December 05, 2009
London 2010!
Posted by Gordon Smith

Next summer I will be teaching a course called "Corporations: U.S. and Transnational Perspectives" in Georgetown Law School's London Summer Program. Since 2001 I have been teaching fairly regularly in summer abroad programs, and I am excited for the opportunity to spend four weeks in London. If you are a student checking out summer programs, here is the flyer for this one.

If you are a young professor thinking about spending a summer abroad, the main reason to refrain is that these programs tend not to leave a lot of time for research. You will teach two hours a day, five days a week. When you aren't teaching, you need to spend time preparing for the next day's class, and that also means that this is not equivalent to a European vacation. 

So why do I do it? The initial incentive was my interest in comparative corporate law and EU studies. Although most of my scholarship and teaching focus on U.S. law, I have done some comparative writing and teaching, and I am interested in doing more. Summer programs usually provide a nice opportunity to study law in a comparative dimension, and they often involve networking opportunities with non-U.S. professors.

A secondary benefit is that family members always accompany me on these trips. Sometimes the whole family goes, sometimes just one or two children. Although the modest stipend that accompanies these gigs is never enough to cover all of our expenses, I am grateful that my children have been able to experience many countries in Europe, as well as Australia and China. (By the way, I have a son who is keen to visit Greece, so if you know of any opportunities there ...) 

Third, even though my days will not be free of labor, many afternoons and evenings, as well as most weekends, are filled with tours, shows, restaurants, etc. We tend to stay close to home base on these adventures, so rather than trying to see all of England, we will spend most of our time right in London. Frankly, I find that experiencing a city in short intervals like this is much more enjoyable than trying to cram in all of the top sights in a few days.

Finally, if I did not love living in the U.S. so much, I would gladly live in Europe, and these summer excursions provide a taste of that life most summers. We always rent a private apartment, condo, or home, and we enjoy shopping at the local markets, riding the public transportation, or relaxing in parks or cafes.

 Just writing all of that makes me anxious for London!

Globalization/Trade, Law Schools/Lawyering, Travel | Bookmark

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