This year, Oregon Law welcomed twenty-two students as part of the Master of Laws (LLM) Program. The students come from around the globe hailing from Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, South Korea, Kenya, and Liberia.
As part of the LLM program, students will pursue degrees in four concentration areas: American Law, Business Law, Conflict and Dispute Resolution, and Environmental Natural Resources Law. These concentrations are designed for both foreign and American lawyers who would like to continue their legal studies for professional advancement, in-depth study in a particular concentration, or development of a new practice area.
Mohamed Elian, program director of the LLM Program says that this LLM class represents various countries with diverse legal systems such as the civil law system, common law system, and the Islamic legal system.
“While they come from different legal backgrounds, they all have one goal: gain legal knowledge in the US and benefit from Oregon Law faculty expertise before returning to their countries to transfer the knowledge and experience they gained here to their communities.” Elian said.
For example, Tomik L. J. Vobah from Monrovia, Liberia, will study Conflict and Dispute Resolution through the LLM program. Vobah, is the General Counsel of Liberia’s Ministry of Health and a faculty member at the Kofi Annan School of Conflict Transformation at the University of Liberia. Vobah says that he believes the LLM degree will expose him to new methods of mediation, negotiation, or litigation. He also says that the program will prepare him to adeptly contribute to the pedagogy at the Kofi Annan School of Conflict Transformation at the University of Liberia, where he aspires to work after Oregon Law.
“I am pursuing LLM degree to expand my legal skills to enable me improve my efficiency and output at my current job and to contribute to the teaching faculty at the University of Liberia,” Vobah said. “I head a unit which provides wide range of legal services for the Ministry of Health including policy review, legal counsel, law review and reform, negotiation, and resolving disputes amongst other things. Given this wide range of functions, I want to expand my knowledge and expertise.”
Elian points out that many LLM students with a Business Law concentration are eager to access resources available at both the Eugene and Portland campuses. They can also participate in practical experience opportunities such as the Business Law Clinic. Other students are excited to work with the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Center’s faculty to learn from their expertise in fighting climate change. Students in the American Law Track look forward to learning about the American legal system, and many have shown interest in sitting for the bar exam before returning to their home countries.
Students from Saudi Arabia, Elian says, are eager to return to their country and contribute to the implementation of the Saudi Vision 2030 Program. The 2030 Program is a strategic framework to reduce Saudi Arabia's dependence on oil, diversify its economy, and develop public service sectors such as health, education, infrastructure, recreation, and tourism.
Gheith Aljawi is from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and pursuing a Business Law concentration. Before joining Oregon Law, Aljawi worked as a legal assistant at both SJK Law Firm and The International Legal Center Law Firm in Jeddah. He says that he chose Oregon’s LLM program from strong recommendations he gathered about the program from previous alumni.
“It offers a strong mix of training in a professional work atmosphere and strong academic performance,” said Aljawi.
By Rayna Jackson, School of Law Communications