Southwestern Faculty Approves Unique Summer Law Program in Armenia

Article via Southwestern
Law School 

years, Los Angeles’ second oldest law school has had a special relationship
with the Armenian-American community.

Home to over 130 law students of Armenian heritage, Southwestern also boasts a
cadre of active and engaged Armenian-American alumni who for decades have been
leaders in the Armenian community as well as the community at large.
Southwestern’s commitment to the Armenian community was recently reflected
through the unprecedented and much lauded Southwestern Armenia Fellowship that
was established with Armenia’s Ministry of Justice, from 2012 to 2014.
Southwestern has now taken another unprecedented step in supporting the
Armenian community and recognizing the important role Armenia can play in the
international education and training of legal practitioners. The faculty at
Southwestern Law School propose to establish the first ever U.S. law school
program in Yerevan, Armenia, with the goal that the program will begin in summer

Southwestern is approved by the American Bar Association (ABA), and Summer
Abroad programs must also be approved by the ABA before implementation. Having
secured faculty support, the next step is to obtain ABA approval for the
Yerevan program. Spearheaded by Vice Dean Anahid Gharakhanian, the program has
received the enthusiastic support of Dean Susan Prager, faculty and students.

Yerevan Summer Program for Law Students

plan is for the Yerevan Summer Abroad Program to be hosted at the American
University of Armenia, mid-June to mid-July, and offering 4 units of law school
credit. The program will be open to all J.D. students from ABA-approved law
schools. To enhance the program’s comparative and international nature, the
program will also take several law students from Armenia, and will include
academic and social excursions and gatherings.  Students will have the
option of taking 2 courses from the following 4 offerings, focused on
international trade/business and human rights:

  • International Human Rights Research and Advocacy – Middle East and North Africa; Professor Sarah Leah Whitson, Human Rights Watch Executive Director, Middle East and North African Division   
  • Media as an International Human Right; Professor David Goldberg, international lecturer and expert on law and information rights
  • Business Writing and Drafting; Professor Alexandra D’Italia, Director of the Writing Center at Southwestern
  • International Trade Law: The Main Instruments of the WTO System; Professor Adelaida Baghdasaryan, Chair, American University of Armenia LL.M. Program  

in Yerevan for Prospective Law Students

will also offer a 2-week prelaw course for those headed to law school or
exploring the idea. Vice Dean Gharakhanian, who is also Professor of Legal
Analysis, Writing and Skills and Director of the Externship Program at
Southwestern, will teach this course. The prelaw course will educate students
about the fundamentals of doing well in law school, including introduction to
legal reasoning as well as oral and written articulation of legal issues and
analysis. Students will also develop core study and professional skills that
are critical to success in law school and the legal profession.

Southwestern Yerevan Summer Abroad Program is pending approval by the American
Bar Association Accreditation Committee. In the meantime, questions about the summer
law program or the prelaw course can be directed to Vice Dean Gharakhanian at

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