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Summer Study Abroad program in the Alps

The Institute on World Legal Problems in Innsbruck, Austria

Study law abroad in Innsbruck, Austria and see beautiful sights like these historic towers framed by the Alps

From July 2 to Aug. 3, 2018 St. Mary’s University and its European partner, the University of Innsbruck, will mark the 33rd year of the St. Mary’s Institute on World Legal Problems in Innsbruck, Austria. Judge Patrick Higginbotham of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals will be the program’s 2018 Distinguished Jurist.

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.

Visits are made to the local government offices and to 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.

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.

  • Timeline of steps to take

    Timeline of steps to take

    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.

    Late 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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Innsbruck Scholarships

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Distinguished Jurist: Judge Patrick HigginbothamJudge Patrick Higginbotham

Judge Patrick Higginbotham of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals was the youngest sitting federal judge when he was appointed to the U.S. District Court. Judge Higginbotham is a widely respected jurist and frequent lecturer and visiting professor. He is the author of numerous scholarly works and has been widely and frequently honored for his contributions to the legal profession.

He served in the United States Air Force JAG Corps and practiced law in Dallas before being appointed to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas by President Gerald Ford in 1975. In 1982, President Ronald Reagan appointed him to the 5th Circuit. Judge Higginbotham also served as a Distinguished Visiting Jurist for the Innsbruck, Austria, summer abroad program.


Studying law abroad

ABA Accreditation

Study law abroad in Innsbruck and see beautiful sights like these row houses on the riverThe 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.

Size of Enrollment

An average of 50 students have participated in each of the last 10 programs at Innsbruck. In 2017, 32 students attended the program, of whom three were from schools other than St. Mary’s.  There will likely be a similar enrollment in 2018. 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).

Foreign Students

Each year several students from foreign countries participate in the St. Mary’s program. There will probably not be more than 10 foreign students in the 2018 program. They likely will be 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.

Sponsoring Institution

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.


Universitas Leopoldino, a historic building with brown columnsThe University of Innsbruck is the foreign sponsor of the Institute. 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.

Persons with Disabilities

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.

Faculty and Administration Information

Check back for biographical information about faculty members and directors.

The Institute is conducted under the co-direction of Michael Ariens and Professor Gerald Reamey. Michael Ariens is an expert in constitution law, legal hisotry, evidence, professional responsibility, and the law of church and state.  A frequent teacher and director, as well as co-founder, of the Institute, Prof. Reamey teaches, researches, and publishes in the area of criminal law and criminal procedure.

Course Information

Course Credit

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.

Course List

Course Schedule

Issues in International Sports Law (1 credit, Professor David Grenardo, St. Mary’s University). The course introduces students to basic principles of sports law and their application to international sports organizations and athletes. Among the topics to be covered are dispute resolution; models of sports organizations and governance; competition law and labor markets; media rights; and image rights.

International Child Abduction (1 credit, Professor Genevieve Hebert-Fajardo, St. Mary’s University). International Child Abduction issues arise when one parent moves a child to a foreign country without approval of the other parent or a court. The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction determines which country has jurisdiction over the child’s welfare and custody. If the nation hosting the child decides that another country has jurisdiction based on the Hague Convention, it has a duty to return the child to the country possessing jurisdiction. Students will learn the principles and mechanics of the Hague Convention, examine U.S. legal interpretations, and prepare a simulated Hague Petition to a U.S. federal court.

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.

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.

Equal Protection in the U.S. and Europe (1 credit, The Honorable Patrick Higginbotham, Senior Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit). Students will explore the doctrine and application of equal protection law and principles in the United States and selected European countries. Select issues that will receive special attention include affirmative action, same-sex marriage, and issues related to minority rights and the analytical constructs employed by the U.S. Supreme Court and other courts in deciding these cases.

