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November 7, 2006

Press Contact: Kirston Fortune, Assistant Dean for Communications, (512) 471.7330 or kfortune@law.utexas.edu, and Sir Basil Markesinis, UT School of Law, 512-232-1359.

Young French and German Judges to Study for LL.M. Degree at UT

Photo of Prof. Sir Markesinis, Mlle. Legrand, and Dr. Kessen
Professor Sir Basil Markesinis (left) with judges Mlle. Emmanuelle Legrand of France (center) and Dr. Martin Kessen of Germany at the UT School of Law.

New Fellowship Program Sponsored by the M. D. Anderson Foundation of Houston and run by the Institute of Transnational Law recently launched

Before becoming the president of The University of Texas at Austin, former Law School Dean William Powers Jr. gave the go ahead for a new fellowship program to bring young judges from France and Germany to study at the Law School for the LL.M. degree for one year every year for the next three to five years. While many American law schools educate foreign law students and young lawyers, this is the first program aimed specifically at foreign jurists.

Bringing foreign judges to Austin will not only enhance the already substantial international reputation of the Law School, but, more importantly, expose European jurists to the richness of American law which, on returning to their own country, they will then gradually be able to put to practical use, enhancing both international dialogue and understanding.

The program was set up with the full support of Professor Dr. Guenther Hirsch, President of the German Federal Court, and M. Guy Canivet, First President of the French Court of Cassation (Supreme Court), and the first foreign judges recently arrived in Austin. The program is supported by a munificent grant from the M.D. Anderson Foundation, secured thanks to the generous assistance of  Mr. Gib Gayle.

Asked for his views about the program, UT President William Powers Jr. said: "This program will help connect our Law School and University to these important European courts, and it will aid in our efforts to have a more global reach. I congratulate Professor Markesinis for his very good work in establishing these new fellowships."

Mr. Gib Gayle, former managing partner of Fulbright and Jaworski, a former adjunct professor at The University of Texas Law School and a good friend of UT Law School, was also kind to offer the following comment: "The M.D. Anderson Foundation is proud to support another significant step in the growth and progress of the Institute of Transnational Law. The world legal profession will definitely be a beneficiary."

The participating judge, Dr. Martin Kessen, currently seconded to the German Supreme Court, observed that: "Being in the USA and at such a distinguished American Law School is a real privilege for which I am grateful to both the M.D. Anderson Foundation for funding this scheme as well as to President Bill Powers for giving it his blessing. The facilities at UT are amazing, the teaching most stimulating, and the opportunities for enhanced dialogue between our two legal systems both necessary and welcome on both sides."

Mlle. Emmanuelle Legrand, the judge representing France, added: "Politicians may differ, but French men and women admire and like the American people and one only has to come to UT to see why. The presence of young judges such as ourselves at such a distinguished law school opens new doors to learning and legal and judicial cooperation in the future. I am sure I speak for most French lawyers when I say that such an intellectual co-operation is well over due and deeply appreciated by all."

Professor Sir Basil Markesinis, whose Institute is in charge of the program, expressed his delight at the launching of this program adding: "This is another imaginative scheme devised by President Powers and Dean Larry Sager and financially supported by the Anderson Foundation. My Institute, which has been asked to look after this program, is also deeply grateful to Mr. Gib Gayle who, as a seasoned and much admired attorney, immediately grasps the potential of these exchanges for all concerned. As the visiting judges say in their comments, the intellectual advantages of such contacts are undeniable. But I think these schemes also greatly assist the overall political climate which, during the difficult times we live in, can become unnecessarily tense. Seen in this light, this is not just a scholarly endeavour – probably the very first of its kind in the whole country – but also has welcome implications that go well beyond legal education."