Veröffentlicht am 31.05.2021.
Prof. Ira Trako and Askan Deutsch, why is SLU a good choice?
Prof. Trako: I am a full-time faculty member at Saint Louis University School of Law (SLU LAW), where I serve as the Program Director for the LL.M. in American Law for Foreign Lawyers Degree Program. I also serve as the Associate Director for the SLU LAW Center for International & Comparative Law. I have been at SLU LAW since 2013, and my teaching and research focuses on criminal law, international and comparative criminal law, public international law, and immigration law.
Askan Deutsch: I have been a practicing attorney in Hamburg, Germany, for more than 18 years in the field of intellectual property. I have been admitted as an attorney in Germany in 2002 and in New York in 2001. After my year as an exchange student in Ohio 1989-1990, I have kept close contacts to the US and consequently studied 10 years later in St. Louis. Maintaining those international connections are a core part of my self understanding of global citizenship.
Mr. Deutsch, you have completed your state examination in Germany in 1998. Why did you decide to pursue an LL.M. at Saint Louis University and which LL.M. program did you choose and why?
Askan Deutsch: I decided to pursue the LL.M. program at St. Louis University in order to maintain my connections to the US, get to know the international legal world more closely and last but not least to get to know something different than good old Germany during the time I waited for my work as a practical legal assistant (“Referendar”) in Hamburg. I chose the law program with international context and, where possible, intellectual property classes.
Besides being an Attorney-at-Law in Germany, you received your Attorney admission in the State of New York in 2002. Why did you choose to qualify yourself as a lawyer in the State of New York and on which “route” did you get to this qualification?
Askan Deutsch: During my LL.M. year I found out that it was theoretically possible by taking certain basic legal classes and a professional responsibility test to be eligible to take the New York bar exam and thereby be admitted as an attorney-at-law in a foreign country. Taking the tests and the intense preparation was quite a challenge, but with this additional qualification I was able to improve my CV and increase my chances to become a lawyer in Germany in an international law firm.
This particularly applies to intellectual property law, which historically has a rather international setup. For this route, it was necessary to present the foreign first state examination confirmation, attend certain basic legal courses during the LL.M. year, pass the professional responsibility test and of course in the end attend a two months BARBRI program to learn the vast materials necessary for the bar examination.
You are working more than ten years as a certified lawyer. According to you, what are the main differences between being a lawyer in Germany and in the State of New York?
Askan Deutsch: From my experience in working in Germany for more than 18 years and from what I know about work in my field of IP Law in the US, the legal system in Germany is primarily tailored at educating Judges, whereas the lawyer’s profession is of only of secondary relevance at that stage.
Distinct from the common law system with jury trials, the statutory and court legal system in my view facilitates access to courts, while the US system focuses on out of court solutions, last but not least due to the high costs of civil court cases in the US. But to be honest I have never practiced as an attorney in the State of New York, so that I cannot compare the actual everyday work.
Prof. Trako, before joining Saint Louis University you worked as an attorney in a law company. Why did you choose to become a professor at SLU LAW and what, in your eyes, defines the University?
Prof. Ira Trako: As a SLU LAW alumna, I appreciate how SLU LAW prepared me for legal practice and empowered me with the skills to reach my professional goals. I knew that working in academia would be a rewarding and invigorating experience.
When the opportunity presented itself, I left private law practice and started working at SLU LAW. SLU LAW empowered me with the ability to define and create my career goals, and I am proud to be a part of a community that has such a positive and lasting impact on its students.
How does your legal experience in the law company affect your way of teaching at SLU?
Prof. Ira Trako: My legal experience as a litigator affects my teaching tremendously because my courses focus on building practical legal skills. Whether I am teaching students how to conduct legal research, improve their written and oral argument skills, or to think critically about a case, my legal experience enables me to highlight the intricacies of the everyday practice of law.
Which programs and degrees does Saint Louis University offer to their students and how important is practical relevance for the SLU?
Prof. Ira Trako: Saint Louis University School of Law offers a Juris Doctorate, a Two-Year Juris Doctorate for Foreign Lawyers, an LL.M. in American Law for Foreign Lawyers, and a LL.M. in Health Law. We take pride in our diverse practical skills courses, our four legal clinics, and several externship programs where students can improve their practical skills.
„Saint Louis University and Saint Louis University School of Law offer excellent academic programs that are very student-focused.“
Mr. Deutsch, you are specialised in the field of Intellectual Property Law and Copyright Law. Did your time at Saint Louis University influence your decision on your specialisation?
Askan Deutsch: I was already specialized in IP law before I came to St. Louis. I was happy that the curriculum included not only trademark, but also copyright and antitrust law. Attending these classes enabled me to get in touch with future colleagues, to whom I still have a connection. Continuing my interest for intellectual property was therefore also important for my further career and last but not least some client relationships to the US today.
What particularly attracted you to this area of law and how did your time at the Saint Louis University affect your career?
Askan Deutsch: Actually, I had been working as a law clerk and parallel to my studies in an IP law firm in Germany, which also worked in English and for Anglo-American clients. My LL.M. program in St. Louis encourage this work and intensified some of the contacts I already had and I found new contacts. As a matter of fact, I still cooperate with a law firms and clients from St. Louis.
