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Bucerius Law School (BLS): Hamburg, Germany

a. General Information

Founded in 2000 by the ZEIT‐Stiftung, one of Germany’s largest, private, non‐profit foundations, Bucerius Law School was Germany’s first privately‐operated law school. Its founders had the goal of offering prospective law students an alternative to the standard legal education provided at German state universities: their main objective was to create an academically accomplished, practiceoriented and bilingual legal education with a focus on international business law.

Already hailed as one of the top law faculties in Germany, one of Bucerius’ strengths is its internationalism. All undergraduate students pursuing the LL.B. degree are required to spend a semester at one of Bucerius’ more than 92 partner institutions worldwide. Students gain further insight into the legal practice through mandatory internships. Bucerius’ faculty includes several practicing legal professionals, so students learn from both scholars and practitioners. The Bucerius curriculum boasts of foreign legal language courses conducted in Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish; lectures in business administration; courses in national and international business law; and a diverse, obligatory general studies program.

Bucerius Law School is located in a beautiful historic building that has been newly renovated and equipped with the most advanced technology. A modern auditorium building complements the campus. The Hengeler Mueller Library and three IT Centers are open to students 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and wireless internet access is available throughout campus. Almost all Bucerius Law School facilities are accessible to individuals with disabilities.

b. The Exchange Program

The program is specially designed for law students from Bucerius’ impressive network of 93 partner universities in 31 countries and is geared towards students wishing to deepen their understanding of the forces shaping international business law. Students gain insight into the day‐to‐day practice of international commercial law from experienced professionals working in the field and explore the more theoretical side of international business law with guest professors from around the world. The program offers a unique opportunity for participants to expand their knowledge of German, European and international law. Courses are taught solely in English. In countries (such as the United States) where law is studied at a graduate level, applicants must have completed at least one year of legal studies at the time the program begins. In countries (such as Germany) where law is studied at an undergraduate level, applicants must have completed at least two years of their legal education before beginning the program.

The 2014 program will take place from September 3 to December 19, 2014 and is divided into two sessions; each session lasts six weeks and is followed by a one‐week exam period. Participants study alongside some 100 other students from around the world, who are also spending the fall semester at Bucerius. The program’s diverse student body and faculty provide the ideal setting for the exchange of legal and cultural perspectives from different countries.

Academic studies at Bucerius are balanced by a selection of interesting extracurricular activities that better acquaint students with their new surroundings. The activities offered include guided tours in and around Hamburg, visits to museums, lectures about the German political system, day excursions to Lübeck and Lüneburg, a study day at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and several social events with Bucerius students. During the week‐long break in the academic program, Bucerius organizes an optional study trip to Berlin and Potsdam for a limited number of students at an additional cost. This trip offers students the unique opportunity to see Germany’s capital in a way that would be very difficult for the students to organize as individuals.

As of 2013, Bucerius offers the unique opportunity to earn a “Certificate in Management and Leadeship for Lawyers”, which students can enroll in as an optional module during their semester at Bucerius. Certificate courses are offered in cooperation with the Bucerius Center on the Legal Profession, which was founded in 2010 to observe current developments in the legal services market and to provide lawyers with technical knowledge that extends beyond a mere understanding of law. Course topics cover areas such as negotiation, business skills for lawyers, mediation and lawyering in a globalized world.

c. Academic Calendar 

The 2014-2015 academic calendar is here.

d. Language Instruction

The language of instruction for the International Exchange Program is English, although students proficient in legal German may also sit in on some of the LL.B. courses.

NOTE: Although the law courses are offered in English, students are encouraged to study German to increase their understanding of the country and its culture. For this reason, Bucerius offers optional German language courses at an additional cost.

e. Academic Requirenment for Admissions Exchange Program

Prior to the start of the program, students are required to have completed at least two years of legal studies when law is studied at an undergraduate level and at least one year of legal studies when law is studied at a graduate level.

f. Standard Course Loads

The International Exchange Program is split into two six‐week sessions with an exam week following each session. Some courses only last for one session, whereas others are spread out over both sessions. Most courses are worth 2 ABA credits.

Students may select as many courses as they want, but are required to take a minimum of 4 ABA credits per session (thus 8 ABA credits during the International Exchange Program).

The German Law Survey course is the only mandatory course. Although credits can be earned with the German Law Survey Course, these credits do not count towards the minimum requirement of 8 ABA credits during the program.

Bucerius advises students to take an extra course in case they do not pass all of their exams.

g. Course Enrollment and Registration

Course pre‐registration is completed online through Bucerius’ intranet. Students receive their log‐in and password after being accepted to the program and are asked to complete the preregistration between August 1-15, 2014. Once the program officially begins, you can add and drop courses according to certain deadlines, which are thoroughly explained during the mandatory Orientation Program (September 3-5, 2014). Some courses are limited to a maximum number of participants.

h. Grading System

With rare exceptions, courses are graded based on students’ performance in the final exams. Exams are not graded on a curve.

