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Reflections on Dublin Study Abroad

By Meghan Drake

I’m sure you’ve got your law school mental checklist: the books, classes, outlines, summer clerkships, and study groups. Did study abroad ever cross your mind? Probably not, but there is a hidden gem at the University of Tulsa College of Law: A study abroad program for law students, which gives law students experience in international law and working in an international setting in Dublin, Ireland.

I attended TU’s Dublin Study Abroad Program this summer, and I already know it will be one of my favorite experiences in law school. While we were there, I took classes in the morning, and I externed in the afternoon. I ended up taking back six credit hours that lightened my load for the upcoming semesters.

The classes offered were European Union Law, Comparative Tort Law, Intellectual Property Law, and International Children’s Rights. These classes were brilliant, especially Comparative Tort Law. Having taken Torts my first semester, learning about tort liability on an international level refined my own knowledge of tort law here in the states. These classes helped my knowledge of the law, and it was fascinating to take European Union Law while Brexit was underway! My professor came in every morning saying, “You’re living through history!”

In addition to classes, I externed in the office of Ireland’s Attorney General. This was unlike any previous internship. My supervisor encouraged me to sit back and reflect on the litigation I was reading and on what it meant to be a lawyer. I had long discussions with her on different topics in Irish and European Union Law, and I had coffee with an attorney who worked on litigation that was of interest to me. It was very interesting to compare a U.S. attorney to an Irish attorney, and consider the different ideas about the role of the law and government in each system.

Both the classes and the externship were incredibly valuable. It allowed me to knock out some credits, especially my international law requirement, add an interesting work experience on my resume, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how fabulous it was to end my first year of law school with travel in Europe. The Dublin Study Abroad Program is four weeks long, and I went two weeks early. I initially traveled to New York, London, and around the southern and western coasts of Ireland. The program also provides a tour through Dublin, and a tour through Ireland’s famous Wicklow Moutains. Then, while I was in the program, I spent my four-day weekend in Scotland. Some of my friends even went to Malta!

As a law student, there are different ABA-approved Study Abroad Programs available to you, but TU College of Law has such an asset in having the Dublin Study Abroad Program that has been successful for over a decade. When I entered the Attorney General’s Office in Dublin, everyone knew I was from TU College of Law, because they have had so many TU law students work for them through this program. In addition, Ireland is a common law jurisdiction (now, the only one left in the European Union!), which allows for a more in-depth study of the law than if you needed to accustom yourself to a civil code jurisdiction.

Beyond the intellectual stimulation you’ll find in the international law classes, the valuable experience while externing, or the fun of traveling around Europe, the Irish cows are sure to make you smile.