My local experience was an important asset in acquiring these clients and my stay at SLU thereby enlarged my international network. It is a great advantage to be able to refer to the studies and experience in St. Louis as well as the time in New York during the Bar exam.
Most importantly, with my experience in the US I have the ability to relate to the way American lawyers and courts interpret the law and I know and can explain the procedural particularities in the US environment compared to the European and German system.
Additionally, you are a member of the New York Bar Association, which has members in 50 states and over 100 countries worldwide. What are the benefits of such a big network and are you also joining the networks for alumni students of Saint Louis University?
Askan Deutsch: The ABA network is a platform for other foreign and local lawyers and inhouse consultants to find me and for me to find clients and their backgrounds. I am also a member of the German American Lawyer Association (GALA = DAJV), which offers lectures and meetings all year and where I sometimes attend to meet colleagues, students and professionals from Germany and the US.
The same applies to the Alumni network, which I am happy to support. It is part of my networking activities which is in the end a way to create business and stay up to date on legal developments.
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Prof. Trako, you were awarded with the Juris Doctor in 2011 at the Saint Louis University and also did your LL.B. in history and economics at the SLU, thus you are strongly connected to the university. In your opinion, what are the most important reasons why students should do their LL.M. at your university?
Prof. Ira Trako: Saint Louis University and Saint Louis University School of Law offer excellent academic programs that are very student-focused. With faculty and staff advising, students receive tremendous support to define their academic focus and to find internships and networking opportunities. The excellent curriculum, extensive advising and support, along with an emphasis on collegiality and professionalism prepare our students to be excellent attorneys.
SLU LAW's location in the heart of the City of St. Louis. What activities would you recommend to foreign students and is there a place or event in the city that you would like to highlight?
Prof. Ira Trako: Because SLU LAW is in the heart of downtown St. Louis, there are many social activities within walking distance to the law school. I would recommend a walk over to the see the St. Louis Arch grounds or the St. Louis Wheel and Aquarium at Union Station.
Sports fans would enjoy a Blues hockey game at the Enterprise Center, or a Cardinals baseball game at Busch Stadium. There are many restaurants, café lounges, and dance clubs within walking distance on Washington Blvd. St. Louis city and metro offers a variety of activities for all ages and interests.
You are the Instructor of Law, Associate Director for the Center for International and Comparative Law and the Director for the LL.M. in American Law for Foreign Lawyers Degree Program. What are your obligations in these positions?
Prof. Ira Trako: As a full-time faculty member, I teach courses, administer academic programs, and advise and counsel our J.D. and LL.M. students. As the Associate Director for the SLU LAW Center for International and Comparative Law, I administer our international initiatives and study abroad programs, oversee our international partnership agreements, and serve as the Academic Adviser for our International and Comparative Law Concentration.
As the Director of the LL.M. in American Law for Foreign Lawyers degree program, I oversee international recruiting, international admissions, and advise our LL.M. students on their courses and bar preparation.
Due to the Corona pandemic, many universities had to close their doors. How has Saint Louis University reacted to the current situation and how can you continue to motivate your students?
Prof. Ira Trako: Saint Louis University offered a hybrid program during the COVID-19 pandemic, which means that we offered some classes in person, and some online. We followed strict CDC guidelines and made SLU a safe environment for student and faculty. St. Louis City and metro had an excellent response to COVID-19, so the University was able to successfully and carefully adjust to the pandemic.
Mr. Deutsch, you are listed in The Best Lawyers™ in Germany in the field of Intellectual Property Law since 2019. Do you think this award is a confirmation of the early decision for this area of law?
Askard Deutsch: Yes, this title is an important asset to confirm my standing in the IP legal world. It shows from a neutral source that colleagues and clients can rely on my legal advice in this area of law.
In your opinion, why should a student from Germany choose to pursue an LL.M. in the U.S., especially at Saint Louis University?
Askan Deutsch: I believe that an LL.M.-program in the US provides an excellent basis to get to know a different legal system, learn the special terminology of legal English. St. Louis is a city in the Midwest with a typical American environment.
Distinct from many more well known East Coast universities for example, it provides a very unique insight into college life together with US students, and only very few international students. Like this, students really get to know the people and life in the US.
After all the costs for such a year in St. Louis are significantly lower than in many other colleges, especially at the East and West Coast.
„Attending these classes enabled me to get in touch with future colleagues, to whom I still have a connection.“
Prof. Ira Trako: LL.M. students should take advantage of our diverse curriculum during their LL.M. program. It’s best to meet with Tara Maloud, our Assistant Director of International Admission start your research into the opportunities we have available. From LL.M. specialty tracks (Commercial & Business Track, Health Law Track, Intellectual Property Track, Labor and Employment Track, and Taxation Law Track), to four distinct law clinics, numerous externship opportunities, and specialized faculty and career advising, our LLM.. students have tremendous support to reach their professional goals.
Askan Deutsch: I recommend for any law student with international ambitions to “get out of the box” and spend a year abroad after finalizing the studies in Germany. If the pandemic allows, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to get to know people, culture, a different language and last but not least a different legal system.
Thank you, Prof. Ira Trako and Askan Deutsch!
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