Did You Know?

The late Hon. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a former Distinguished Jurist of the St. Mary’s University School of Law’s Innsbruck Program. A few members of our faculty, who spent time with her that summer in 1995, have written about their experiences with her, which have been published in San Antonio news outlets. Read more:

Summer Study Abroad Program in the Alps

The Innsbruck Program will resume in Summer 2021.

From July 5 to Aug. 6, 2021, St. Mary’s University and its European partner, the University of Innsbruck, will mark the 35th year of the St. Mary’s Institute on World Legal Problems in Innsbruck, Austria.

Since 1986, students from more than 130 American law schools and several European and Asian law schools have participated in the Institute, whose courses are conducted in English. One of the longest continuously operated summer law study programs offered by any American law school, the Institute continues in its commitment to offer a “First-Class International Law Education in a World-Class Location.”

Students in good standing at any ABA- or state-approved law school are eligible to enroll.

Studying Law Abroad

Participants visit local government offices and the state seat of government, and guest lectures typically are presented by European professors. Scholars traveling in Europe and lawyers abroad on international business often are invited to share insights with the classes or deliver special lectures on important international topics.

Students have the opportunity to converse with foreign scholars and Austrian lawyers on several occasions. Austrian students will participate in classes, off-campus visits, and social events, along with their American colleagues.

The St. Mary’s University summer program in international law at the University of Innsbruck has been fully accredited by the American Bar Association since its inception in 1986. The St. Mary’s University School of Law is approved by the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of the American Bar Association, 321 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60654, 312-988-6738.

As part of the accreditation process, the ABA requires law schools to make certain information available to students planning to participate in foreign programs. The following information is set forth to comply with those requirements.

ABA Accreditation

An average of 50 students have participated in each of the last 10 programs at Innsbruck. There will likely be a similar enrollment in 2021. Because the curriculum contains five courses, it is probable that most classes will have an enrollment of between 10 and 30 students.

Although there is no definite limit on the number of students who may participate in the program, at some point adequate student housing might not be available and the students enrolled for a class might exceed the capacity of the largest classroom available (about 150).

Size of Enrollment

Each year several students from foreign countries participate in the St. Mary’s program. There are usually no more than 10 foreign students in the program. They are typically drawn from Austria, Germany and other European countries.

Because at least one of the classrooms that will be used by the program seats 150 persons, it is unlikely that the enrollment in any course will have to be limited. There are no course prerequisites for any of the classes. Each class is taught with the assumption that the students have completed one year of American legal education.

Foreign Students

Browse through photos and videos of places Innsbruck students have visited on day trips, find updated information, and learn more:

Universitas Leopoldino, a historic building with brown columns

The University of Innsbruck is the foreign sponsor for the St. Mary’s University Institute on World Legal Problems, and may be contacted through: Professor Bernhard Koch, University of Innsbruck, Innrain 52, A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria, Telephone (011-43-512) 507-8031, Fax (011-43-512) 507-2821.

Offices, study areas, and classrooms are comfortably housed in the main building of the University. Students have access to the international and comparative law collections of the University libraries. Selected American works are also available and students are provided Internet access through the University of Innsbruck.

The classrooms and administrative offices for the St. Mary’s University Institute on World Legal Problems are located in the main building of the University of Innsbruck. The facilities available to the program include a large faculty office, a small student library/study room with several tables and chairs, and several large and small classrooms with bench-type seating. Students may use the library and computing facilities of the University of Innsbruck, and will have internet access through the University’s wifi network.

Facilities and Contact

Some portions of the classroom building at the University of Innsbruck, and many public accommodations in Austria, are not readily accessible to persons with disabilities. Specific information about the obstacles a person with a disability would be likely to encounter can be obtained from the director of the program, by phone or mail.

Persons with Disabilities

The Institute is conducted under the co-direction of Professors of Law Victoria Mather and Chad Pomeroy. Mather teaches and writes in the areas of population law, family law, wills and trusts, property and estate planning. Pomeroy teaches a variety of business and property-focused classes, including oil and gas, mortgages, property and business associations.

