Financial Times: EMBL- HSG one of the most innovative law programs for mid-career legals and business professionals

Nov 25 2011
by Adam Palin
 

As businesses have become ever more inter­national in focus and reach, the law firms and lawyers who work for them have adopted a more global approach to ­ensure they are equipped to cope with complex cross-border deals and provide advice across jurisdictions.

That is feeding through to the ­institutions that train the lawyers of the future: law schools are placing increasing emphasis on commercial law and business knowledge, often through innovative joint ventures with business schools.

(...) International experience is very much the essence of a distinctive part-time programme at the University of St Gallen in Switzerland. Designed for mid-career legal and business professionals, the Executive Master of European and International Business Law comprises nine one-week modules, taught over 18 months. Each module is taught in a different location, taking students to eight countries on three continents.

According to Carl Baudenbacher, programme director, the idea is to provide students with access to world-class specialists. Conceding that the extensive travel involved is a novel attraction, Prof Baudenbacher also highlights “the sheer value of exposure to cultural differences”. This value is particularly acute, he notes, in the case of modules concerning business and law in China and Japan, each taught in the respective country.

Conflict resolution, he adds, is one area where “on-the-spot study has no substitute”. The nine modules cover a wide area of international business law, including mergers and acquisitions, taught in Frankfurt, and energy law, taught in Texas. “The key to success today lies in generalist education, not specialisation,” Prof Baudenbacher says. “The focus must be on methodology, as the ability to solve complex problems is becoming more important.”

It is the development of critical thinking skills, and their application to international commercial law, that has the biggest impact on students’ diverse careers, Prof Baudenbacher says. “As the age of deregulation is being challenged, it is increasingly important for businesses to have a knowledge of law,” he says.

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