Class Times

First Session (July 2 – July 17)
8:30-9:40 a.m., International Business Transactions, R. Flint
9:50-11:00 a.m., International Sports Law, D. Grenardo
11:10 a.m.-12:20 p.m., Lawyering Abroad, B. Koch

Second Session (July 19 – Aug. 3)
8:30-9:40 a.m., International Business Transactions (continuation), R. Flint
9:50-11:00 a.m., Equal Protection in the U.S. and Europe, P. Higginbotham
11:10 a.m.-12:20 p.m., International Child Abduction, G. Hébert Fajardo


First Session
The examination in International Sports Law will be a take-home as assigned in class.
The examination in International Business Transactions will be at the end of the second session.
The examination in Lawyering Abroad will be take-home as assigned in class.

Second Session
Thursday, Aug. 2, 4-6 p.m., International Business Transactions
Thursday, Aug. 2 2-3 p.m., Equal Protection in the U.S. and Europe

The time and format of the exam in International Child Abduction are to be determined

Student Performance

Regular class attendance is required. A student who misses more than one-third 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 announced by the professor during the first week of the course. 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.

Traveling to Europe

Law students in the summer study abroad program sit high above the city in the Alps, looking down on InnsbruckNow is the time to begin planning your air travel for the summer. The following information may help.

Passport. You will need a valid passport to travel to Europe. If you do not have one, you should apply immediately, as the process can take several weeks. Information is available at any post office or from the U.S. State Department. The State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs website provides current travel information, alerts, and warnings, in addition to a country specific information sheet for Austria.  You can find this information here.

Destination Cities. Relatively few participants fly into Innsbruck, which has a small airport. Most participants fly into Munich, the closest major airport, approximately two hours from Innsbruck by train or shuttle. Zurich and Milan are each about four hours away, and Frankfurt and Vienna are each five hours away. All of these cities are close enough to be feasible air destinations. You might consider flying into one city and out of a different city, as this opens up your travel opportunities and typically doesn’t cost any more.

London is often the cheapest air destination in Europe, and several discount airlines offer service from London to Munich or Salzburg, each about two hours from Innsbruck by train. The discount fares are attractive, but, if you book with one of these carriers, you should plan on paying a surcharge if you travel with more than a minimal amount of luggage. Also, these airlines will likely fly out of a different airport from the one at which your U.S. flight arrives. Discount airlines include Easyjet, Ryan Air, TUIfly, germanwings and Air Berlin, all of which have English language websites.

Cost. Last summer, the going rate for economy airfares was in the neighborhood of $1,400. Some students found student tickets through discounters for as little as $900, and some paid more than $1,600. Obviously, you need to shop around to get the best available fare. You should be aware that advertised fares often are not available for stays exceeding thirty days.

Shopping for Airfares. Check for flights at Student Travel (1-800-781-4040), and To secure the best fare, you will need to monitor the Internet carefully or make frequent calls to airlines and travel agents.

When to Book. The longer you wait, the harder it may be to fly on the days on which you want to travel. It is often particularly difficult to schedule flights returning from Europe to the U.S. in August. You should book your flight as soon as you find an acceptable fare, as good fares tend to disappear quickly.

Rail Travel. Student Travel can provide information on rail passes. Rick Steves Travel has an excellent interactive guide to rail passes, or you can check with Rail Europe. Many different kinds of passes are available, and you will need to make some comparisons to determine which is best for you. Sometimes it is cheaper just to buy point-to-point tickets, especially if you don’t intend to make numerous trips over long distances.

Questions? If you have any questions, please email Professor Gerald Reamey.

Medical Insurance

Medical insurance is not provided by St. Mary’s University to students or faculty in the program. Students are encouraged to obtain medical insurance if they believe that is necessary.

You can find more information about the St. Mary’s University Study Abroad Plan – Blanket Student Accident and Sickness Insurance here.

Summer Housing Information

There is a separate application procedure for housing, which can be arranged through the agent listed below. Please note that rooms in each category are limited and are allocated on a first- come basis. Find additional accommodation details (PDF).

