Columbia Law School has partnered with the Amsterdam Law School of the University of Amsterdam to create an innovative double degree Global Alliance program focused on international criminal law (ICL). The program highlights the hybrid nature of the field, drawing from both common law and civil law traditions. Unlike conventional dual degree and semester exchange programs, the Global Alliance program is designed to foster a unique level of collaboration among students from the partner schools. Participants from both schools jointly undertake a comprehensive year-long legal study program, with all students studying at Columbia for the fall semester followed by a spring semester at Amsterdam.
The academic portion of the program centers on a prescribed core curriculum as well as a menu of specialized elective offerings, enabling students to customize their course schedules. (Some of the many electives recently offered include The Law of Genocide, Terror and Consent and UN Peacekeeping, to name a few.) Together with access to lectures by numerous renowned international academics and practitioners, the program enables a more interactive and collaborative environment than is most often found in a traditional law school setting. Moreover, the program offers students numerous additional benefits and unique opportunities; some of these include participation in a Workshop on International Criminal Tribunals (those addressing prosecutions in the former Yugoslavia and in Lebanon, for example), as well as the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague. Participants may observe proceedings and confer with practitioners leading efforts at these venues. Several of the program’s Amsterdam faculty are defense attorneys involved in these important tribunals. Finally, the program also offers the possibility for participants to pursue coveted internships in the field of international criminal law.
Students admitted into the JD/LLM program are immersed in a course of study focusing on international criminal law. During the program’s semester at Columbia, students earn between 11 and 13 programmatic credits, which includes several key required courses integral to the study of ICL, such as the centerpiece colloquium on International Criminal Law. Students also have the possibility of enrolling in one additional class from the school’s wider offerings. Access to a broad range of expert speakers and special events augment the classroom experience with firsthand accounts of real world situations.
In the spring semester, when the program shifts to the University of Amsterdam, students continue their studies in international criminal law with an introduction to the field’s civil law systems and traditions. In addition, while in Amsterdam students are afforded many experiential learning opportunities at numerous leading courts and tribunals, such as the International Criminal Court in The Hague. The result is an education grounded in topical world issues in the field.
Completion of the LLM requirements does not guarantee that the student has met all of the JD degree conferral requirements of Columbia Law School. To earn the JD, students must still earn a minimum of 83 credits - with 12 points awarded for the semester at the University of Amsterdam – and complete a class in Professional Responsibility. Additionally, students must complete all of the required pro bono hours and the major and minor writing requirements.