Faculty and Administration

Summer Program Tuition and Costs

The tuition in Innsbruck is the same as at the home campus of St. Mary’s University, which currently is $1,350 per credit. There are no special fees, but students must purchase any books required for their courses.

In addition to tuition, students must pay for transportation, housing, and living expenses. Last summer most students found that a round-trip flight from the United States to a major European city cost about $1,200 to $1,800. Many students purchase a Eurail pass to enable them to travel by train. Some persons spend considerably less for rail travel, and others more.

Students from St. Mary’s must enroll in not less than five credits, nor more than six credits. Students from other law schools can take no more than six credits and are subject to any minimum credit-hour requirement set by their home institutions. Monday June 29 (students should arrive no later than Sunday June 28).  The last exams will be no later than Friday, July 31.

The cost of food and meals in Innsbruck is approximately what a student might pay in the United States. Students must purchase books, if needed, for their courses before departing for Europe. The cost is the same as would be incurred for similar courses taken at a law school campus in the United States. Entertainment and travel expenses vary greatly from person to person. Most students travel on weekends. Those who spend their weekends enjoying the Innsbruck area attractions, many of which are free, will spend considerably less.

Students must apply separately for course enrollment and for housing. Enrollment applications are accepted on a first-come basis and must be accompanied by a $100 tuition deposit. Visiting students must submit a letter of good standing from an ABA- or state-accredited law school. Classes begin Monday July 5, and students should arrive in Innsbruck no later than Sunday, July 4. The last exams end no later than Friday, August 6.

More Details

Summer Study Abroad Scholarships

The Sarah Thompson Memorial Fund honors the memory of Sarah K. Thompson, a former St. Mary’s Law student who loved to study the law and experienced her first time traveling in Europe. Sarah was also involved in her church community, helping the elderly and doing Pro Bono. She was very supportive of her classmates,family, and friends. The main purpose of this memorial scholarship is to continue the memory of Sarah, since she tragically died in an accident during her 2L year. Because Sarah thoroughly enjoyed her participation in the Innsbruck Study Abroad program, her parents funded this scholarship so that another law student could benefit from Austria in the same way Sarah did.

The Flint Fund was established by Professor Richard Flint and Sister Grace Walle to assist St. Mary’s law school students who wish to attend the Innsbruck program.

Because some of its members attended the Innsbruck program, ClaytonRamirez, PLLC established the ClaytonRamirez, PLLC Law Innsbruck Scholarship to assist students who want to study in Innsbruck.

The Founders “Institute on World Legal Problems in Innsbruck” Scholarship honors the professors who founded the program in 1986.

The Shield-Ayres Foundation established The Robert Moss Ayres, Jr. Memorial Scholarship as a way to support law students who could otherwise not afford to participate in the Innsbruck program. Marshall Ayres Bowen (J.D. ’18, M.A. ’18), one of the trustees of the foundation, attended the program in 2016 and recognized the value it added to his legal education.

The Ariens Family Scholarship was made possible by the generous support of Professor of Law Michael Ariens, a veteran director and faculty member of the Innsbruck Program and of St. Mary’s University School of Law. (Application coming soon).

Finally, the Emiliano Infante Segrera Scholarship is offered through the generous support of Emil R. Infante (J.D. ’00), who attended the program while he was a law student.

Submit your application to lawcampusministry@stmarytx.edu. All applications are due by 5 p.m. on Friday, April 2, 2021.

Summer Study Abroad Scholarships
Hikers climb a lush green mountain in the Alps, with snowcapped peaks in the background

Course Information

The acceptance of any credit or grade for a course taken in the Innsbruck program is subject to determination by the student’s home law school. Students are urged to consult appropriate administrators at their own schools regarding the limitations on acceptance of credit earned in this program.

The American Bar Association requires every law school to state that “it is unlikely that participation in foreign summer programs may be used to accelerate graduation.” Students interested in acceleration must explore that issue with their home institutions in light of ABA Standard 304.

Classes meet Monday through midday Thursday. This schedule allows students time to travel on weekends to such destinations as Rome, Paris, the French Riviera, Venice, Vienna, Zurich, Munich, Prague, and Budapest.