Housing Contact:
Claire Aubry
Peter T. McLean/Ambrose Historical Tours 2612 Esplanade Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70119 (504) 486-8100
(504) 486-8060 fax

Summer Program Tuition and Costs

Hikers climb a lush green mountain in the Alps, with snowcapped peaks in the backgroundThe tuition in Innsbruck is the same as at the home campus of St. Mary’s University, which currently is $1,235 per credit. There are no special fees, but students must purchase the books required for their courses.

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. Classes begin on Monday, July 2 (students should arrive in Innsbruck no later than Sunday, July 1). The last exams will be no later than Friday, August 3rd.

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 $1400. Many students purchase a Eurail pass to enable them to travel by train. Depending upon the type of Eurail pass purchased, the cost might range between $500 and $800. Some persons spend considerably less for rail travel, and others more.

The cost of food and meals in Innsbruck is approximately what a student might pay in the United States. Students must purchase books 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. Weekend expenditures in the neighborhood of $200 per person would not be uncommon. 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.

The recommended application deadline is June 1, 2018.

Apply online

A PDF application is also available here.

Summer Study Abroad Scholarships

A memorial scholarship in the name of Sarah K. Thompson is available for 2016 Innsbruck participants who regularly attend St. Mary’s University School of Law. Two recipients will receive awards. Please submit the Sarah Thompson Memorial Fund 2018 Innsbruck application form to Sister Grace Walle, FMI, Campus Minister for the law school, by 5 p.m. on March 30, 2018.

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. Please submit the Flint Fund application form to Sister Grace Walle by 5 p.m. on March 30, 2018.

ClaytonRamirez, PLLC established the ClaytonRamirez, PLLC Law Innsbruck Scholarship to assist students who hope to study in Innsbruck. Please submit the ClaytonRamirez, PLLC Law Innsbruck Scholarship application form to Sister Grace Walle by 5 p.m. on March 30, 2018.

The Founders “Institute on World Legal Problems in Innsbruck” Scholarship honors the professors who founded the program in 1986. Please submit the Founders “Institute on World Legal Problems in Innsbruck” Scholarship application to to Sister Grace Walle by 5 p.m. on March 30, 2018.

Finally, the Emiliano Infante Segrera Scholarship is offered through the generous support of Emil R. Infante. For more information, contact Professor Gerald Reamey.

  • Registration Changes
    Course additions, substitutions, withdrawals, and audits are permitted only if such changes do not run afoul of minimum/maximum credit hour requirements.

    Adding Courses

    Students seeking to add a course must do so prior to the third meeting of the class. Extra books and study materials normally are not available in Innsbruck. Students should take this factor into consideration when making final course selections or requesting course changes.

    Auditing Courses

    Changing from graded enrollment to audit is permitted until the middle of the instruction portion of the course.

    Dropping Courses

    A student is permitted to withdraw from a course any time prior to the examination or equivalent deadline. The withdrawal will not appear on the student’s transcript, unless the withdrawal occurs after the expiration of the refund period (see below).

    Tuition Refunds

    Tuition in a course is refunded according to a sliding scale based on the date of the student’s withdrawal from the course:

    Before the third class meeting: 100 percent
    After the third class meeting and before the fourth class meeting: 67 percent
    After the fourth class meeting and before the fifth class meeting: 33 percent
    After five class meetings: no refund

    Refund Information


    St. Mary’s University has never canceled a foreign study program. The only foreseeable circumstance under which cancellation would be likely would be conditions in Europe threatening the safety of Americans abroad. Were such events to transpire, St. Mary’s University would make a full refund of tuition and would assist students in registering for other foreign programs.

    Refund Information

Learn more about the Innsbruck summer program

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

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Or contact us at:

Innsbruck Law Program
St. Mary’s University
School of Law
One Camino Santa Maria
San Antonio, TX 78228-8603
1-800-INTL-LAW (1-800-468-5529)

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