While waiting for the results of our final exams to be released, I am going to briefly try to sum up what I have learnt through these three years I have spent in the Grande Ecole du Droit and how it has changed me.
In a few weeks, my classmates and I are going to leave France and go all around the world in order to pursue an LL.M.. For sure, I can assert that it has been a long road before we could finally begin to think about what to bring or not in our suitcases and how to survive with (at least in most countries) the very different kind of food which is going to replace our fine “club sandwiches”.
This year’s GED3 students, leaving at the end of the summer for their LLM – © Christophe Rabinovici
Most of us are going to pursue our LL.M at the place they preferred and it makes it very clear that the Grande Ecole du Droit gives us the necessary ambition (craziness would you say?) to begin an adventure such as the one of searching an LL.M while only in our second year of studies. Of course, it was not that easy: many of us had to take the TOEFL twice or were anxious about the letters of recommendation. However, now that it has been done, I realize that this process is an important part of the work we have to do on ourselves before being ready to leave.
Judges may sit, parties’ lawyers may be prepared to start their argument because today’s contract law class will be dedicated to a mock trial of the famous Texaco v. Pennzoil case that took place in 1987.
Anne-Isabelle playing a witness
A mock trial is an act or imitation trial. It is similar to a moot court, but mock trials simulate lower-court trials, while moot courts simulate appellate court hearings. It is a famous exercise in the Anglo-American law school program and has now no mystery for the GED2 students.
At the beginning of the mock trial, the judges represented here by Marie, Mathieu, Jaze, Ines, Juliette and Melissa entered the courtroom and all the audience, the class, stood up. The trial session could begin.
As a second year student at the Grande Ecole du Droit, one of the courses you will have during your second semester is American Law II, taught by Pauline Abadie. With a strong educational background in American law (she studied abroad with an Environmental law LL.M in San Francisco), Pauline Abadie has a different way of teaching from other French professors: she uses the Socratic method. This enables pupils from our diploma to speak, write, and think naturally in English.
Pauline Abadie, our American Law professor at an EY event – © Christophe Rabinovici
The topics tackled during this semester are very varied. Readings have to be prepared for every lesson, and two or three pupils a week have to prepare presentations about a high-profile case linked to the topic. Here are a few of the topics studied: the Supreme Court of the United States, the equal protection clause, the death penalty, criminal procedure & the incorporation doctrine, the issue of the Guantanamo detainees …
May 2014, panic time. It’s end of year one at the Grande Ecole du Droit. The results are just in. I remember getting the email announcing we could collect our grades, I remember queuing (or getting in the line, as the Americans would say) to get mine. It turned out, at my great relief, that I was good enough to stay. That was a relief: the last thing I wanted to do was to re-sit any of the exams. Why? Obviously I wanted to be on holiday, but I also wanted to get a job.
Emma (second from the right) with other second year Grande Ecole du Droit students at the integration day – September 2014
I have to admit I had gone to a few Parisians shop with my CV late-winter, however I was turned down by all because I was too early and/or only wanted to work for a month (most employers need students available for two whole months). I had summer plans, so working for two months was not an option. This brings us back to the difficulty of receiving my exam results: no re-sits for me, but also no job (it had do be one or the other). Panic: I had put research for a job aside while working for the finals. As a student, let’s be honest, money is an issue. Of course, if a lawyer had offered me a work placement, I would have accepted with great delight, even without being paid! However, this was not the case. I needed a summer job, and paid by preference. As any desperate person would do in a similar situation, I started contacting family members …
Between two essays at the law school’s library, Raphael Galvao, General Secretary of the AEGED (l’Association des Elèves et anciens élèves de la Grande Ecole du Droit) and second year student, granted us a little time, at the beginning of the second of semester, to answer our questions. Here is for you the transcription of this interview.
With his usual nonchalance, which in reality dissimulates a tremendous seriousness, the iconic Raphael answers our first question.
Raphaël (right) at an EY event – © Christophe Rabinovici
- How did you discover the GED?
Very early, I knew my future job would imply the English language in order to be capable of studying abroad, and then, living abroad. I decided to gather information about law studies since I am a literary person who loves to write and argue. However, I wanted a university course which stands out, so I searched all the different possibilities to study law. I found double degrees that allowed me to both learn law and develop a high level of English thanks to a magazine which listed available courses. I immediately understood that this totally fitted my expectations and I went deeper into my research until I found the Grande Ecole du Droit on the Jean Monnet University’s website.
Flora Boillaut (GED1) performing at the Lysias competition in March 2015 – © Christophe Rabinovici
The 2014-2015 promotion of the Grande Ecole du Droit is mainly composed of people from the scientific branch in high school. Others are from the economic branch while the literature one is the less represented. How have these students discovered this very special curriculum ?
The usual process to access a school after the baccalauréat is APB (Admission Post-Bac). Many of us have discovered the GED through this process. APB is a huge website with many interesting formations but the choice is very broad. Only short periods of time are given to pupils to make a decisive choice. This is the case of Opale who was interested in learning French-English law and joined the GED, “without really knowing the prestige of the partnership with EY and the famous LLM”. She has discovered that the GED is more than just a French/English law training. Similarly Lucie and Salomé « explored the depths of APB » and went to the open day of the university “to seek information directly from students.”
The first year students of the ‘Grande Ecole du Droit’ at the 2014 Christmas Party – © Christophe Rabinovici
Work placements are particularly important during studies, especially if you are attending the “Grande Ecole du Droit” because we are supposed to do an LL.M during our fourth year of study. Attending an LL.M that early is a real stroke of luck because most students doing an LL.M are older. The LL.M is often seen as a “bonus” year, and students sometimes hesitate about doing it or not because they have already done five or six years of study. Our advantage compared to them is the fact that our LL.M is included in our further education, which means we do not loose a year in the field of our studies to do it because we are doing an LL.M while we are graduating a Master 1 in Business and Financial Law from the University Paris-Sud XI.
During the second year of study, it is vital to do a work placement during the summer holidays (if we pass our year without catching up) that are from the middle of May until the middle of September. During my Christmas holidays, I began to think about it. At the same time, an older student from the “Grande Ecole du Droit” published an advertisement explaining he was working with the AFJE (the “Association Française des Juristes d’Entreprise”) and that the communication department’s manager was looking for a trainee during the summer holidays. This job advertisement was aimed at students in their third our firth years of study. Nevertheless, Gunoi Choi (the student working with them) had spoken about the “Grande Ecole du Droit” during his meetings with the AFJE and it pleased them so much so that they agreed to recruit a second year student as a trainee.