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In 1890, the University of Michigan Law School granted its first LLM degrees, to two students from Japan.
Think about that for a moment. This was 1890, a year of steamship wrecks, van Gogh's death, Nellie Bly's trip around the world. Utah wasn't a state yet, nor were Oklahoma, Arizona, or New Mexico. Stanford, basketball, and the diesel engine did not exist.
Which is to say, Michigan Law was an early player on the global landscape. Its presence grew through the years with the help of mid-century grants from the Ford Foundation for International Legal Studies. The grants funded projects on comparative business associations, comparative constitutional law, European institutions, insurance law, Japanese legal studies, law of emergent nations, and taxation—and, perhaps most importantly, paid for the hiring of legendary Professor Eric Stein, '42, the late eminent scholar in international and comparative law.
One illustration of Michigan Law's global strength in recent years has been the prevalence of graduates on the highest courts of their countries of origin. Programs such as the Geneva Externships and Bates Fellowships have trained students and recent graduates how to practice law in other countries. Courses and clinics at the Law School have allowed for the development and refinement of tools such as a blood-filtering device that saves the lives of new mothers in Ghana.
Read more about those stories in the pages that follow, which, collectively, serve as a snapshot of Michigan Law's place in the world.
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