Class Times

First Session (June 29 – July 14)
8-9:10 a.m., International Business Transactions, R. Flint
9:20-10:30 a.m., Lawyering Abroad, B. Koch
10:40-11:50 a.m., International Insolvency, D. Hague

First Session

Second Session (July 15 – July 31)
8-9:10 a.m., International Business Transactions (continuation), R. Flint
9:20-10:30 a.m., International Child Abduction Based on the Hague Convention, D. Pepi
10:40-11:50 a.m., International Law of Stolen Art and Artifacts, P. Hosey

Second Session

Class List

International Child Abduction based on the Hague Convention

(1 credit, Professor Dayla Pepi, St. Mary’s University)

Course Description coming soon.

International Child Abduction based on the Hague Convention

International Insolvency

(1 credit, Professor David Hague, St. Mary’s University)

This course deals with transnational or cross-border insolvencies and the legal regime that governs the resolution of these controversies. A number of large international insolvencies in recent years have brought to the forefront the importance of developing an understanding of bankruptcy beyond the bounds of the United States. In this course, students will first gain a brief understanding of the basic bankruptcy laws of the United States. The bulk of the course then examines the legal structures for dealing with an insolvency that crosses national borders, including an overview of Chapter 15 of the United States Bankruptcy Code and the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency.

International Insolvency

International Law of Stolen Art and Artifacts

(1 credit, Adjunct Professor Peter Hosey, St. Mary’s University and Partner, Jackson Walker)

This course deals with the common and civil law of lost, found and abandoned property, the problems of national sovereignty in cultural property, and the law and the various fora for seeking the return of such property. The course will address the manner in which different nations and supra-national conventions define and interpret the rights of artists in their creations.

Law of Stolen Art Artifacts

Lawyering Abroad: Basic Concepts Of European Legal Systems

(1 credit, Professor Bernhard Koch, University of Innsbruck)

Students in this course will be introduced to the core elements of European legal systems and to their structural dissimilarities with American legal systems.  Emphasis will be placed on major differences between common law and civil law approaches, and examples will be drawn from the laws of Germany, France, and other countries. Particular attention will be given to the practical aspects of lawyering, such as finding the law and communicating with foreign counsel.

Lawyering Abroad

International Business Transactions

(2 credits, Professor Richard Flint, St. Mary’s University)

This course explores national and international private law relating to the movement of goods and payment of money across national borders; licensing and franchising; direct foreign investment; and dispute resolution in international transactions.

International Business Transactions

Student Performance

Regular class attendance is required. A student who misses more than one-fourth of the scheduled class meetings is automatically withdrawn from the course, and grades may be reduced for excessive absences. The grade in each course is based upon a final examination or paper. A portion of the final grade (not exceeding more than one-third of a letter-grade level) may be based on class participation, if the professor indicated on the syllabus. The grading scale is: A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D, and F. Academic regulations are set forth in the Law School’s Student Handbook.

Request Information

Please fill out this form to request more information about studying law in Europe this summer.
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Apply to the Innsbruck Program

The recommended application deadline is June 1, 2020.

Sept. 15 – Applications and refundable tuition deposits begin to be accepted. Send your deposit and SSAN to Catherine Mery, Office of Law Admissions, St. Mary’s University School of Law, 1 Camino Santa Maria, San Antonio, Texas 78228-8603.

November to May – Make travel arrangements. Fares rise and fall, so when you find a good itinerary and fare, act quickly.

November to February – Make your living arrangements. Innsbruck housing is in heavy demand during the summer, so don’t delay reserving something.

February to March – If you will use financial aid for the Innsbruck program, check with your financial aid office to make arrangements.

March – Apply for Innsbruck program scholarships, if eligible.

May – Register for courses. This registration is done by a paper form you will receive, and cannot be completed online.

June – Be sure you have access to your course materials that are posted on TWEN or in Dropbox. If you need to buy books, do it well in advance of your departure date.

Mid June – Leave in time to arrive in Innsbruck at least a day before classes begin. Remember that flights leaving the U.S. will arrive in Europe the following day.

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