2020 U.S. Business Law Academy
The online application will open Monday, September 16, 2019
1. Program Focus
The U.S. Business Law Academy, designed for foreign-trained law students but open to practitioners as well, is an engaging educational and cultural experience with select topics in U.S. legal institutions and business law taught by preeminent scholars from Columbia and other world-renowned institutions. It is intended as a broad yet challenging introduction for motivated students rather than a rigorous course of advanced academic or professional training.
2. Why Attend
The academy provides an accessible introduction to the Socratic Method, one of the foundations of U.S. legal education. Senior Columbia Law School administrators advise students about international LL.M. programs and career strategies, offering excellent preparation for those considering further studies in a leading global graduate program. The program also includes practice-oriented lectures by prominent New York attorneys; networking events with fellow participants; as well as visits to professional and cultural sites across New York City.
3. Who Should Attend
The U.S. Business Law Academy is designed primarily for foreign-trained law students with an interest in U.S. legal institutions and business law, but is open to legal practitioners as well. Applications from individuals working in related disciplines, or who have studied law at a U.S. institution, are welcome but will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. (An academic or professional reference may be requested.) The program offers excellent preparation for those considering further studies in a leading global graduate program.
4. Program Dates
The U.S. Business Law Academy will take place over three weeks with programming scheduled to run from Sunday, July 5 through Friday, July 24, 2020. A program orientation and welcome event will be held on the afternoon of Sunday, July 5, and classes start the next day.
5. Program Location
The U.S. Business Law Academy will be hosted on the iconic campus of Columbia University in New York City. The program’s courses will be held in the classrooms of Columbia Law School, with non-academic activities scheduled at professional and cultural sites across New York City.
6. Academic Structure
The three-week program will feature an introductory survey of three or four select topics related to U.S. legal institutions and business law, each taught by a preeminent scholar from Columbia or another world-renowned institution. In the manner of U.S. legal education, faculty will use some version of the Socratic Method and students should anticipate being called upon to speak aloud in class. There will be no exams, grades or academic credit.
7. Non-academic Programming
In addition to academic lectures, the U.S. Business Law Academy will include visits to professional and cultural sites in New York City; social and networking events; practice-oriented lectures by prominent New York attorneys and presentations by senior administrators regarding international LL.M. programs and international career strategies.
- Introduction to U.S. Legal Institutions | Introduction to Mediation
Alexandra Carter (Columbia Law School)
Professor of Law, Director of Edson Queiroz Foundation Mediation Program
- U.S. Financial Law in an International Perspective
Chris Brummer (Georgetown Law Center)
Agnes N. Williams Research Professor; Faculty Director, Institute of International Economic Law; Professor of Law
- U.S. Corporate Law in an International Perspective
John Armour (Oxford University)
Professor of Law and Finance
9. Socratic Method and Class Preparation
All courses will employ an accessible version of the Socratic Method, one of the foundations of U.S. legal education, through which instruction is imparted by a “question and answer” dialogue between the teacher and students. Class preparation thus includes not only completing the reading assignments, but also being ready to think and speak critically about them in class. Course materials and reading assignments will be provided on the website or by email in the weeks prior to the start of the program.
10. Cost with, and without, accommodation
The overall program and housing fee for the US Business Law Academy is $7,500. This covers the costs of the academic program and materials, non-academic programming, program lunches when an outside speaker is present, and single-occupancy housing in Columbia University student residence halls. It is highly recommended that participants take advantage of the housing offered on the Columbia University campus. Participants may, however, elect to make their own housing arrangements. The program fee without housing is $5,250. Columbia University will not charge an additional fee for J-1 visa sponsorship, but participants should be aware that the US consulate may charge fees of approximately $300 for visa applications.
11. Application and Admission
Individual applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, as they are submitted, for so long as space in the program remains available. Admissions decisions will be made on a rolling basis starting in October. Applications received after spaces in the program have been filled will be placed on a Wait List.
12. Deposit and Program Fee Payments
To hold a place in the program, candidates must submit a deposit of $500 within two weeks after having received notice of admission. This deposit is non-refundable, and will be credited towards the overall program fee. Candidates must then pay the balance of their fees by May 1 (or two weeks after receiving notice of their admission, whichever is later). Additional information will be requested from applicants at that time for visa purposes, and candidates may be subject to a US Embassy visa fee of approximately $300.
13. Early Bird Discount
Candidates who submit an application by January 15, and then make a non-refundable deposit within two weeks of receiving notice of admission, will receive a $1,000 “Early Bird” discount on the balance due on their overall program fee. (If a Group Discount is also applicable, only the larger of the two discounts will be applied.)
14. Group Discount
If six or more applicants affiliated with the same institution all submit their applications by February 1, and inform Columbia Law School that they have organized themselves into a group, each will receive a $1,500 “Group Discount” on the balance due on their overall individual program fees. Other candidates affiliated with that same institution who apply after that date will not, however, be considered part of that group or receive a discount.
15. Group Administrators
Groups of ten or more students are entitled to free housing for an accompanying faculty or administrator, and larger groups may request special assistance with campus meal plans, airport transportation, etc. School administrators and others assisting student groups are encouraged to contact the Office of International Programs for additional information.
