Front row, left to right: Alan Mireles, Scarlett Jaramillo Nuño, Professor and Distinguished Director Emeritus Bill MacPherson, Professor Pedro Vázquez Nieto, Sandy Cruz, Joan Hicks de Romero, Professor and Associate Dean for International Programs Jorge Ramírez, Barbara MacPherson, Mher Cholakhyan, and Professor Bill Keffer. Middle row, left to right: Valerie Brizuela, Deshawnda Chaparro, Andrea Nfodjo, and Joshua Reyes. Back row, left to right: Christian Roldan, Emily Thaker, Andrew Tingan, and Ivan Mendoza.
Many law students look for opportunities to differentiate themselves from their peers. For 26 years, the Guanajuato Summer Law Institute has provided students with the unique chance to gain a perspective of a different culture and legal system.
“Unfortunately, as an undergrad, I never had the chance to participate in a study-abroad program, so this was an invaluable opportunity for me to do so,” rising 2L Andrew Tingan said. “In addition to a comparative study of law, I wanted the opportunity to study in a Latin American country to improve my working knowledge of the Spanish language. The Summer Law Institute in Guanajuato provided me all of those things and much more.”
The Guanajuato Summer Law Institute is co-sponsored by Texas Tech Law, Southwestern Law School, the University of New Mexico School of Law, and Universidad de Guanajuato Facultad de Derecho. These schools collectively provide students with a chance to gain a deeper understanding of international law in a market that becomes more global every day.
“In 2015, for the fourteenth year in a row, Texas was ranked as the number one state by export revenues, and our number one trading partner was Mexico,” explains Professor Jorge A. Ramírez, Associate Dean for International Programs. “Mexico is also the third largest trading partner for the United States as a whole. In addition, Texas shares the longest stretch of the international border with our neighbor to the south. These are only some of the factors that lead to the need for cross-border legal services.”
Students take courses ranging from U.S. & Mexican Immigration Law to International and Comparative Energy Law while in Guanajuato. However, their time in Mexico is not spent only in the classroom. The students also have time to explore the city and immerse themselves into the culture they are learning about.
“My interest in international law was strengthened infinitely after a study of the differences between the American and Mexican legal systems,” Tingan said. “Dean Ramírez was able to strike the delicate balance of crafting a rigorous curriculum, yet allowing us to experience the cultural context of what we covered in the classroom.”
The knowledge gained from professors with experience in international law is invaluable to students competing for jobs and adds another benefit to the Guanajuato Summer Law Institute.
“The experience allows our students to distinguish themselves from other law students during job interviews by emphasizing the importance of employing lawyers who have experienced life in Mexico,” Ramírez noted. “These students have studied with Mexican legal scholars as well as U.S. legal scholars, and they have networked with Mexican judges, academics, and lawyers.”
In addition to the educational aspect of the institute, students gain new perspective and enhanced professionalism in their time abroad. Students can also acquire the ability to see legal issues with a wider lens, which is certainly an asset for future employers.