Japan’s Keio University and the University of Washington have added another field of study, strengthening their already enduring academic partnership. The two law schools cooperated to launch a dual degree program for Master of Law (LL.M.) in April, to train competent law professionals to better handle challenges in the globalized 21st century. The program allows participating students to obtain LL.M. degrees from both of the law schools by spending one semester at Keio and two quarters at Washington. The program is part of the Global Legal Practice program at the Keio Law School, where all of the courses are taught in English; a first-of-its-kind among Japanese law schools. The University of Washington offers seven specialization areas for the LL.M. degree; Asian and Comparative Law, Global Business, Health, Intellectual Property, Sustainable International Development, Tax, and General Law. Keio students can obtain an American license to practice law by taking Common Law classes during the program and successfully passing the bar exam for the State of Washington. The two schools have inclusive exchange programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. For many years, comprehensive agreements between the Universities’ Schools of Pharmacy, Nursing, and Law have enabled the institutions to work together in teaching and research.
Welcoming international students is nothing new for the state of Washington. University of Washington hosts the tenth most international students of any American school, with 8,529 students accounting for 15% of the student body. As a state, the enrollment share of international students is 8%, which is higher than the national average of 5.2%. In the 2011-2012 academic year 73% of the international students in Washington were from Asia, and with the 28,624 foreign students mostly located in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue area, supporting 7,944 jobs and contributing more than $825 million to the state’s economy.
Yumiko Kozu is a research intern at the East-West Center in Washington and an exchange student at Dartmouth College.