16. Program Schedule
The US Business Law Academy will present a total of 48 hours of classroom instruction. It will include three or four courses, each consisting of a total of eight to sixteen hours of classroom instruction presented over the course of either two or four consecutive days. (Please see the Program Calendar for details.) Lectures will be presented each class day for two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon. Lunch will be occasionally be provided in conjunction with lunchtime talks on practice-oriented or other non-academic topics. Fridays will be reserved for visits to law firms, courts, financial institutions, and/or other sites of professional and cultural interest throughout New York City.
Subject to availability, as space is limited, program participants will have access to accommodations located in student residence halls on or adjoining Columbia University’s iconic New York City campus. All rooms will be single-occupancy, with shared bathroom facilities. Rooms are generally available from Saturday, July 4 through Saturday, July 25. While special arrangements may be possible for groups, we regret that we cannot accommodate early arrivals or late departures for individuals.
On days when a guest speaker addresses the program, lunch will be provided by the US Business Law Academy at no additional cost. (Please see Program Calendar for details.) Program participants will be responsible for other meals, and will have access to Columbia University’s student cafeterias and a wide range of area restaurants and markets. Special arrangements for groups may be available on request.
Participants who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the United States will most likely require a J-1 visa (and not a tourist or business visa, or visa waiver). Columbia Law School’s Office of International Programs, in conjunction with Columbia University’s International Scholars and Students Office (ISSO), will advise admitted students about these requirements on an individual basis. Columbia University will not charge an additional fee for J-1 visa sponsorship, but participants should be aware that visa application fees of approximately $300 may be charged by the US consulate in conjunction with visa applications.
Individual participants are responsible for arranging their own air transportation to and from New York, and also between the New York City airport and Columbia University.
21. Academic Credentials
All participants in the US Business Law Academy who satisfy class attendance and participation expectations will receive a formal Statement of Attendance from Columbia Law School, bearing the signature of the Dean of the Law School and the Dean for International and Comparative Law programs.
22. Exam Policy
The US Business Law Academy courses do not include examinations.
23. Attendance and Participation
Consistent class attendance and active participation are central to the Socratic Method of teaching, which is the basis of the US Business Law Academy and, more generally, much of US legal education. Students in the US Business Law Academy are expected to attend at least 80% of class sessions and, in those sessions, to be prepared to engage in reasoned legal discourse when called upon by the instructor. Receipt of a Statement of Attendance is contingent on a participant’s satisfaction of these requirements.
24. Academic Credit
Columbia Law School does not award credit for participation in the US Business Law Academy.
25. Required Background
The US Business Law Academy will focus on U.S. business law and legal institutions, and is intended to provide foreign-trained law students and other participants with a broad educational and cultural experience rather than a rigorous course of academic or professional training. Participants must therefore have the basic grounding generally attained by those who have completed the initial years of a first university degree in law. More broadly, however, the courses will be structured so as to be both accessible and interesting to participants with a wide range of backgrounds. The program is designed primarily for foreign-trained law students, but we welcome practicing lawyers, government officials, academics and other professionals on a case-by-case basis.
Applications are welcome from any individual who either has a first law degree from outside the United States, or is currently in a recognized program of study leading towards such a degree. Interested individuals with other academic credentials should inquire about special consideration.
27. English Language Proficiency
All instruction in the US Business Law Academy will take place in English, and students should anticipate being called upon to speak in class. They therefore must have English language proficiency sufficient to allow for a productive experience in the Program. On the application form, candidates will be asked to document such proficiency by either citing scores from the TOEFL or other generally recognized standardized test. Students who are invited to join the program will need to provide acceptable certification of their English proficiency.
Acceptable standardized English proficiency tests (and minimum acceptable scores) include:
- NEW OPTION: Online English3 J-1 Interview (minimum score of 3). This is an online interview, lasting approximately 25 minutes, that is conducted at your convenience in your own home for a fee. Learn more here.
- Paper-based TOEFL (minimum score of 550).
- Internet-based TOEFL (minimum score of 79).
- IELTS (minimum score of 6.5).
- Cambridge Assessment English (minimum score of 180).
- PTE Academic (minimum score of 53).
Other options for providing proof of English proficiency include:
- Official diploma (photocopy or scan is sufficient) from an academic institution where English is the language of instruction.
- Evidence of successful completion of a previous J-1 exchange program (a copy of a previous DS-2019 or a letter from a previous J-1 sponsor).
28. Application Process
Individual applications to the US Business Law Academy will be completed online. A link to the online application will be placed on the US Business Law Academy homepage starting September 16, 2019. Completed applications will be reviewed soon after they have been submitted, on a rolling basis, for so long as spaces in the program remain open.
29. Alteration and Cancellation Policy
Columbia Law School reserves the right to alter or cancel this program. Cancellation may occur due to unforeseen international events that could substantially inhibit program attendance or operations, under-enrollment, or other unforeseen circumstances. In the event that the program is canceled, the Law School will return all program and housing deposits and fees.
30. Refund Policy
In the event that participants notify Columbia Law School before the program begins that they have been denied a visa, we will refund the full amount of any fees paid (not including the non-refundable deposit). In the event of other extraordinary circumstances that prevent attendance, individuals may petition to receive a 50% refund (not including the non-refundable deposit). Please note that refunds may require up to several months or more to process.