Name: Marie-Amelie Simon
Home: Paris, France
Law School: University Paris II Panthéon-ASSAS
Where is home? What is it famous for?Home is Paris, the capital of France. Paris is a great cultural city, and it is also a city of human size where you enjoy living. It is famous for its well-known places such as the Eiffel Tower, Place de la Concorde, Notre-Dame… It also has very important museums such as the Louvre and the Centre Pompidou. France is also known for its excellent gastronomy, especially wine and cheese.
You enjoy sports and competed in figure skating, are you able to continue your interest in sports while at Duke?It has always been important for me to be able to practice sports intensively beside my studies, and I find Duke a perfect place to do that. The sports facilities on campus are amazing: you have unlimited access to the gym, pool, tennis courts, and many other things. I usually go running around the golf track, and regularly play tennis with a group of LLM students. It’s always great.
Having lived in Edinburgh and London for four years, in Copenhagen for three years, Birmingham (England) for a year, what made you decide to pursue your LLM in the U.S.? Why Duke?I lived in several countries with my family when I was younger, therefore I always knew that I wanted to do a part of my studies abroad. I chose to study in the U.S. because of the excellence in law teaching that is recognized all around the world. For me, the main advantage of studying law in the U.S. is that it gives me the great opportunity to take the bar exam after receiving the LLM, therefore permits me to be qualified as a lawyer in both my home country and in the U.S. I chose Duke among other universities because of its prestigious reputation and its well known professors, and because the LLM class has the perfect size. You get to know your classmates very well, as well as American JD students, and you benefit from a very dynamic alumni network. Last but not least, I wanted to experience something different from what I already had in a big city like Paris, thus living one year as a student on an American campus.
What do you like the most about Duke so far?In Duke, the first thing I enjoy is the law school. The new building is amazing, and it is a pleasure to come everyday at the law school for your courses and to meet your classmates. The library is very spacious, you have incredible resources and facilities, and many people are there to assist you if you need some help. There is also a great dynamism in everyday life: many events are organized every week, and you can always go to talks given by professionals and professors at lunchtime. Outside the law school, I also love the campus which I find beautiful especially with the sunny weather we have almost everyday. I will also mention the bar reviews that are organized by the students every Thursday evening that permit you to enjoy a night out with your classmates in Chapel Hill: it is always a lot of fun!
What is your plan after graduation? How do you think the LLM will help you to achieve your goal?After graduation, my plan is to take the New York bar exam and to find a position in a law firm in the U.S. Duke law school offers a very large panel of courses: this permits you to get a solid U.S. law background in the area you wish to specialize in, and it gives you the opportunity to develop the professional skills that you need to work in the U.S. Furthermore, the LLM gives you the possibility to participate in the New York job fair in January, and you also get opportunities to meet employers directly on campus or in New York all along the year.
You’ve been an exchange student at the law school of University of Birmingham in England and now you are an LLM at Duke Law School. Coming from a civil law background, what do you feel as the biggest difference in teaching methodology of the two common law schools?I would say that the main difference between UK/U.S. law school teaching methodology is the interaction during the lectures between the professor and the students: here, the professors will directly focus their course on your thoughts and your reaction on the courts’ decisions. As law studies in America are graduate / professional studies, you also have the possibility of taking more practical courses such as the negotiations or arbitration courses.
What advice will you give to international students studying in American law schools?Enjoy this experience by taking advantage of all the opportunities you are offered. Invest yourself in your studies, take the courses that you are interested in, meet as many people as you can, and don’t be afraid of doing different things from what you are used to at home!