Transnational Law Program receives $1.1 million grant

The European Commission and U.S. Department of Education’s Atlantis Program has awarded the School of Law and its European partners a $1.1 million grant to support the Transnational Law Program (TLP).

The TLP is a first-of-its-kind offering for law students in the United States and Europe. The new four-year combined degree program was launched in association with Utrecht University, Queen’s University Belfast, University of Trento (Italy) and Catholic University of Portugal. The Atlantis grant will help fund the first stage of the TLP, involving close cooperation between the law school, Utrecht and Trento.

Founded in 1997, the Atlantis Program is jointly administered by the Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education and the European Commission’s Directorate General for Education and Culture. Its purpose is to add a transatlantic dimension to international curriculum development. This grant is the first time in its 11-year history that Atlantis has funded a law school program.

“This funding will allow the TLP partners to develop ambitious new avenues for interinstitutional cooperation,” said Kent D. Syverud, J.D., dean of the law school and the Ethan A.H. Shepley University Professor. “As important to the funding, however, is the endorsement of the U.S. and E.U. authorities of this groundbreaking program.”

Adriaan Dorresteijn, dean of the department of law, economics and governance at Utrecht University, said, “The recognition from both European and American authorities and the actual funding by Atlantis will certainly push the TLP forward. We are proud to be part of this endeavor.”

The new grant will help fund faculty exchanges among the TLP partner schools; provide stipends to support student participation in the TLP; and provide funds for the evaluation of the TLP by an independent party.

Beginning this fall, the TLP will allow U.S. students to study at both the law school and Utrecht University. Students will spend five semesters acquiring a solid foundation in U.S. law with an emphasis on international and transnational law from an American perspective.

They will then undertake three semesters of study in Utrecht, acquiring an appreciation for European law and enhancing their understanding of international and transnational law. Faculty and students from the other three European partners will contribute to the strength of the program.

Upon completion, the U.S. graduates will earn a juris doctorate from Washington University and a master of laws (LL.M.) from Utrecht. European participants will pursue a complementary course of study; after earning their degree from Utrecht, they will enter the LL.M. program at WUSTL.

Unlike traditional international dual-degree programs, the Transnational Law Program will be the first to offer:

• a targeted, integrated curriculum developed with partner institutions;

• internships with U.S. and European corporations, law firms, courts, enforcement and administrative agencies and non-governmental organizations;

• ongoing faculty exchanges among the participating schools; and

• related courses co-taught by partner and University faculty.

For more information about the TLP, contact Michael Peil, J.D., assistant dean for international programs, at