Penn Law launches innovative program in Latin American and Latino Studies Program
In recognition of the mounting importance of Latin Americ as both a
rapidly growing global legal market and the hub of much U.S. immigration
debate, the University of Pennsylvania Law School has established the
innovative Certificate of Study in Latin American an Latino Studies. In
collaboration with Penn's Latin American and Latino Studies Program,
the new certificate will enable Penn Law students to enrich their legal
educations by gaining knowledge of the social, cultural, and political
issues facing Latinos and Latin Americans, while also affording
opportunities for students to develop greater fluency in the legal
lanscapes, history, and languages of the region. Studens will be able
to participate in the program at the start of the 2014-2015 academic
"Today's law graduates faces challenges that cross
boundaries and borders, whether they work on issues of immigration,
global transactional law, or the environment", said Wendell Pritchett,
Interim Dean of Penn Law. "The new Certficate in Latin American and
Latino Studies is emblematic of our interdisciplinary approach to
educating the next generation of lawyers, and our ongoing commitment to
international legal training."
"This new certificate will ad to
the knowledge students gain at the Law School and allow them to broaden
their understanding of important legal issues by examining Latin America
through a social scientific lens," noted Professor Emilio A. Parrado,
Director of Penn's Latin American and Latino Studies Program and Chair
the Sociology Department.
Recent debates regarding Arizona's
controversial immigration legislation, the DREAM Act, and the record
numbers of unaccompanied children crossing into the United States from
Centrl America have all underscored the fact that many of them most
pressing legal issues of today required not just knowledge of the law,
but an understanding of the history, language, and culture of Latinos
and Latin Americans, as well.
"More and more", students are
seeking the kind of knowledge and cultural understanding this
certificate program provides." said Jennifer Leonard L'04, Director of
the Center on Professionalism and Penn Law. "Further, employers are
telling us that they are not just looking for sharp legal minds, they
seek associates that are prepared to succeed in the growing
To earn the certificate, students must
complete five courses in the area of Latin American and Latino Studies.
Two of these courses are taken at Penn Law, and the remaining three
courses are taken in Penn's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
Courses offering within the Law School include Public International Law,
International Business Transactions, Refugee Law, and Interantion Trade
Regulation. Non-law courses topics ranging from Latin American
Political Economy to International Migration.
Students must also
demostrate proficiency in Spanish, French, Porutuguese, or a less
commonly taught language such as Yucatec Maya, Quechua, or Haitian
The new certificate builds upon Penn Law's growing
engagement in Latin America. For example, the 2014-2015 Global Research
Seminar, " Rising Powers: Power Shifts in International Law and Global
Governance,' will bring 14 students and a faculty memeber to Brazil to
conduct field research and meet with scholars and practitioners there.
In January 2015 the Law School will offer students its third annual
immersion bootcamp, "Spanish Language for the Legal Professional."
over a decade Penn Law's Transnational Legal Clinic and the student-run
Latino Law Students Association (LALSA) have both been engaged in pro
bono work within Latino immigration communities in Philadelphia, as well
as overseas fieldwork in Mexico, Ecuador, Haiti, Cuba, and Costa Rica.
And in recent years the Law School has become a magnet for legal
scholars from the region, including several resident visiting scholars
and researchers, and 20 students in this year's LLM Class.
the new certificate program, Penn Law continues its unparalleled
commitment to cross-disciplinary eduation. The certificate in Latin
American an Latino studies is the newest of 35 joint degree and
certificates currently offered by Penn Law, a national leader in
interdisciplinary legal education.