiffany Heah ’12, a lawyer from Malaysia and social chair for the LL.M. class.
“We want to know what Americans do during the weekends, where are the best beaches in Los Angeles and which professor to take next semester,” Heah said.
After being partnered at the initial lunch, the J.D. and LL.M. students are not obligated to meet more than once a semester, although many of the partners and groups of partners choose to get together throughout the year.
“With the way that culture is shared and distributed globally via the Internet, television and movies, students often find they have more in common than they may have anticipated,” Petty said. “Most importantly, I think students find value in participating because they recognize the importance the legal field plays in this era of increasing political and economic globalization. It is important that students do participate because there is no substitute for engaging another student one-on-one: discussing and sharing ideas and enjoying new experiences together.
“Our goal is for each student to come away with a broadened perspective that can enrich their personal legal practice and set the groundwork for continuing relationships.”
Petty also sought to match students with similar interests, which Heah said she appreciates.
“Since being paired up with my J.D. partner, who is also into outdoor activities, we have gone hiking in Griffith Park and made plans to go bowling and learn tennis together,” she said. “If it wasn’t for the partnership program, I wouldn’t be having this much fun.”
In anticipation of the partnership program, and a year of learning alongside their American counterparts, some of the LL.M. class leaders asked Petty if he would give the international students a presentation on networking with the J.D. students. Perry and a classmate Rom Bar-Nissim ’13
“In particular, we suggested that students not worry if they have difficulty interacting at first, or if they don’t elicit the desired response on the first go,” Petty said. “It takes time and we simply encouraged the students to plant the first seed.”