Exams are first graded by Bucerius faculty in accordance with the Bucerius grading system – i.e. on a scale of A‐F, similar to that in the U.S. The lowest passing grade is a C.

i. Application Procedure

  • A completed application form, available here.
  • A brief statement of purpose (approximately one page explaining your areas of special interest, why you wish to study at Bucerius, previous international experience, etc.)
  • A letter or an e‐mail from SLS confirming that you have been selected to apply for the International Exchange Program at Bucerius
  • A transcript of grades from SLS
  • One passport‐sized photo
  • A curriculum Vitae or resume

Please mail your application to:

Kasia Kwietniewska
Clifford Chance International Office
Bucerius Law School
Jungiusstr. 6
20355 Hamburg

With the exception of the transcript, which must be sent in hard copy, you are welcome to send all other application documents electronically.

j. Application Deadline

April 15, 2014.

k. Housing Information

Bucerius does not have any on‐campus or dormitory housing of its own; however, the International Office does its best to assist students in finding housing. A limited number of apartments and rooms will be available on a sublet basis from Bucerius students leaving for their semester abroad in the fall. Rent varies greatly and can range anywhere from EUR 300 to EUR 650 per month depending on the size and location of the apartment or room.

Bucerius also reserves rooms in private dormitories in Hamburg through the Studierendenwerk. Dormitory housing is more affordable than apartment housing, but spots are limited. Accepted students will have the chance to apply for dormitory housing around the beginning of May. In addition, Bucerius has worked out a cooperation agreement with the agency City Wohnen, which offers contacts for interim housing. The agency charges a commission fee, but Bucerius students receive a 15% discount.

All contact data and additional information about the housing market in Hamburg, including neighborhood descriptions, common abbreviations in housing ads, useful links and much more, can be found on Bucerius’ intranet sites. Accepted students will be able to access the intranet in late April 2014 and available sublets will be available starting on June 1, 2014. More information about housing in Hamburg can be found here.

l. Visa/Immigration Information

Visa and Residence Permit:
US citizens do not need a visa to travel to Germany, but must obtain a student visa once in Germany. The International Office will assist students in applying for this visa, provided you send the necessary application documents to the International Office by July 15, 2014.

These documents include:

  • One biometric photo (in hard copy)
  • Proof of financial support (original, hard copy)
  • Proof of health insurance covering you in Germany for the entire semester for up to EUR 30,000
  • In addition, you must submit the following documents upon arrival:
  • Passport valid for the full duration of your stay
  • Two application forms (to be filled out with Bucerius’ assistance during the Orientation Program on Sept. 3-5)
  • Proof of housing (to be completed during the Orientation Program on Sept. 3-5)
  • Marriage / birth certificate for an accompanying spouse or children, if applicable (submit upon arrival).

Detailed information regarding the visa application will be provided in the Student Handbook, which will be sent to students once admitted to the program.

m. Fees

Students will pay their normal tuition to Stanford for the quarter during which they study at Bucerius.

n. Estimated Cost of Living

Below is an estimated chart of expenses for international students at Bucerius Law School. However, please note that students’ requirements can vary significantly, depending on how much is spent on housing, travel and living expenses.

Overall Amount: €5,400
Details below:

  • Housing: €2,000
  • Food & clothes: €1,100
  • Health insurance: €130
  • Liability insurance: €50
  • German residency permit: €100
  • City registration: €10
  • Books and course material: € 150 ‐ 200
  • Travel and other expenses*: €1,400
  • German course (optional): €150
  • Study trip to Berlin (optional): €260

*Students planning on traveling around Germany or Europe during the exchange should budget more to cover additional expenses.

Most students find that their life is much easier with a German bank account. Although it is not always possible to open an account for only 3 or 4 months, Bucerius has an arrangement with our house bank to allow you to open an account and obtain a euro check card (like a debit and ATM card), which is ready and waiting for you when the program begins. This spares you the hassle of having to apply for an account on your own.

o. Health Insurance Requirements

Health/Liability Insurance:
For visa purposes, you must show proof of health insurance covering you in Germany for the duration of your stay. You can either purchase travelers health insurance in the U.S., ask whether your current policy covers you abroad or Bucerius can assist in getting coverage under an affordable German insurance policy. The policy offered through Bucerius satisfies the German requirements for the residence permit. Coverage is pro‐rated and costs approximately EUR 30 per month.

p. Program Contacts/Advisors at Bucerius

Bucerius University Contacts/Inquiries:

Kasia Kwietniewska
Director of the International Office
Mailing Address:
Bucerius Law School, Clifford Chance International Office
Street Address:
Jungiusstrasse 6, 20355 Hamburg, Germany
Phone: +49‐40‐30706 109
Fax: +49‐40‐30706 287

Annalena Galle
Assistant Director of the International Office (Outgoing Students)
Phone: +49‐40‐30706 264
Fax: +49‐40‐30706 287

Sabrina Henning
Programs Coordinator (Incoming students)
Phone: +49‐40‐30706 113
Fax: +49‐40‐30706 287

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